Tag: Urban Wood

CHICAGO FURNITURE MAKER DIGS THE VIBE OF URBAN WOOD


Brian Keith Ellison’s passion for design steered him away from a career in real estate development and toward launching BKE Designs to manufacture one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. Many of the pieces he fabricates at his Chicago studio incorporate urban wood reclaimed from greater Chicagoland’s urban forests.

Ellison said he has been using urban wood in some of his projects for about 10 years. Two recent examples of custom furniture BKE Designs designed and fabricated with urban wood are shown here. In each case the wood was milled by Horigan Urban Forest Proctus of Skokie, IL.

The first is a conference table for which Ellison book matched a pair of 11-foot by 24-inch live-edge white oak planks. 

The second is a custom console/entertainment unit which Ellison said was fabricated using an approximately 5-foot black walnut live-edge piece.

Ellison explained why he chose to use urban wod for each of the pieces created for separate clients. “The aesthetic goal of the designs made this material most appropriate.”

Ellison, who holds a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois-Chicago, honed his woodworking skills in high school. After 15 years in the real estate development industry, Ellison made a dramatic life changing move to Amsterdam to focus on woodworking and design full time. There he collaborated with the late Dutch designer Faas van Dijk for two years.

In addition to running BKE Designs, Ellison creates public art and volunteers his time to conduct woodworking workshops including for local youth and the Safer Foundation, a non-profit provider of services designed exclusively for people with criminal records.

for Learn more about BKE Designs.



Chicago Plans to Inventory Urban Forest Canopy in 2020

Photo: Morton Arboretum

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation plans to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the city’s urban forest canopy next year.

While the stated objective of the audit is to help create a more effective tree trimming schedule, information gathered should also be of great interest to arborists and tree care professionals, as well as businesses dedicated to urban wood utilization.

In a Sept. 27 letter to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, John Tully, DOS commissioner, writes, “To continue to improve tree trimming operations, in the upcoming 2020 budget year, the Bureau of Forestry will work to develop a comprehensive tree inventory of the entire City canopy, which currently does not exist. This will provide valuable information regarding the number and location of trees as well as size and species. It will also provide information about electric wire interference within the canopy helping to inform the daily scheduling process for tree trimming and removals as well as the Department’s response to weather-related events.”

In an Oct. 30 press release, Ferguson called the tree canopy inventory a “step in the direction.” He added, however, “But (this) is only a starting point for an urgently needed generational re-assessment of the management of the City’s dwindling urban forest whose canopy is substantially smaller than many cities nationally. We strongly encourage DSS to re-evaluate the Monitor Group report the City invested in a decade ago, and work towards seriously implementing the recommendations for a grid-based approach to tree trimming. The benefits of more horticulturally precise and cost-effective tree trimming are substantial for the City and its potential for cost savings, optimized use of taxpayer-funded resources, and preventable liabilities. A thriving and healthy urban forest is critical to mitigating ever-mounting climate change concerns like the urban heat island effect and excessive storm water runoff, and recent studies have revealed stark differences across City neighborhoods that generally correlate with tree canopy percentages.”The Monitor Group report referenced by Ferguson found that DSS has largely used a reactive 311 caller request-based approach to identify trees for trimming. As a result of scheduling tree trimming on a case-by-case basis, city crews spend an inordinate amount of their time traveling to tree trimming sites, resulting in backlogs, allowing for many trees to go untrimmed for than a decade and some wards of the city receiving less tree trimming service than others.

According to the press release, OIG recommended that DSS employ suggestions found in Monitor Group’s report, which details the benefits of switching from the current reactive request system to a grid-based approach. This new approach (previously used by the City and commonplace for most municipal urban forestry programs) would make the Bureau of Forestry much more efficient, reducing the average crew’s travel time by 35% and the average cost per tree trim by 60%. It would also result in arborists determining how best to manage the urban forest rather than safety-driven resident calls, which constitutes an important added level of input to proper holistic management. In response, DSS stated that it will work to develop a comprehensive tree inventory of the entire City canopy within the next year, which will provide valuable information regarding the number and location of trees as well as size and species. However, DSS did not commit to switching to a grid-based approach, stating that it would require 15-20 additional crews to transition to this system, on a cycle of 7-10 years.



