Search Results for "get a taste"

Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood


urban wood, Chicago Park District

Eric Boelkens, woodworking instructor at Horner Park, shows off a wood robot made by one of his beginner students.


By Rich Christianson

Children and adults alike learn or hone their woodworking skills through programming at Horner Park, one of 15 woodshops managed by the Chicago Park District.

Mike Dimitroff, manager of art iniatitves for the Chicago Park District, said woodshop classes like the ones held at Horner Park are part of the park district’s ongoing efforts to “grow and develop cultural arts programs.”

Horner Park hosted the September meeting of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team (WUT), which is hammering out details for an urban wood conference to be held in March 2016. Eric Boelkens, woodshop instructor, led WUT members on a meeting-adjourned tour of the Horner Park basement woodshop. The shop includes standard introductory woodworking equipment: band saw, table saw and jig saw.

Boelkens said he teaches woodworking to children as young as 7 years old as part of the very popular Family Woodshop class. Youth programs for boys and girls aged 9 to 12 make up the “core” of the program, he said, with adults-only classes also available.

Participants, including woodworking novices, are taught essential woodworking skills including measuring, designing, cutting and sanding. Projects range from birdhouses and small cabinets to bookcases depending on age and skill levels.

Members of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team discuss the March 2016 urban wood conference during its September meeting at Horner Park.

Members of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team discuss the March 2016 urban wood conference during its September meeting at Horner Park.

In many of the classes, participants are making products from urban wood salvaged from trees removed from park district land. Talk about getting a hands-on education on the value of giving wood a second life!

Youth classes start at a very affordable $16 ($32 for non-Chicago residents) for a 12-week program and only $40 ($80 for non-residents) for adult classes.

Horner Park is located at 2741 W. Montrose Ave. in Chicago. Learn more about woodcraft programs, class schedules and registration.

Find information about all 15 Chicago Park District woodshop facilities.

IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

By Rich Christianson

The eyes have it!

The final votes are in and the Top 10 most-viewed posts on are known.

Activity on the Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team’s website finished 2016 with 7, 349 visitors who clicked through 17,412 pages. Both of these totals are more than double that of 2015.

Here’s a quick reverse-order recap of the most popularly viewed posts last year.

10. Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure
Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches. Read more.

9. Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood
Woodworkers of all ages get an opportunity to craft products from wood salvaged from Chicago Park District trees. Read more.

8. Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display
Jeff Perkis used red oak milled from one of the downed trees to create a display stand for a historic train bell. It will become a permanent exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum. Read more.

7.  Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated
The Forestry Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently released a pair of newly updated sawmill directories, one featuring custom sawyers and the other dedicated to stationary sawmilling operations. Read more.

6. Passions Flow at IWF Urban Wood Seminar
Three presenters – representing three very diverse business models – chorused their praise for urban wood during a unique seminar held Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Read more.

5. Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event
Arborists, foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers and other professionals came together at the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference to learn and share ideas for propelling the urban wood market. Read more.

4. Couple ‘Sacrificed Our Entire Lives’ for Urban Wood Business
Rob and Zoe Bocik left the 9-to-5 rat race six years ago to pursue their dream of milling lumber and crafting furniture, jewelry and other products from local trees otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill. Read more.

3. Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up
Dobnick Timberworks has joined the Illinois urban wood  movement, opening up a lumber and custom wood products business in Oswego, IL. Read more.

2. Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff
The Urban Wood Products Showcase, featured at the March 2016 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, shined a bright spotlight on the design creativity of the entries that ranged from tables and wall hangings to a bell stand and soccer ball all crafted from urban wood. Read more.

1. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide
A new national directory dedicated to helping connect tree care professionals, sawyers, woodworkers and other urban wood enthusiasts was recently released by the Urban Forest Full Circle Network. Read more.


03/30/22 – Goodbye … for Now

02/24/22 – Why I Joined UWN-IL, By Max Brown, Glen Ellyn Village Forester

01/26/22 – Music Video Captures a Day in the Life of an ‘Urban Wood Man’

01/25/22 – Why I Joined UWN-IL, By Steve Skorup, SAWINC

12/29/21 – Most Popular Posts of 2021

12/27/21 – NTBC Says My Sycamore Is Worth $371 a Year; How About Your Trees?

