Search Results for "urban wood standards"

Urban Wood Standards & Certification Highlight Webcast

The latest in the ongoing efforts to develop North American urban wood standards and certification was presented during the Oct. 8 Urban Wood Utilization webinar organized by the USDA Forest Service.

The two-hour program is now available on-demand.

Jennifer Alger, president of Urban, Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods, provided the update on Standards for Certification and Chain of Custody (CoC) for urban lumber that have been in the works for over a year. She said a 60-day public comment period that closed on Sept. 30 garnered feedback from stakeholders across the country and Canada.

Alger said the proposed urban lumber standards cover definitions, processing, grading, drying and chain of custody requirements. She said the standards and related certification is needed not only to create guidelines for properly managing the urban wood movement from tree removal through the lumber mill. Certifying urban lumber that meets the standards will help build awareness about urban wood’s socio-economic and environmental benefits in the marketplace.

The webinar also shed more light on the strengthening of cooperation among urban wood groups across the country. The Urban Wood Network has created a steering committee comprised of Alger, representing the west region; Joe Lehnen, forest utilization and marketing specialist for the Urban Wood Program of Virginia, east region representative; and Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products, Wisconsin representative.

Other presentations of the webinar included:

  • Outreach to Urban Wood Consumers in Wisconsin & Urban Wood Network Update by Don Peterson, executive director of Renewable Resource Solutions. 
  • Far West Forest Products – Using Salvage Wood (Wood Innovation Grant) by Alger.

  • CalFire Urban Wood Grant at work in San Diego by Cody Harrison, beyond sustainability specialist at Corona Enterprises and Tom Hamilton, CEO of LumberCycle.

The webinar was moderated by Ann Sarnecki, partnership coordinator of the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, in Madison, WI.

Watch Webinar

 



Waukesha County, WI, Urban Wood Program Among SFI Community Grant Recipients

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced 13 SFI Community Grants today featuring collaboration between 63 partner organizations in the United States and Canada, including two that dovetail with the development of a new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard.

One of SFI’s grants supports, “Promoting Urban Forestry and Harvesting Waste Wood,” a project being undertaken by Waukesha County, WI, to complete its urban forest management plans for wood that must be removed due to disease, pests, or other circumstances. This project is led by the Sustainable Resources Institute (SRI), which will help share this work so that other communities can benefit in their urban tree lifecycle planning processes.

SFI awarded a second urban forest grant to the Michigan State University Department of Forestry for its program Supporting Curriculum on Urban Forests, Carbon Storage, and a Changing Climate. MSU, through its work with SFI, will expand course content on forest carbon to create case-study-based materials for foresters, planners, builders, and decision-makers in cities and municipalities. The climate benefits linked with sustainable forest products and green buildings will also be featured.

“SFI’s commitment to making better choices for the planet also means better choices for its people,“ said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. “Our grantees are leaders in their communities and we look forward to collaborating with them on so many important issues that will strengthen local communities and support solutions to important sustainability challenges.”

Other SFI grant recipients include:

Project Learning Tree’s (PLT) Forest Literacy Framework, which translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into accessible concepts that everyone should know and be able to integrate into their lives and careers. PLT is an initiative of SFI that provides activities for educators, community leaders, and families, including its flagship resource the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide. The guide engages kindergarten through grade 8 students in exploring their environment through 50 field-tested, hands-on activities that integrate investigations of nature with science, math, English language arts, and social studies. There are more than 800 workshops across the U.S. every year organized to train educators on implementing PLT, and contributing to building a lifetime of learning for youth to build a green career pathway. The SFI Community Grants advance SFI’s education work with projects targeted at both youth and adults:

Teacher Tours in New Hampshire—The New Hampshire SFI Implementation Committee is bringing teachers together for a four-day workshop featuring forest and mill tours in July. Teachers will learn about the PLT curriculum, sustainable forest management, and forest products manufacturing, in order to engage students in learning about the natural world.

Creating Climate Training Module for Wood Producers—The Quebec SFI Implementation Committee will develop an interactive, user-friendly training module on climate change mitigation for wood producers that will align with the requirements of the SFI Sustainable Forest Management Standard which was launched on Earth Day this year.

