Category: News

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


Wudeward’s Owner Shares Vision & Passion for Urban Wood in Podcast

Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products of Milwaukee, WI, was the featured guest of a recent Woodpreneur podcast, produced by Acre of Timbers.

Sperber is well known on the urban wood scene for his passionate involvement with Wisconsin Urban Wood and the Urban Wood Network. Wudeward is a business focused on supplying Wisconsin Urban Wood to architects, designs, builders and wood product manufacturers. 

Among many other things, Sperber presents his views of the current state of the urban wood movement, tips for developing a local urban wood network and how adopting industry standards – which are in the works – will help propel market demand for urban wood in the future.

Listen or watch the podcast.

Video: Palomar College’s Urban Wood Sawmill

Video: The Telescope


For the past four years students of Palomar College’s Cabinet & Furniture Technology program have been utilizing urban wood in their projects.

Through a grant from Cal Fire, the San Marcos, CA, educational institution’s Urban Forestry Department has been using a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill to mill logs from urban trees removed  throughout the San Diego area.

According to the department’s website, Palomar College established an urban wood products facility in 2000 to expose and educate students and generate community participation in the process of recycling trees in a sustainable forest.

The sawmill has helped salvage wood otherwise destined for landfills including redwood, ash, black acacia, sycamore, pecan, black oak and white oak. Most of the logs are cut into 4 quarter and 8 quarter slabs and the dry kilned for about four weeks. Then the wood is made available for sale to students in the furniture can cabinet program. Proceeds from these sales are used to help sustain the program.

Learn more about Palomar College’s Urban Forestry program.

Hoppe Tree Service Opens Second Urban Wood Lab

Hoppe Tree Service of West Allis, WI, recently celebrated the grand opening of its second Urban Wood Lab retail store. The new store is located at 195 27th St., Caledonia.

Hoppe Tree Services is a member of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and Wisconsin Urban Wood. The company opened its first urban lumber retail store in West Allis in 2015. More recently, the company added a sawmill to mill locally removed trees into lumber.

In addition, to its own milling operation, Hoppe is working with other members of Wisconsin Urban Wood to sell lumber, natural edge slabs, furniture and other items produced from locally sourced urban trees on a consignment basis to the public. 

Learn more and view online inventory at the


Wood-Mizer’s New SlabMizer Flattens Wide Slabs

With the growing demand for high-quality finished wood slabs in the woodworking industry, Wood-Mizer of Indianapolis introduced the SlabMizer MB200 Slab Flattener ideal for sawmill owners, woodworkers, and professional workshops. Built in the USA, Wood-Mizer said the SlabMizer efficiently surfaces and flattens wood slabs, boards, burls, cookies, and other wide material with minimal labor.

Compared to a traditional router or planer, Wood-MIzer said the SlabMizer flattens wider and thicker material up to 56 inches wide and 8 inches thick in less time using powered cutter head directional controls with variable feed speed. For larger capacity, a 5-foot modular table extension can be added to increase the material length. The company said a 72-inch width option is coming soon. 

SlabMizer Features

  • 56-inch maximum material width and 8-inch maximum thickness

  • 13-foot material length or longer with 5-foot modular table extensions 

  • Powered cutter head directional controls with variable feed speed or manual feed

  • 5,500 rpm 5-inch cutter head with five four-sided carbide knives

  • Orbital sanding head attachment for fine finishes

Greg Bacon, sales director of Wood-Mizer, said, “The SlabMizer satisfies the needs of operations producing high-value finished slabs and reduces the manual labor required to finish these wide slabs that are extremely valuable in the woodworking industry.”

For more information, visit

Wisconsin Urban Wood Slates Webinar for A&D Pros

Wisconsin Urban Wood and the Wisconsin DNR, in partnership with the Urban Wood Network, are organizing a webinar for architects and designers. Urban Wood: Using Local Materials to Enhance Design & Sustainabilty on Projects is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. The program is 

The type of material used in a construction project has a significant effect on the project’s sustainability and wellness goals. When considering using wood in a project, many architects and designers look for materials that are certified, salvaged or reclaimed. While these types of wood are sourced responsibly, they often are not sourced locally. Urban wood provides a responsible and locally sourced option for wood building materials.

This webinar will introduce attendees to urban wood, explain what it is, where it comes from, grade, characteristics, and considerations when sourcing. The presentation will explore how wood can support sustainability goals such as supporting the local economy, reducing waste, and how the use of wood can achieve wellness goals on a project.

The webinar is AIA approved for 1.5 LU|HSWs.