11/26/21 – Fall for ‘Felled’ This Holiday Season

11/22/21 – Video: Quebec City’s Cannonball Tree’s Last Stand

10/22/21 – Author Spins a Wonderful Tale about Repurposing Her Dying Black Walnut

08/18/21 – Invitation to Learn About the New Illinois Chapter of Urban Wood Network

06/22/21 – Romans Participate In A Didactic Urban Wood Event

06/13/21 – Watch Black Oak Go from Logs to Table

03/23/21 – Bringing New Life to Fallen Urban Trees

03/14/21 – Chicago City Council Debates Urban Forestry Advisory Board to Address Declining Tree Population

03/09/21 – Urban Wood Italian Style

11/29/20 – Iowa Derecho: So Many Trees Lost, So Little Wood Saved

09/25/20 – ‘Save Your Ash Tree’ Campaign Comes to My Hood

08/24/20 – Chicago Woodworker Inspired by Urban Wood

05/30/20 – Video: Fabled 600-Year-Old Oak Stars in Documentary

04/23/20 – Craft Beer with a Hint of Urban Sawdust

03/27/20 – Oh No! Coronavirus!

02/27/20 – Grinnell College’s Felled Walnut Trees Graduate into Benches

12/09/19 – EAB’s Path of Destruction Continues to Widen

11/24/19 – Urban Wood Use Gets Thumbs Up in the Land Down Under

10/09/19 – How Frank Lloyd Wright Home Trees Became Furniture

07/30/19 – Add Your Voice in Support of ‘OAKtober’

07/28/19 – How to Get Your Urban Wood Business Featured

04/30/19 – TCIA Personalities in the News

03/29/19 – Aloha State’s Got Urban Wood

02/25/19 – Can Certification Drive Urban Wood Lumber Demand?

01/31/19 – Urban Wood Network Dues a Bargain

01/21/19 – A Look Back at 2018’s Most Viewed Posts

12/29/19 – Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar

11/29/18 – Share Your Urban Wood Success Stories, Photos, Videos, Etc.

11/28/18 – What’s That Urban Log Worth?

10/31/18 – Greater West Town Celebrates 25 Years!

10/22/18 – How Much Is Your Log Worth?

10/13/18 – After the Storm, Call on the Urban Forest Strike Team

09/30/18 – Making the Transition from Teaching to Running an Urban Wood Business

09/22/18 – Tom The Sawyer Examines ‘The Cost of Lumber’

08/29/18 – IWF Urban Wood Seminar Delivered with a Tinge of Irony

07/26/18 – Part One of ‘How To Urban Wood’ Webinar Series Sells Out

06/26/18 – Woodworking Industry Takes Notice of Urban Wood Movement

05/23/18 – Researchers Sound the Alarm on Urban Tree Loss

04/25/18 – Urban Wood Movement Takes Woodworking Industry’s Biggest Stage in Atlanta

03/29/18 – Sign Up for Free Urban Wood Network Webinar

02/27/18 – Icon Modern Hosts Architectural Woodworkers

01/25/18 – Arts Initiative Pays Homage to Chicago Park District Trees

12/30/17 – Join the Urban Wood Network

12/22/17 – And the Most Viewed Urban Wood Stories of 2017 Are …

11/21/17 – Come Feel the Heat! ISTC Wood Waste Boiler Demo

11/13/17 – Grand Rapids Tree Awards Create Urban Wood Plot Lines

11/07/17 – Every Urban Tree Tells a Story, Got One to Share?

10/27/17 – Tree ‘Cookies’ Make Nifty Award Plaques

09/29/17 – Spurned Woodworker Turns to Toronto for Urban Ash Lumber

08/24/17 – Update: House Supports Urban Forestry Funding

07/26/17 – Check It Out: is Up & Running!