Forest Literacy and Education on Forest Certification Standards—The Association forestière de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue will be engaged in learning opportunities focused on forest certification standards and the benefits of sustainable forest management, delivered to local schools and through in-person events at public libraries. Elevating forest literacy will help create better understanding around the connections of forests to solving sustainability challenges.

Sustainably Managed Forests Training for Architecture Students—Students at the University of Miami School of Architecture will experience timber harvesting in a sustainably managed forest. This will provide hands-on experience of the sustainable nature of forest-based supply chains and the emerging influence of forest products, such as mass timber, on climate-smart building design.

Community Training to Enhance Wetland Conservation Through Sustainable Forest Management—Ducks Unlimited Canada will provide training and resources to forestry students and Indigenous communities across Alberta to ensure better understanding of the role of sustainable forest management in effective wetland conservation.

Using Forestry and Natural Resources to Educate and Empower Women—Clemson University is helping to address the future that women landowners will play in sustainable forest management through this project. The Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) network will facilitate specific skills development for women landowners including chainsaw and pesticide safety.

Creating Equity in the Mississippi Forest and Conservation Sector—Working with the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, this project will involve outreach to new workers, military veterans, and dislocated workers as a way to increase every Mississippian’s opportunity and ability to join the forest sector’s green job workforce.

Promoting Understanding and Respect for Cultural and Medicinal Plants—The shíshálh Nation, SFI and other partners are building on an earlier grant to increase the cultural capacity of shíshálh members, support self-determination in the shishalh swiya (territory), and promote cross-cultural learning through providing cultural plant identification cards to local forest sector companies.

Creating Forest Career Pathways for Students—Friends of the Trinity County Resource Conservation District and Nor-Rel-Muk Wintu tribal members are working together to select locally tailored curriculum and produce high school field guide workbooks focused on Indigenous land stewardship, sustainable forestry, and related green career pathways to benefit the local workforce.

Engaging Citizen Scientists to Map the Birds of Newfoundland’s Sustainably Managed Forests—Birds Canada is engaging citizen scientists to deliver the province’s first breeding bird atlas to map the distribution and abundance of all breeding bird species in Newfoundland. Having solid baseline data about the distribution, abundance, and health of bird populations is essential for sound conservation and management decisions.

Creating Youth Advocates for Community Greening and Climate Action—SFI will work with the Medway Community Forest Cooperative in Alberta to plant tree saplings and conduct tree-health assessments over two years to engage younger generations as environmental champions who take local action on global issues.

SFI Community Grants are awarded for collaborative community-based projects, activities, or events that support SFI’s efforts to connect communities to forests. Projects supported have included providing educators with tools to showcase green career pathways for students, incorporating Indigenous knowledge into forest management planning and education curriculum, and building youth engagement in outdoor education and conservation projects. Since the SFI Grants started in 2010, SFI has awarded 96 Community Grants totaling more than $900,000 to foster community-building projects. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment is over $5 million. Learn more: forests.org/communitygrants.



The Story of Urban Wood Guitars

Taylor Guitars’ Builder’s Edition 324ce made with the new Urban Ash™

Editor’s note: The following article is an excerpt of a lengthier piece posted by Jennifer Alger of Urban Salvaged Woods, a member of the Urban Wood Network: Western Region. 

One strength of the Urban Wood Network is the inclusion of every aspect of the supply chain. Typically businesses network within their own direct niches, but that can limit the scope of collaboration, something the Urban Wood Network aims to overcome. 

One stunning example of this shows in the collaboration between three Urban Wood Network members West Coast Arborists (WCA), Wood-Mizer, and Tree San Diego, and how these three directly and indirectly connected with end-user  guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars. Ultimately even though these companies represent different aspects of the supply chain, there is a shared goal in caring for our urban trees, increasing our tree canopy, and making urban wood available in the volume, consistency, and quality needed for small, medium, and large manufacturers.

WCA is a family-owned tree maintenance and management company that provides services to over 330 municipalities and public agencies.  While they do tree care and tree removals as expected, they also focus on tree planting and the upcycling and salvaging of urban wood that they sell through their program, Street Tree Revival.

