Category: News

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.

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.  


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

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

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.