07/03/17 – Pacific Coast Lumber Owner Has His Urban Wood Elevator Speech Down Pat

06/27/17 – Discover Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Urban Wood Scene!

05/27/17 – Duluth’s EAB Plan Promotes Wood Use; Does Your City Do the Same?

01/02/17 – IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

12/12/16 – Book Chronicles Urban ‘Wood to Table’ Movement

11/13/16 – IL WUT’s Global Reach

09/14/16 – Let’s Make Urban Wood a Household Name

07/26/16 – IWF Urban Wood Seminar Sponsors Help Spread the ‘Word’

05/21/16 – Great News! Urban Wood Shines in WI Hotel Makeover

02/15/16 – Thank You Urban Wood Conference Supporters!

01/28/16 – Daily Double Discount: Hardwood Lumber & Urban Forest Events

11/29/15 – Five Top Reasons to Sponsor the Bringing the Urban Forestry Full Circle Conference

10/29/15 – Keep Spreading the News!

09/23/15 – Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood

08/25/15 – Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display

06/23/15 – Photo Gallery: Color Point Greenhouse Operations

06/14/15 – Color Point Pushes Sustainable Wood Usage with Wood-Fired Greenhouse

06/05/15 – Hats Off to an Urban Wood Pioneer

Own Wood


Even when you can’t save your tree, you can save its wood!

Tree in need of removal. Photo: Michele Beaulieux

Why      What      Who      How

Why use the wood from your tree?

You and the environment can benefit when you put the wood from your tree to use in or around your property. Using wood from your tree will:

Tree marked for removal. Photo: Philip Haywood

Recycle Valuable Resources: If you don’t do something with the wood from your tree, it will most likely be chipped into mulch or made into firewood. With the large number of trees dying due to such pests as the Emerald Ash Borer, municipalities and tree care companies will soon saturate their outlets for logs and tree debris. By keeping and using the wood from your tree, you can assure it is put to the best possible use.

  • Prevent the Release of Carbon into the Atmosphere: High-value uses for your tree, such as lumber and flooring, will store carbon for a long time. Preventing carbon from releasing into the atmosphere helps slow global climate change.
  • Capture Memories: Craftspeople can create wonderful tributes to beloved trees. Whatever you make from your tree will capture memories and you will have a story to tell of the origin of your wood product. Many people, devastated by the death of a beloved landscape tree, have created furniture and art that have become treasured family heirlooms.
  • Provide Teachable Moments: Recovering the wood from your tree can provide an opportunity to educate your children, grandchildren, neighbors and yourself about responsible stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Support Your Local Economy: Using the wood from your tree will require the expertise of local arborists, sawmills, woodworkers and other businesses. Your dollars stay local, supporting the innovative and artisan businesses in your community.
  • Maybe Save Money: In rare circumstances, you may be able to negotiate discounted removal costs if you keep the wood from your tree. Tree care companies estimate removals based on crew time, travel distance, equipment requirements and disposal options. If leaving logs, firewood or chips with you saves them time and avoids disposal costs, they may provide a discount. Companies that charge for disposing of your tree may waive that recycling fee. On the other hand, if extracting a log complicates a removal, it may cost you more.
It’s Not a Moneymaking Proposition: It’s highly unlikely that you will make money salvaging the wood from your trees. Very few trees in urban and suburban settings have a wood value greater than the cost of removing, transporting and processing them. Even cherry, walnut and other trees with high value woods will seldom provide property owners with financial compensation. Why is wood harvested from landscape trees generally more expensive than wood from forests? In woodlands, trees can be harvested in volume; the economies of scale provide efficiencies, bringing down the cost. In contrast, in urban forests, removal costs are more expensive. Equipment and crews may take down only one tree at a time. Power lines, buildings and other obstructions can also complicate removals. Bottom line: It is highly unlikely that you will get paid for your tree or even get it removed at no cost.


What can you make…

Deco Chair by Dolly Spragins. Photo: Michele Beaulieux

The wood from your tree may be useful both inside and outside. You can use your trees for many things, including:

Whole Logs: You may want to use logs in your landscaping. Chainsaw carvers can also create art or furniture from the trunk or stump of your tree. Some people use whole logs in building construction.