Currently, this team is upcycling over 36 different species, and salvages over one thousand urban logs annually for lumber. They also supply wood and logs to makers, sawyers, and others further in the supply chain. One of these species happens to be ash wood from Southern California, signature to the urban ash guitar from Taylor Guitars!

Two years after WCA came to be, Taylor guitars was founded. Taylor has had a reputation for its innovation, quality, and consistency for decades.  Taylor is the best-selling acoustic brand in the world, finishing close to 900 guitars per day. Part of their innovation has always included the consideration of sustainability. Guitar makers typically source tropical wood from all over the world.  They seek species such as mahogany, spruce, maple, ebony, and rosewood, and those have been used by luthiers for hundreds of years.  Although Taylor always had a focus on sustainability, refusing to waste what traditionally had been wasted in their industry, founder Bob Taylor was constantly seeking even more sustainable materials and processes for his company. 

So now, we have the supplier (WCA) and the maker and retailer (Taylor Guitars), but the bridge between these two links is the equipment manufacturer. WCA uses a Wood-Mizer LT40 super hydraulic, a WM1000, and a Super 70, and they have another Super 70 on the way.  Using low energy thin kerf bandsaws allows WCA to process wood efficiently with a low carbon footprint, rescuing even more urban wood. One of the beautiful things about Wood-Mizer is that they too have been engaged in replanting efforts. They frequently have sent out new trees for replanting with the purchase of their mills.

The Urban Salvaged Ash Guitar: The Network in Action
Bob Taylor and Andy Powers, (founder and master designer for Taylor Guitars respectively) had previously visited WCA’s yard looking for wood for Taylor Guitars, they were able to find seven different species that were of interest, but their prize find was finding the shamel ash, an urban wood double for 30+-year-old mahogany featured in the urban wood guitar series.

Scott Paul, Taylor Guitar’s sustainability manager, notes that he suspects these other species will bleed into their existing lines over time as long as suppliers are able to guarantee that same quality, volume, and consistency that were so crucial to the ash decision. Those three points coupled with the presence of tonewood in the WCA yard meant that Urban Wood Network member West Coast Arborists was definitely able to meet the needs of Taylor. The next step was to cut the logs on the Wood-Mizer, dry the lumber, and make the prototype to ensure proof of concept.

Paul explains that an acoustic guitar is typically made up of five to six different species of wood, each selected as a specific part and chosen for different physical properties that are required for each part.

Once they decided on the ash, it quickly earned the nickname “the golden retriever of tonewoods” because of how eager it was to please. Being compared to 30-year-old mahogany, is the best compliment a guitar builder can give to a species of wood.

By the next ADF Partners In Community Forestry Conference where Scott and I both spoke on a panel about urban wood, he had an urban wood guitar prototype in hand. A few short months later, Taylor Guitars was releasing it at NAMM.

The Future of the Urban Wood Industry
While Taylor is a high-profile company, they don’t use enough volume alone to move the needle on urban wood use. In an ideal world, more wood product manufacturers would look to try and forge relationships with local mills and wood sources and when nationally branded companies can get behind this concept, we stand to be able to create a circular economy. 

The surface is just being scratched on this industry and there is so much more potential. For urban wood producers, this movement is just becoming somewhat mainstream and the idea of a tree on the street or in a yard needing to be removed for disease or other reasons and then being used for lumber is still a foreign concept.   But who knows, with the rising prices of lumber that we have seen over the last year, perhaps more companies interested in sustainability will take a serious look at urban wood.   

Through working with groups like the UWN and collaborating there is the potential to provide even large manufacturers with the consistency, volume, and quality they need, but it’s going to require a group effort. One key component that will help is the introduction of the new USRW Certified Urban Wood Standards that will provide consistency and standardization for wood produced by Urban Wood Network members to ensure it meets the needs of the users.   Creating an industry around trees that need to be removed can boost local economies, provide more opportunities for small business and produce high-end products, all while improving our environment and reducing strain on our landfills. 

