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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 IllinoisUrbanWood.org 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.



Watch Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar #1

The first installment of the four-part Urban Wood Toolkit. Start with a Plan – A Guide to Creating an Urban Wood Utilization Plan. is available on demand. The series is presented by the Urban Wood Network.

Urban wood utilization and marketing is increasingly recognized as a component of quality urban forest management programs. The use of wood from urban and community tree care residues is an effective way to reduce municipal forestry costs and waste, promote stronger linkages with the forest products industry, and produce new economic opportunities. For many, developing a community wood utilization plan may seem like a complicated burden, especially when disposal of wood residues via landfill is viewed as affordable and efficient. However, finding value-added uses for wood generated through urban forestry practices can be a pragmatic way to provide benefits to your community.

The Urban Wood Toolkit was created to walk users through necessary components of building an urban wood use plan and establishing wood utilization efforts within a community.  The Toolkit is designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers or students and to arm them with information needed to advance their wood utilization plan.  

WATCH URBAN WOOD TOOLKIT WEBINAR #1

Upcoming Urban Wood Toolkit Webinars
Webinar #2: From Leaders to Neighbors – Gaining Support for Urban Wood – August 28th 1:00 PM EST

Webinar #3: Strategies and Wood Handling Approaches for Various Urban Wood Products – TBD

Webinar #4: The Key to Establishing Mutually Beneficial Wood Industry Partnership – TBD

 



Chicagoans ‘Import’ Live Edge Walnut Table from KC

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to our friend Tom “The Sawyer” Hogard for putting us in contact with one of his clients – John Stefanchik. John and his wife Jen, both formerly of Chicago, operate Custom Furniture KC in Gardner, KS. 

According to the Custom Furniture KC website, the couple “left our jobs in the busy corporate world looking for something that allowed us to slow down, work together and create environmentally conscious yet stylish products that bring warm to people’s lives.” To wit, working with urban wood, the Stefanchiks have found it “incredibly fulfilling … to give new life to a tree that would otherwise have been destroyed and see it used every day in a way that enhances the owner’s life.”

The Custom Furniture KC website includes a projects channel. John Stefanchik was kind enough to allow us to re-post one of them concerning a live edge walnut table gracing the home of friends in Chicago. John and Jen also previously lived for 20 years in Chicago. “I still consider myself a Chicagoan despite having lived in Kansas for the last seven years,” John says.   

Here is a stripped down version of the step-by-step post that features 17 photos illustrating the project from milling through fabrication and final product. You can read the real deal by clicking here

Some friends of ours from Chicago wanted a walnut dining table and bench for their city home.  We sourced the wood for this project from two different locations.  The wood for the table came from the University of Kansas; taken down as part of a construction project a few years ago.  The wood for the bench came from a tree that was standing dead on a farm south of Kansas City in December of 2015,

The wood for the table was originally milled with two live edges on each board so the first step was the remove one of the edges and then plane each board to uniform thickness.  The top will consist of three separate pieces.

From there the table pieces needed to be joined together and we chose to use some floating tenon joints to add stability to the glue-up.  The table was smoothed and all of the cracks and knots were epoxied to provide stability and enhance their character.

The bench came from a single board, but in order to enhance eye-appeal and ensure long-term durability the board was cut into 4 individual pieces, planed to uniform thickness and glued together.

Once the tops were assembled, we sanded, finished and installed the legs.  The end product is a striking live-edge table with a modern flare, custom built to fit their unique space.

Visit Custom Furniture KC’s website.

 

 

 

 

 



Petitioners Push for National Urban Wood Day

President Dwight Eisenhower is presented with a commemorative clock from representatives of the National Lumber Manufacturers Association in 1960 after signing the proclamation designating the third week of October, National Forest Products Week.

The Virginia Urban Wood Group is leading the charge to designate the Friday of National Forest Products Week “National Urban Wood Day.”

“I believe it is time for a National Urban Wood Day. The urban wood movement, pioneered by some of the early advocates like Sam Sherrill, Steve Bratkovich, Ed Cesa, Stubby & Maria Warmbold and others, has come of age, developing into a thriving, booming sector of the forest products industry,” said Joe Lehnen, forest utilization & marketing specialist of the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“I am proposing that we collectively petition the American Wood Council which promotes National Forest Products Week (third week of October), to designate the Friday of that week as National Urban Wood Day.  There is precedent for special designation days of that week since the NFPW recognizes Wednesday as National Biofuels Day.”

The petition reads as follows:

“There are more than 130 million acres of urban forests. Annually, more trees are removed from urban areas than from all of the National Forests in the United States.

“Urban wood products from these trees have become part of the fabric, style and culture in many office buildings, businesses and homes. The urban wood economy and consumers desire for locally sourced products has become a movement too large to ignore.

“The Urban Wood movement now employs thousands of people, has created new jobs, and growing local economies. It has also purposefully added value and dignity to the trees of our urban forests, honoring these urban trees beyond their biological lives.

“More than any other day of the week, Fridays are a day when people gather around products made from urban wood: the bar top at the local craft brewery, the furnishings at a locally owned restaurant, a family dining table made from a tree that once stood near grandma’s home. The warmth, beauty, and creativity of urban wood products draws people into community.