To register for this webinar visit

Maggie Pipek: Licensed Architect in WI, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP Sustainability Specialist, NCARB, USGBC, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Member

Dwayne Sperber: Founder and owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products, Wisconsin Urban Wood Founding Member, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Member

Learning Objectives

  • Identify applications for urban wood on projects and understand urban wood as a resource available to the construction industry, especially in light of the devastation from disease and insect.
  • Understand how to correctly specify urban wood for a project; ensuring that the architect, contractor and millworker acknowledge the considerations that are unique to urban wood.
  • Understand how choosing wood as a building or finish material can support the environmental and wellness goals on a project.
  • Understand requirements for WELL feature 87 Beauty and Design and feature 88 Biophilia.

This presentation is provided with support from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Wood From The Hood Opens Urban Lumber Showroom


Wood From The Hood, a pioneer in Minneapolis’ urban wood movement, celebrated the grand opening of its lumber showroom with a two-day event Aug. 16 and 17.

Rick Siewert, who along with his wife Cindy, owns Wood From The Hood, said, “It went really well. We had 250 to 300 people and lots of interest and great comments.”

The new showroom features more than 100,000 board feet of kiln dried urban hardwoods including live edge and dimensional lumber, live edge slabs, cookies and paneling. Furniture grade species include ash, elm, black walnut, plus “Minnesota exotics:” honey locust, hackberry, catalpa and other character-grade woods.

Wood From The Hood shares an address with Siewert Cabinet & Fixture, a company with roots dating back to 1965. The Siewerts were inspired to launch Wood From the Hood after witnessing an old ash tree removed from their backyard. They realized that the tree could yield valuable lumber as opposed to being landfilled.

In addition to lumber, Wood From The Hood makes and sells a variety of urban wood items including cribbage boards, cutting boards, growth charts and picture frames.

Learn more at






Fiserv Forum Design Firm Wins Wisconsin Urban Wood Use Award

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA), one of three design teams hired by the Milwaukee Bucks to design Fiserv Forum, received the second annual Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award. The award was presented during a June 20 ceremony on EUA’s Milwaukee office rooftop terrace.

The award celebrates the innovative use of urban wood – beautiful, rich, unique lumber sourced from trees located on urban streets, in parks, on residential land or on commercial property. In the case of Fiserv Forum, all urban wood came from trees that once lived in Wisconsin, and much of it was reclaimed from Milwaukee’s urban areas.

Materials used in Fiserv Forum were selected to represent Wisconsin’s rich past of wooded landscapes and industrial manufacturing. EUA is being honored for using local white oak lumber in establishing the Northwoods-inspired look and feel of the concourses, incorporating urban wood-added texture, warmth and character to the spaces.

“When developing the design for Fiserv Forum, it was important that we consider sustainable wood that had a story,” says Jeremy Hackbart, senior project architect for EUA. “Wisconsin Urban Wood and the repurposed white oak we selected have direct ties to the local community and state. Whether they realize it or not, patrons walking through the concourses will be surrounded by wood from trees that once grew here – not trees harvested as building materials, but trees that were allowed to live out their lives in an urban environment, and then hand-selected for a second life in this stunning environment.”

EUA worked with Wisconsin Urban Wood supplier Wudeward Urban Forest Products to source nearly 20,000 board feet of urban white oak lumber that was used to make bar ceilings, concession fronts, and harvest tables on the main and upper concourses. The oak was installed in random widths to showcase the natural deviation of grain, knots, and clarity from one board to the next. The application spreads throughout the facility in an homage to the massive shade tree.

EUA also used upcycled Wisconsin Urban Wood for the dramatic 18-foot backdrop developed as the main feature in the exclusive BMO Club, a premium space located near the players’ tunnel, where guests can enjoy a lounge-like atmosphere before taking their seats. This visually stimulating mosaic was assembled from 3.5-inch squares of upcycled cherry, walnut and maple Wisconsin Urban Wood end grain pieces, machined with varying depths.

Understanding Urban Wood
When urban trees need to be removed due to failing health, damage, or construction, urban wood stewards, like Wisconsin Urban Wood, reclaim these magnificent resources, saving them from wood chippers and firewood piles to be used to their highest purpose. These organizations assure the trees are processed into lumber, giving the trees a second life as sound, usable boards that are perfect for flooring or millwork; decorative planks for architectural woodwork including doors, cabinets, stairs, and railings; and uniquely characterized planks for interior finish work like wainscoting, wall cladding, molding and trim.

Architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers around the country recognize that using reclaimed urban wood not only repurposes these trees to their highest potential, but utilizes an abundant resource that, if resourced regularly, could fulfill almost one third of the country’s annual hardwood needs.

About Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum is a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018. The building was awarded LEED Silver earlier this year. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue offers incomparable sightlines, customer service, technology and amenities. Fiserv Forum includes 17,341 seats for basketball and up to 18,000 for concerts, with 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The new venue hosts a diverse variety of events, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men’s basketball, major concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events, and has been selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. In addition to Fiserv, Founding Partners for Fiserv Forum include BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company.

About Eppstein Uhen Architects
Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. More than 230 employees in Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines and Denver demonstrate unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. The respected 112-year old firm specializes in several markets including education, workplace, healthcare, senior living, student housing, mixed-use, entertainment and science + technology. 

About Wisconsin Urban Wood
Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) is a network of companies and organizations committed to the social, economic and ecological benefits of urban trees. WUW’s independent businesses and organizations are part of a 501c3 nonprofit network that reclaims urban trees for their highest and best uses – first for their environmental benefits as living healthy trees, and next for their wood after their growing years are over. WUW collaborates to divert removed trees from waste streams and is inspiring behavior changes and practices to maximize utilization of urban and community forest products. 

The Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award is a sponsored award category presented by Wudeward Urban Forest products and funded in part by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and the U.S. Forest Service.  These institutions are equal opportunity providers. 

About Populous
Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 36 years, the firm has designed more than 3,000 projects worth $40 billion across the world’s top cities, including the designing and planning of more than 85 arena projects ranging in size from collegiate facilities to major NHL and NBA venues. Designs for places like Fiserv Forum, T-Mobile Arena, Amway Center and Ford Center create emotional connections between people and the civic, sports and entertainment places and events they love best. Populous has 18 offices on four continents with regional centers in Kansas City, London and Brisbane. 

About Mortenson
­Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top-20 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward. Mortenson’s expanding portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers. Founded in 1954, Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and in Canada. Mortenson has been a staple in the Milwaukee community for over 30 years working with customers including Kohler Company, Aurora Health Care, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Milwaukee Bucks, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Mortenson’s Milwaukee operations employs more than 300 craft workers and professional team members. 


‘Upcycle Urban Wood’ theme of Arbor Day Foundation Bulletin

The Arbor Day Foundation shined a bright spotlight on urban wood uitlization in its July-August edition of Tree City USA, a bi-monthly publication focused on tree care, urban forestry, replanting, arboriculture and more.

The most recent edition of Tree City USA bears the headline: “Upcycle Urban Wood: Putting Urban Tree Waste to Work.”  The abstract summarizing the bulletin reads, “Although it is the mission of the Arbor Day Foundation to inspire the planting and nurturing of trees, a fact of life is that some trees come down. It may be on their own due to storms, and sometimes it is through management practices as trees succumb to insects, encroach on wires, or become dangerous. What happens next is also part of good stewardship. This bulletin highlights all the ways people are putting tree waste to good use.

The bulletin is circulated to Arbor Day Foundation donors and also can be downloaded for $3 by clicking here.




Madison, WI: A Progressive Urban Wood City

Editor’s note: Madison, WI, has been a leader among U.S. municipalities in salvaging urban trees from the waste stream. The following information is featured on the Urban Wood Network’s website as a shining example of how a city can play a leadership role in the urban wood movement.

The City of Madison Parks Model (MP) works as a cost neutral trade between Madison Parks (Parks) and WUW partners. Parks provides the logs and WUW sawyers produce lumber for park benches, maintenance materials, and over time, finished conference tables. “Knowing the trees will live on makes us feel a lot better about having to take them down,” says Charlie Romines, Asst. Superintendent for Parks Operations “[C]utting the trees to preserve the log actually reduces fatigue and boosts morale for our crews.” The remainder of the wood from Park’s trees is kiln dried and available through local businesses. Many of the first logs removed under the MP quickly found a home in a local development featuring ash countertops.

The adaptive reuse of urban wood allows us to be sure that EAB won’t have the last word when it comes to our ash trees. We think Madison residents will share our appreciation for this silver lining to the loss of our ash trees and other park trees,” says Eric Knepp, Parks Superintendent. The success of this arrangement ultimately lies in the hands of local residents. When residents buy local wood, they reduce transportation emissions, reduce waste, and make it possible for local businesses to stay involved in salvaging the wood from these trees.

A sample of the WUW-Madison Parks Proposal can be found here.