Read the Full Article

Also see related article: Taylor Guitar Uses Urban Ash for Tonewood



SFI Commits to Developing Urban Forestry Sustainability Standard

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced the launch of a partnership to develop a new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard for application in North America and potentially globally. SFI will collaborate with five urban forestry leaders: American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of Municipal Arborists, and Tree Canada.

“The SFI network is looking forward to collaborating with our urban forestry partners to promote the establishment of sustainable urban and community forests that meet local needs, while meaningfully contributing to national, bi-national, and global initiatives such as the 2 Billion Tree initiative in Canada or through regional and global initiatives such as the World Economic Forum’s 1t.org,” said Kathy Abusow, SFI’s President and CEO. “Together, with these leaders, I’m confident SFI will positively contribute to urban forestry initiatives across North America and globally.”   

“Urban forests are not just scenery — they are life-or-death infrastructure for our cities in a changing climate,” said Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests. “We must achieve tree equity our cities so that everyone has the vital benefits of trees for health, climate resilience, and economic vitality. We need all strategies employed to make this happen, including urban wood utilization, which can help address systemic economic barriers to urban forest management. We are thrilled to have the SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard as a new tool for the urban forest movement, and to see Paul Johnson named as an ideal leader for SFI’s urban efforts.” 

Urban and community forestry involves both planning and management of the urban forest because the right tree, planted in the right place, in the right way, promotes the many benefits trees provide for people, wildlife, and climate. Community trees and forests provide many social and environmental benefits including, improved health and well-being, social cohesion and accessibility, outdoor learning environments, climate change solutions, reduced air pollution, and improved urban design.

SFI’s commitment to developing an urban and community forestry standard goes beyond the launch of this new partnership, it is also embodied in the decision to create a new staff position: Director of Urban and Community Forestry. Paul Johnson assumed this new role on March 15. Johnson brings over 20 years of urban and community forestry experience and deep connections to an international network of partners to his new role. As Johnson always says, “Trees are key to healthier, happier, safer communities.”

SFI, along with its partners, will set up a task group composed of leading experts to develop the new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard. The partnership and task group will explore opportunities to seek remedies for the climate crisis and other serious challenges that urban forests are ideally positioned to help address, including access to public spaces, social cohesion and more. Individuals interested in serving on the task group should contact Johnson at 202-719-1389; paul.johnson@forests.org.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
SFI advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, non-profit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development. Learn more: forests.org.

About Arbor Day
Founded in 1972—the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance—the Arbor Day Foundation is the largest 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. More than 1 million members, supporters, and valued partners have helped us plant more than 350 million trees in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world to ensure a greener and healthier future for everyone. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, a changing climate, deforestation, poverty, and hunger. The impact we make on our world is accomplished through our conservation and education programs. We work to restore forests, improve tree cover in communities, and inspire the next generation of tree planters to ensure this important work endures. Learn more: arborday.org.

About Tree Canada
We are the only national non-profit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in rural and urban environments. Through our programs, research, and educational efforts, we have helped restore tree cover in areas hit by natural disasters, guided communities in managing their urban forests, helped green 700 schoolyards, and organized urban forest conferences. To date, with our community partners and sponsors, we have planted more than 83 million trees. Learn more: treecanada.ca.

About American Forests
American Forests is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States. Since our founding in 1875, we have been the pathfinders for creating healthy forests from coast to coast. In the early 1900s, for example, we rallied forest advocates to champion creation of the U.S. Forest Service. In 2018, we won a decade-long campaign persuading Congress to provide stable funding for preventing and fighting forest fires. Now we are focused on building a reforestation movement in America, from cities to large, rural landscapes. We all rely on forests to survive and thrive, given the power they have to filter our air and water, provide jobs, mitigate climate change and more. But our forests are being degraded and destroyed at a rapid pace and large scale. If we take care of our forests, they will take care of us. Learn more: americanforests.org.

About the International Society of Arboriculture
Through research, technology, and education, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. This is our passion and serves as our mission statement. ISA exists so that professionals, allied professionals, public officials, and consumers worldwide recognize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits and values of trees and their care at a cost that demonstrates the wise stewardship of resources. Learn more: isa-arbor.com.

