By Steve Skorup
I am the owner of SAWINC located in Sandwich, IL, and a retired technology education teacher. I taught drafting, CAD, woodworking, construction, and engineering for 33 years.
I began my journey into woodworking when I was about 12 years old working on projects in my parent’s garage. I took woodworking and cabinetmaking courses at Lockport Township HS and during high school I decided I wanted to be a teacher and coach.
After receiving my tech-ed degree from Illinois State University, I began my teaching career. The great thing I discovered about teaching was that I could pursue and share my passion for woodworking in the classroom and do woodworking and construction during summer breaks.
Through my friendship with a neighbor who was an arborist at the Morton Arboretum I was exposed to the world of urban logging and resource usage. I had already been making furniture for over 35 years, but only using dimension lumber and materials. After taking a trip to Seattle and seeing a business dedicated to live-edge furniture, I was inspired to combine my love of nature, woodworking, and newly gained knowledge of urban logging into a new venture using urban wood.
Working with various municipalities, tree services, forest preserves, private individuals, and sawyers I have been able to salvage many logs and turn them into what I call Legacy Lumber and Heritage furniture. I have salvaged logs from private yards, the Morton Arboretum, forest preserves, the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio property, and other locations. Much of this urban wood would otherwise have been reduced to chips or firewood.
Through these ventures I have met like-minded people who are interested in urban wood and are seeking to form the Illinois Chapter of the Urban Wood Network. If you are interested in urban wood and seeing this resource used to its highest purpose, then I encourage you to become involved in the Illinois Chapter and share your expertise and passion.