Tag: Dobnick Timberworks

Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business

After retiring last spring from a distinguished teaching career that spanned 33 years, Steve Skorup has decided to dedicate more time to harvesting urban trees to make furniture and other wood products.

Skorup spent most of his teaching career at Waubonsie Valley High School where he taught technology and engineering education. Among his many honors, Skorup was named 2003 Illinois Drafting Educators Association Teacher of the Year, 2007 ITEA Teacher of the Year and twice chosen as SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year. He also coached wrestling for 24 years and was nominated IWCOA Assistant Wrestling Coach of the Year.

A resident of Sandwich, IL, Skorup operates SAWINC. It’s a company he launched while attending high school. His company specializes in harvesting trees to make wood products including live-edge tables, cutting boards and furniture.

“I have done woodworking since I was in high school in Lockport,” Skorup wrote in an email. “I have had my company SAWINC since high school when a friend and I formed a small cabinet making enterprise. My interest in urban wood utilization began about five years ago when Brandon Dobnick, a neighbor, began working for Morton Arboretum and was taking down trees on the side. He now has his own business, Dobnick Timberworks/Vertical Solutions. We started with one walnut tree and a table project he wanted to do and from there we started acquiring trees, doing some work while waiting for me to retire from teaching and dedicate more time to the business.

“We started with Brandon’s chain saw mill but also hired a Wade Ellis out of West Chicago who had a Wood-Mizer sawmill when we had a big pile we needed milled,” he continued. “We’ve acquired trees from some area tree services, towns, school districts, or we cut our own. I have been storing up slabs for four years and am looking forward to making some more products moving forward.”

Notable sources of logs have included the Morton Arboretum’s prairie restoration along the DuPage River, trees downed by a tornado in 2015 at the Woodhaven Lakes campground and a pair of American elms from the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park. Skorup noted that the trees he salvaged from the tornado scene represented a mere handful of the number that were felled. “So many of the trees were just ground to mulch in the clean-up effort,” Skorup said.

“My Frank Lloyd Wright live edge table won a Blue Ribbon at the Sandwich Fair last year,” Skorup added. “I try and use all pieces of the tree – serving boards, Poppe blocks for my grandchildren, outdoor ash benches, etc.”

Skorup says he plans to build a website for his business. In the meantime, he can be contacted at sawinc.skorup@gmail.com.



Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up

 

By Rich Christianson

Dobnick Timberworks has joined the Illinois urban wood movement, opening up a lumber and custom wood products business in Oswego, IL.

The company is owned by certified arborist Brandon Dobnick and his wife, Marlana. Dobnick Timberworks operates a portable sawmill and offers 16-plus species of urban wood up to 16 feet long and 56 inches wide including ash, red and white oak, silver maple, Turkish hazelnut and pecan to name a few. Lumber products are available rough sawn to finished and green, air or kiln dried. The company also crafts live-edge custom wood products.

“One hundred percent of our wood is locally sourced and many with unique storylines behind them,” Dobnick said. “We hope to continue to see more and more urban wood become utilized.”

The Dobnick Timberworks website waxes poetic about the beauty and value of the urban forest and urban wood. The company’s mission statement is illustrative.

“Our Mission is to continue the legacy of our living landscapes through sustainably recycling urban trees by finding their highest purpose. We refuse to harvest any of our wood solely for its raw timber value, rather, a hundred percent of our wood has been harvested from trees within our urban landscapes which have died and/or needed to be removed for reasons other than timber value, i.e. Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, and other issues. All of our wood is harvested/collected locally within a fifty mile radius.

“We seek to advocate for proper tree care management practices, encourage planting trees, and enhancing the environment by seeking to minimize our carbon footprint while sequestering carbon through utilizing our wood products within our everyday spaces. We seek to unveil the stories hidden within urban trees’ unconventional character and gain patterns by creating slabs, lumber, and custom pieces which not only tell a story, but breathe life into their spaces.”

Learn more at dobnicktimberworks.com.