About the Society of Municipal Arborists
Founded in 1964, the SMA is an organization of municipal arborists and urban foresters. Our membership also includes consultants, commercial firms, nonprofits, tree boards, tree wardens, allied professionals, and citizens who actively practice or support some facet of municipal forestry. A professional affiliate of the International Society of Arboriculture, the SMA has members from across North America and beyond. Through our magazine, City Trees, our conferences, our website and our many active members, we strive to create networking and educational opportunities that promote the sound, professional management of a vital and invaluable resource. Learn more: urban-forestry.com



Video: Wood from the Hood’s story and slideshow tour

The Minnesota Woodworkers Guild devoted its December 2020 meeting to examining the realm of urban lumber production through the eyes Rick and Cindy Siewert, owners of Minneapolis-based Wood from the Hood in Minneapolis, MN.

The Siewert’s founded Wood From The Hood to reclaim discarded trees from local neighborhoods to create beautiful, high-quality wood products. The Siewerts discuss the story of how Wood From The Hood came to be and why urban wood is a valuable and sustainable resource for creating unique furniture and other wood products. They also give a tour of their facility, including the showroom they opened in summer of 2019.

Wood From The Hood operates a sawmill and dry kiln. Its lumber is sold to woodworking professionals and hobbyists. The company also manufactures a variety of wood products ranging from cribbage boards and picture frames to dining and conference tables. 
Learn more about Wood From The Hood.

The Minnesota Woodworkers Guild is a group of professional and amateur woodworkers bound together by three goals:

  • To advocate high standards in our craft;
  • To meet new friends and discuss woodworking; and
  • To educate ourselves and the public about woodworking.

Learn more about the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild.



Urban Wood Movement’s Growth Focus of IWF Connect Webinar

Slide 1: Jim Evans of Far West Forest Products salvaging urban walnut logs.
Slide 2: Wisconsin Urban Wood supplied by Wudeward Urban Forest Products lends warmth to the otherwise sleek modern design of American Family Insurance’s headquarters in Madison, WI.
Slide 3: Eutree worked with its partners Lamon Luther to create this urban pecan kitchen island as well as flooring and beams for the Atlanta Country Club.  

Free presentation will highlight opportunities for woodworking companies to leverage the unique characteristics, local appeal and environmental benefits of using urban wood.

ATLANTA – The Urban Wood Network (UWN), in partnership with the International Woodworking Fair (IWF), will present a free webinar, “The Urban Wood Movement: Expanding from Coast to Coast.”

The special presentation will be available on demand during IWF Connect, a virtual tradeshow and conference scheduled for Oct. 26-30, 2020. The webinar is sponsored by Urban Wood Network and the Georgia Forestry Commission through funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

Rich Christianson, editor and publisher of IllinoisUrbanWood.org, will moderate the session that will feature a trio of experts. They will discuss urban wood’s unique characteristics, local appeal, environmental advantages, how to find local sources, business benefits and more.

The three presenters, all members of the Urban Wood Network, include: 

  • Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products based in Sheridan, CA. Far West is a family-owned logging and sawmilling business that actively promotes the use of local native species and underutilized logs including reclaimed urban wood.
  • Carmen Rodriguez, co-owner and chief marketing officer of Eutree based in Villa Rica, GA. Eutree is a boutique lumber mill that partners with local tree services to repurpose trees removed the Atlanta area for lumber, flooring, slabs and more.
  • Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products based in Milwaukee, WI. Wudeward exclusively sources Wisconsin Urban Wood in working with architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers nationwide.

    The IWF Connect webinar follows successful urban wood seminars held at IWF 2016 and IWF 2018.
WEBINAR SPONSORS

“It’s amazing how far the urban wood movement has advanced since we held the first seminar at IWF 2016,” Christianson said. “Since then, the Urban Wood Network has emerged as a rapidly expanding national association representing stakeholders up and down the entire supply chain including arborists, sawyers and custom woodworkers. We’re looking forward to sharing the latest information, including the creation of national standards and certification of urban wood lumber and products that will help drive increased market demand.”