Chips, Mulch or Compost: When your tree care company comes to take down your tree, it will probably bring a chipper. You can ask the company to leave chips, but note that chips are not the same as commercial mulch. Chips are good for wooded and less manicured areas. They can also be used under playground equipment. Chips vary in size, whereas mulch is processed to be more consistent. Most tree care companies make mulch out of chips, and you may be able to negotiate a load of mulch, or even compost, as part of your tree removal project. By conserving water and soil, mulch helps trees live longer and and preserves landscapes. Mulch also reduces weeds and lawn mower emissions.

Smoke Wood:  Hickory, oak, pecan, maple and many fruit trees, such as ornamental pear and crab apple, make good smoke wood for grilling. A chunk of wood on coals can add a great flavor twist. Unlike firewood, smoke wood can be used green and can come from portions of the tree that won’t produce logs.

Firewood: You can ask your tree care company to cut logs into fireplace lengths and leave them for your use. You may want to specify only smaller diameter logs that don’t need to be split. Otherwise, you’ll need to figure out how to split them yourself. Logs need to dry out before they can be used for firewood. It usually takes about a year before logs will make a good fire. IMPORTANT NOTE: To avoid spreading diseases and invasive species, do not move firewood. Always cut and use firewood locally.

Lumber and Landscape Timbers: For the logs from your tree to be milled into lumber, the trees usually need to be felled as whole logs. Ask your tree care company if it has the training and necessary equipment to remove saw logs. Harvesting log lengths may require specialized equipment, such as cranes.The lumber can be used as landscape timbers or indoor furniture, flooring and other wood products. For landscape timbers, the green, unfinished material can often be used immediately after being sawn. For furniture, flooring and other fine milled products, the lumber from your trees may need to be air or kiln dried and require additional specialized processing. Air-drying can take months so factor the drying time into your project schedule.

. . . from the wood from your tree?

Some trees are better suited for particular uses than others. Consider the following factors when deciding how to use your tree:


Felled Ash tree. photo: Philip Haywood

Tree Parts: Your tree has many parts including the trunk, stump, roots, bark, branches, twigs and leaves. You may choose to use different parts of your tree for different things or you may choose to use only part of your tree and have the rest of it hauled away.  

Species: The species of your tree will impact what it can be used for. Your tree care company can identify the species. You can also consult the online guide from the Arbor Day Foundation guide: What Tree Is That? Consult with woodworkers to determine whether the species of your tree can be used for the purpose you have in mind. Ash, for example, is comparable to oak. It can be made into many beautiful and durable products, including furniture, cabinets, flooring, paneling and mouldings. Because of its high bending strength and shock resistance, ash is used in baseball bats, tennis rackets, tool handles and oars. Ash is also ideal for food bowls and spoons because it imparts little odor or taste. Since ash wood has no resistance to decay, it is not good for outdoor applications where it may become wet. For more detailed information on the uses for ash and other infested species, consult the USDA Forest Service publication: Wood Utilization Options for Urban Trees Infested by Invasive Species. For information on best uses for other species, consult Characteristics and Availability of Commercially Important Woods from the USDA Forest Products Laboratory.

Saw Log Potential: If your tree is at least 12 inches in diameter and its trunk is at least 6 feet tall and clear of branches, cracks, rot and other defects, it may contain a saw log worth milling into lumber. Commercial wood products companies traditionally value the clear-grained wood of trees grown in forests and woodlots, where the fight for sunlight makes them straight and tall. Landscape trees, however, often grow in areas that are more open so they branch out lower, resulting in the creation of unusual knots and defects. Some artisans prefer these exceptional character marks and specifically seek out this wood for its unique qualities.

Location and Logistics:  Logistics may impact your tree’s reuse potential. If your tree is too close to buildings or power lines, the removal of whole logs may be difficult. In addition, you may need room to store the logs until they are processed or used.