“Therefore, we the undersigned, propose that the Friday of National Forest Products Week be designated as National Urban Wood Day, a day to honor a rising star of the forest products industry.”

Individuals and groups interested in signing on to the petition can do so by contacting Lehnen at joe.lehnen@dof.virginia.gov.

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the first proclamation designating the third week of October as National Forest Products Week to recognize the value of forest products and commit to conservation practices that help responsibly manage U.S. forests. This week celebrates the role and impact of forests and wood as an integral component to our nation’s society. National Forest Products Week is scheduled for Oct. 20-26 this year.



Event to Highlight ‘Urban Wood from Coast to Coast’

“Urban Wood from Coast to Coast” is the working title of a three-hour session planned for the annual Partners in Community Forestry Conference Nov. 20-21 in Cleveland, OH.

This interactive session will tentatively include information and project examples from Baltimore, MD; throughout California, and the Upper Midwest region. The session will demonstrate how urban trees and wood deconstruction materials are being put to use as value materials through local networks across the country.

Supporting highlights being planned, include:
● Video Showcase: show series of #forestproud 5-minute videos on urban reclaimed and fresh cut wood;
● Maker Showcase: show examples of products, branding, and social media campaigns that work;
● Discussion and update of opportunities to connect urban wood with green market opportunities, including green building and certification;
● Explore the economics of urban wood: how to develop a business plan to launch a fresh-cut urban wood operation; and
● Engage in roundtable discussions on regional urban wood initiatives in California, the Upper Midwest, Baltimore, and other areas.

Katie Fernholz of Dovetail Partners and Sarah Hines of the USDA Forest Service are leading the effort. They are working with Pete Smith, urban forestry program manager of the Arbor Day Association.

Learn more about the conference at arborday.org.



Tables Made in Seattle Reside in NYC

We often assume that furniture made from urban wood tends to stay in or at least near the neighborhood where it was removed.

This is far from the case for a series of American Elm tables made by Urban Hardwoods of Seattle for a healthcare client’s office in New York City. The wood was salvaged from a large tree that fell during a storm in Northwest Oregon.

Founded in 2001, Urban Hardwoods’ Executive Collection includes conference tables, desks and credenzas.

Visit Urban Hardwoods’ website.



SkillsUSA & Urban Wood Unite in Wisconsin

Nearly three dozen students competing in the annual SkillsUSA woodworking competition in Wisconsin crafted end tables using reclaimed urban ash donated by Wisconsin Urban Wood.

Jasper Bushman of WITC Rice Lake and Nathan Voge of Union Grove High School won Gold medals in the postsecondary and high school divisions. They will represent Wisconsin in the SkillsUSA national cabinetmaking competition next month in Louisville, KY.

Other postsecondary medalists included two other WITC Rice Lake students: Mason Kollwitz, silver, and Ryan Erickson, bronze. Ethan Martin of Spooner High School and Evan Huck or Grafton High School took home silver and bronze in the high school division.

The end table was designed by Patrick Molzahn, director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison College and secretary of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. The Wisconsin Chapter of the Architectural Woodwork Institute, under the direction of Josh Bartlett of Franklin International, coordinated the event.




SUFC Names New Co-chairs

Mark Garvin, formerly with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), and consultant Jennifer Hinrichs have been selected to serve co-chairs of the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC). Both have long been involved with SUFC. 

Garvin recently retired from TCIA, where he worked for more than 22 years, including nine years as the association’s president and CEO.
TCIA’s membership includes more than 2,400 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies.

For the past nine years, Garvin has represented TCIA in the SUFC, including participating on two committees and serving as a member of the Steering Committee.

Hinrichs has been involved with SUFC since the Coalition’s early days. She hired SUFC’s first convener over 13 years ago when it was affiliated with the National Tree Trust and later served as its convener and interim director for nine years, growing it from 20 to over 35 national members. For the last two years she has served in a voluntary capacity as an adviser to the Steering Committee.

Hinrichs has more than 25 years of non-profit management and consulting experience that includes NGO leadership, coalition capacity building, and communication expertise in both the private and public sectors.

The SUFC’s mission is to convene and mobilize a network of diverse national organizations to foster thriving communities through healthy urban and community forests.

Learn more at SUFC.org.



August Hoppe Joins TCIA Board

August Hoppe, owner of Hoppe Tree Service and the Urban Wood Lab in Milwaukee, WI, was elected to the Tree Care Industry Association Board of Directors.

Hoppe has a long history advancing the urban wood movement. He is a past president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and is a member of Wisconsin Urban Wood.

In addition to Hoppe, Tad Jacobs, president of Treemasters of San Rafael, CA, was elected to the TCIA Board and current board member Noel Boyer, owner of All About Trees of Springfield, MO, was elected to a full three-year term.

The Tree Care Industry Association is a trade association of 2,300 tree care firms and affiliated companies and was established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association. TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice and management information for tree and landscape firms around the world. We provide continuing education, training, conferences and publications to promote the safe and appropriate practice of tree care.



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