“Lumber produced from urban wood can be utilized in a broad range of scales ranging from one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces to large-scale construction projects,” said Don Peterson, executive director of the Urban Wood Network. “As detrimental as the wide sweeping urban tree mortality has been to communities, it has also made large volumes of urban wood available for conversion into lumber, providing enough resource for large scale projects.”

Both the Urban Wood Network and Georgia Forestry Commission will participate in the virtual exhibition. Register to attend IWF Connect for free at iwfconnect.com.

For more information about the IWF Connect urban wood webinar contact Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com or phone 773-822-6750.

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About the Urban Wood Network
The Urban Wood Network (UWN) is a national association established to inform, collaborate and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. UWN’s membership includes municipalities, government agencies, arborists, saw mills, woodworkers and other stakeholders in the United States, plus Canada and other countries. Learn more about the UWN and membership benefits at urbanwoodnetwork.org.  Some activities are funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Products Marketing Unit.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

About IWF Connect
IWF Connect is the woodworking industry’s newest trade show event scheduled for Oct. 26-30, 2020. It brings together the woodworking industry’s full spectrum of products, from raw materials, supplies and finishing accessories to woodworking and material processing machinery all on a virtual platform. Also included are the newest products, trends and solutions for wood, plastic and related material processing sectors. Registration to attend the exhibition is free. Learn more and register at iwfconnect.com.



Urban Wood Network’s Future Visioning Webinars Available on Demand

All five parts of the Urban Wood Network’s (UWN) 2020 “Future Visioning” webinar series presented to date are available for on-demand viewing.

The webinars were held on a monthly basis from March through July, 2020. They include an overview of the UWN’s most recent accomplishments and plans, as well as a discussion of urban wood lumber standards, business strategies and more.

Each of the webinars is geared toward supporting the needs of the entire urban wood chain including municipal managers, arborists, sawyers, woodworkers and advocates.

Webinar #1: The Urban Wood Network: Future Visioning
The Urban Wood Network presents its vision to bring together urban wood industry members to inform, collaborate and connect to build community, business, and consumer confidence in the industry. 

Webinar #2: Urban Lumber Standards
Learn about new North American standards and chain-of-custody certification of urban wood and how they will build confidence in architects and designers to spec locally grown urban wood products.  

Webinar #3: Urban Lumber Business
Discussion of how to start or grow a successful urban lumber business including marketing strategies and utilization of the new industry standard and chain of custody certification.

Webinar #4: What to Do with the Rest of the Tree(s)
This webinar gives a broad spectrum of examples of products that have been produced from “non-log” trees and portions of trees throughout the country.  

Webinar #5: Forming a State Organization: Nebraska Urban Wood
Learn how urban wood stakeholders in Nebraska have come together to create Nebraska Urban Wood. Included is an overview of Nebraska’s existing urban wood using industry, municipalities and tree service involvement, potential funding sources, organizational structures, and recent organizational efforts.

Learn more about the Urban Wood Network, other archived webinars and the benefits of becoming a member.

 



IWF Cancelled; Urban Wood Seminar to Be Virtual Event

The International Woodworking Fair, North America’s largest gathering for wood products professionals, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show had been scheduled for Aug. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

As a result of IWF 2020’s cancellation, the Urban Wood Network is making arrangements to transition the free seminar it was planning to host at the show as a virtual event. The date and time for the digital presentation of “The Urban Wood Movement: Expanding from Coast to Coast,” will be announced in the coming weeks.

All of the presenters for the seminar have committed to participating in the online program. They include Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products; Carmen Rodriguez, chief marketing officer of Eutree and Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products. Rich Christianson, editor and publisher of Illinois Urban Wood, will moderate the session. The program is sponsored in part by the Georgia Forest Commission.

The free urban wood utilization session builds on programs offered to professional woodworkers at IWF 2016 and IWF 2018. The program will identify how woodworkers can benefit from the unique aesthetic and environmental properties of locally-sourced urban wood. The program will also highlight new national standards and certification of urban lumber.

To receive additional information, including a registration link when it becomes available, contact info@urbanwoodnetwork.org.