Tree Health:  A tree that has been dead for less than one year can be harvested for lumber. If your tree has been dead for longer than that, firewood and chips remain the most viable options. If your tree is coming down because it is diseased or infested, the options for its reuse may be limited. Your tree care company should be able to consult with you about any transportation and reuse restrictions.

Using Wood from Emerald Ash Borer Infested Trees: The Emerald Ash Borer feeds only on the inner bark of affected trees. It does not damage a tree’s wood. To slow infestation by the Emerald Ash Borer, the U.S. and Illinois Departments of Agriculture have established quarantines that regulate the movement of ash trees and products in areas where the Emerald Ash Borer has been discovered. Before moving any ash trees, wood or products from your property to other locations, please review quarantine restrictions at the Illinois Department of Agriculture EAB website.


Who can help?

There are many steps between a standing tree and a finished product. Generally, the more valuable the use, the more steps that will be involved. If you would like to see your landscape tree transformed into furniture or woodwork, you may need to find the specialists and make the connections in the processing stages yourself.

Accredited Tree Care Companies and Certified Arborists:  Make sure to hire tree care professionals with relevant expertise and training. You can find accredited tree care companies and certified arborists through the Tree Care Industry Association and the Illinois Arborist Association respectively. Accredited tree care companies employ certified arborists who are trained in the proper care of living trees and the proper removal of dead and dying trees, but they aren’t necessarily experts in harvesting the wood from trees that need to be removed. They will probably be able to advise you on using your tree for firewood, chips, or mulch, but if you want to use your tree for higher uses, you may also need to consult and hire wood industry experts.

Wood Industry Experts:  To use your tree for lumber, consult a forester, sawyer or woodworker to determine the viable and appropriate uses for the wood from your tree. Your tree care company may be able to refer you to local area sawyers, woodworkers and wood product manufacturers, such as cabinet shops and flooring makers, that might be able to produce products with your tree’s wood.

Sawyers:  Once trees are felled, the next step is for sawyers to mill them into lumber. Landscape trees are usually milled with small, band sawmills, rather than by large, industrial mills. Download the directory of Illinois sawyers who process landscape trees on the sawyer page of the Illinois EAB Wood Utilization Team website. Some of the sawyers on this list also do woodworking.

Woodworkers:  Woodworkers and wood products companies create furniture, cabinets, flooring and other products. To find furniture makers or woodworkers who can make wood products from your tree’s lumber, visit the woodworker page of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team website. top

How can you make your tree into usable lumber?

For best results, begin your planning with what you want to make and then work back through the process to removing your tree.

Illinois sawyer, Ron Myers, mills a log into lumber. Photo: Michele Beaulieux

Decide What You Want to Make:  Consult first with your woodworking partner before your tree is removed and sawn into lumber. What you decide to make out of the lumber from your tree will impact how it is cut down and how it is milled. A qualified woodworker will determine the  specifications required to produce the product that you want.

Figure Out How the Lumber Will Be Sawn:  Next, figure out how your tree will be sawn into lumber. Some local sawmill operators can bring a portable sawmill directly to your property so that your trees can be converted into lumber onsite. Portable sawmill operations may charge by the hour or by the total board feet of lumber produced. If you have a number of trees, this option may make sense. Usually, sawyers mill logs at their locations. So, either your tree care company will need to bring the logs to the sawyer or the sawyer will need to pick them up from your property or your tree care company’s storage location. Coordinate with your tree care company and sawyer to figure out how this exchange will happen in advance of the removal.

Get the Removal Specifications in Writing:  Finally, work with your tree care professional to specify in your tree removal contract how your tree will be taken down so that it can be processed for your intended use. Make sure the contract specifies log dimension, storage requirements and transportation logistics. Don’t forget to discuss your expectations for the cleanup and removal of any debris that you do not to intend to use. For more information, contact: visit or email

This information is provided by Illinois Wood Utilization Team, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Illinois Arborist Association and the Tree Care Industry Association. It was written and designed by Work In Motion and funded in part by the U.S. Forest Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Metropolitan Mayors Caucusbrochure_logoIAAhex     brochure_logoTCIAhex  top