Penn State Developing Tech that Destroys Pests in Wood

Penn State scientists validated the effectiveness and cost efficiency of radio frequency technology for pallet sanitation during a commercial trial held at University Park. Image: Penn State

A technology that uses dielectric heating and radio frequency energy to destroy destructive pests lurking within wood products is closer to reaching the marketplace after a commercial trial at Penn State’s University Park campus.

The Dec. 17 demonstration, which was observed by regulatory and wood products industry professionals from the U.S. and Canada, validated the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the radio frequency, or RF, technology for pallet sanitation.

The treatment offers enhanced ability to terminate wood insect and nematode pests compared to conventional heat practices, noted Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneur and Innovation Faculty Scholar in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“This innovation has the potential to be transformative in required international trade wood-sanitation treatment,” said Gagnon, who has been instrumental in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program since its inception, encouraging entrepreneurship across the college.

“RF treatment is more efficient and uses fewer resources than conventional kilns and chemical drying methods, and that is not only better for a company’s bottom line, but it is also better for the environment.”

Developed by Penn State scientists John Janowiak, professor of wood products engineering, processing and manufacturing, and Kelli Hoover, professor of entomology, the patent-pending, wood-treatment system heats wood in a unique configuration by using electromagnetic wave penetration, similar to that of a microwave oven.

It heats wood from the inside out, first causing the core temperature to elevate rapidly, making it an ideal method to destroy pests that have burrowed within, noted Hoover.

“Invasive pests cause about $120 billion a year in damage to our valuable forests, ecosystems and agricultural crops, and they continue to be a problem due to increased world trade,” she said, pointing to the emerald ash borer and Asian long horned beetle as examples. Both pests found their way to the U.S. in untreated pallets shipped from China in the early 2000s; the emerald ash borer alone has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states.

Mark Hamelin, RF Kiln Technology, center, adjusts the power input for a dielectric heating cycle. He is shown with John Janowiak, professor of wood products engineering, processing and manufacturing, and Karolina Szymona, postdoctoral researcher.
IMAGE: Penn State

Ensuring that wood used in international trade is pest-free is not just an ethical business practice, but it is a legal requirement, according to Janowiak. Wood packaging materials, including pallets, crates and chips, must be debarked, treated and inspected per international regulations. Adhering to these standards is especially crucial for the U.S. wood industry as 40 percent of its logs are processed into wooden shipping pallets.

For years, wood-products manufacturers have had two options to deal with wood-boring insects — traditional heat-treatment or fumigation. RF technology is poised to offer the industry another choice, one that the scientists say is faster and more streamlined than the use of conventional kilns and that can help decrease energy costs. In addition, the cost to treat wood using RF technology potentially is lower than current pallet heat-treatment practices, set at 5 cents for a standard 48-by-40-inch shipping pallet.

“Our technology has a huge economic potential that can provide long-term savings for companies,” said Karolina Szymona, a postdoctoral researcher on the project. “While saving money is important, to me the real value is that it saves energy, which means saving our natural resources and reducing the carbon footprint.”

RF technology also can replace the process of fumigating wood with methyl bromide — a chemical that is being phased out — and help the U.S. wood products industry to retain export markets while moving away from chemically-treated wood.

“There has been a real demand to develop suitable alternatives to replace methyl bromide, which is an ozone-depleting chemical,” said Ron Mack, commodity treatment specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “Dielectric treatment is one of the leading alternatives to replace it.”

While the technology has undergone numerous tests and has received a stamp of approval from industry boards as well as the International Plant Protection Convention of the UN — the board that oversees wood packaging trade standards — the research team needs third-party validation and assistance with developing operational protocols to make its innovation “mill ready.”

To that end, the scientists are working on a bilateral agreement with the U.S. and Canadian lumber standard accreditation committees, both of which had representatives on-site for the trial in Penn State’s Forest Resources Laboratory.

“This is a safe, stable and proven technology,” said Chuck Dentelbeck, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board. “But introducing any new technology is like being in a marathon; you have to bring them [pallet manufacturers] to the starting line and let them decide if it makes sense for them. Once they know the benefits, I believe many will run with it.”

Sharing his enthusiasm is project collaborator Mark Hamelin of RF Kiln Technology, of Midland, Ontario, Canada, who deemed the commercial trial a success. “This was a pretty big day, having these agencies witness how efficiently and effectively our process works,” he said. “There are challenges ahead, the biggest one will be convincing people in the industry who have been using a different technology for 50 years that we have a better mousetrap.”

The project has received state and federal appropriations, including continuous funding since 2003 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Methyl Bromide Transitions Program. It also received financial support from the college’s Research Applications for INnovation program, which provides funding for researchers who are ready to move toward commercializing their research.

More information about RF technology and project collaborators is available online at https://abe.psu.edu/research/bio-based-products/wood-packaging/about-research. Further, the USDA and industry partner Mark Hamelin of RF Kiln Technology are part of a formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Penn State to advance RF technology.



Urban Wood Movement’s Growth Focus of IWF 2020 Seminar

Free presentation at North America’s largest woodworking event will highlight opportunities for woodworkers to leverage the unique local appeal and environmental benefits of using urban wood.
International Woodworking Fair

August 25-28, 2020

Seminar Organizer

Seminar Organizer

Sponsor

ATLANTA – The Urban Wood Network (UWN), in partnership with the International Woodworking Fair (IWF), will present a free seminar, “The Urban Wood Movement: Expanding from Coast to Coast.”

The 90-minute session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 26. This represents the third consecutive edition of the biennial event to feature a seminar devoted to urban wood utilization. IWF, North America’s largest gathering of woodworking professionals and suppliers, runs August 25-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

“It’s amazing how far the urban wood movement has advanced since we held the first seminar at IWF 2016,” said Rich Christianson, editor and publisher of IllinoisUrbanWood.org, a website advocating the responsible reuse of felled community trees for lumber and wood products. “Since then, the Urban Wood Network has emerged as a rapidly expanding national association representing stakeholders up and down the entire supply chain including arborists, sawyers and custom woodworkers. We’re looking forward to sharing the latest information at IWF, including the creation of national standards and certification of urban wood lumber and products that will help drive market demand.”

“Lumber produced from urban wood can be utilized in a broad range of scales ranging from one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces to large-scale construction projects,” said Don Peterson, executive director of the Urban Wood Network. “As detrimental as the wide sweeping urban tree mortality has been to communities, it has also made large volumes of urban wood available for conversion into lumber, providing enough resource for large scale projects.”

Christianson will moderate the session that will feature a trio of presenters, all representatives of companies belonging to the Urban Wood Network. They include:

  • Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products based in Sheridan, CA. Far West is a family-owned logging and sawmilling business that actively promotes the use of local native species and underutilized logs including reclaimed urban wood.
  • Carmen Rodriguez, chief marketing officer of Eutree based in Villa Rica, GA. Eutree is a boutique lumber mill that partners with Atlanta-area tree services repurpose trees as lumber, flooring, slabs and more.
  • Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products based in Milwaukee, WI. Wudeward exclusively sources Wisconsin Urban Wood in working with architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers nationwide.

The panel of experts will discuss urban wood’s unique local appeal, environmental advantages, finding local sources, business benefits and more. The presenters will also answer questions about urban wood utilization directed by individual audience members.

The Georgia Forestry Commission has signed on as the first sponsor of the IWF 2020 urban wood seminar.

For more information about the IWF urban wood seminar, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Rich Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com or phone 773-822-6750.

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About the International About the International Woodworking Fair
The International Woodworking Fair, owned by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, is North America’s largest industrial woodworking event. IWF 2020 is scheduled for August 25-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is the “must-attend” show for manufacturers of furniture, cabinets, flooring and other secondary wood products. More than 30,000 visitors registered for IWF 2018, which featured displays of machinery and supplies from nearly 1,100 companies covering 1 million square feet of exhibit space. Learn more and register at iwfatlanta.com.

About the Urban Wood Network
The Urban Wood Network (UWN) is a national association established to inform, collaborate and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. UWN’s membership includes municipalities, government agencies, arborists, saw mills, woodworkers and other stakeholders in the United States, plus Canada and other countries. Learn more about the UWN and membership benefits at urbanwoodnetwork.org.