EAB Threatens 50,000 Trees in Lincoln, NE

The deadly emerald ash borer has made its way to Lincoln, NE, putting up to 50,000 public and private ash trees at risk.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the city has been bracing for the emerald ash borer’s arrival for the past three years. The wait ended when the EAB was cited within the city this fall.

According to the Journal Star, Lincoln has developed a 15 year plan to spend an estimated $22.8 million to combat the EAB invasion and its impact on 14,000 public ash trees. The plan includes removing about 1,000 ash trees a year and replacing them with other tree species. The city will spend about $10 million of the total to hire private tree care companies to remove ash trees with diameters of 18 inches or more.

The city has also held public hearings to outline its plan to residents. The newspaper reported that there is concern that many residents cannot afford to remove ash trees, which pose a safety hazard,  from their private property.

A related article by the Journal Star focused on a pair of workshops held in late November focused on utilizing some of the ash tree removals for lumber and wood products.

 

 

 

 



Share Your Urban Wood Success Stories, Photos, Videos, etc.

A lot of the best news and events items, blogs and videos about urban wood posted on this website were submitted by sawyers, woodworkers and others who are proud to share their success stories.

And we’re more than pleased to do so!

Here are just a few examples of urban wood in action that came across the transom:

Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business

Read more.

Wisconsin Urban Forest Fest Set for Sept. 15

Read more. 

Watch Tom The Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log

Read more.

 

There are as many potential story lines as there are urban trees. If you have one to share, we’d love to hear it. Simply send a photo or two and a short write up – even a few bullet points – about the tree and how and why it was transformed into something of value for its second life. We’ll do the rest and share your story with our audience on the IL WUT website and monthly Illinois Urban Wood newsletter.

Direct your urban tree news, events, videos, etc. to Rich Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com.



Put Your Urban Wood Business on the Map

Dovetail Partners Inc. of Minneapolis is a leader in helping advance forest and wood products sustainability programs, including many tied to the urban wood movement.

The non-profit’s website includes an interactive map highlighting “Buy Local – Wood Products Campaigns” located throughout the U.S. and Canada that focus on informing consumers of the environmental benefits and aesthetic beauty of buying wood products that are grown and produced locally. Each site marker lists the campaign’s name, its parent program or organization, and a link to its website.

Dovetail Partners welcomes qualified company’s and organizations to request to be included on the map. Contact Dovetail Partners at info@dovetailinc.org.

 



UWN Webinar #2: How to Produce & Market Urban Lumber

How to Produce & Market Urban Wood Lumber, the second in a series of informative webinars presented by the Urban Wood Network, is available on demand.

Urban wood is a legitimate source of lumber products.  Lumber made from urban wood has unique and valuable attributes but urban logs can be difficult to process and saw. This webinar shows examples of log sources, sawing methods for producing urban lumber, lumber drying techniques and marketing strategies.

Participants learn:

  • Sourcing logs
  • Guidelines for grading urban lumber
  • Air drying and kiln drying techniques
  • Urban wood lumber branding opportunities
  • How to identify markets for urban wood lumber
  • Who to contact for assistance
  • How to partner with an urban wood network to achieve their goals

Speakers:
Margaret Studer-Miller – Spalted Banjo Consulting, Petoksy, MI;
Tim O’Neill – The Urban Lumber Company, Kansas City, MO; and
Paul Morrison – The Wood Cycle, Oregon, WI.

Watch the Webinar Now!
Learn more about the Urban Wood Network’s “How-to Do Urban Wood” webinar series.



Vermont Braces for Emerald Ash Borer Invasion

Considering the emerald ash borer already has been inflicting damage in 31 states and two Canadian provinces, it comes as more than a bit of a surprise that Vermont has so far been spared.

But that’s about to change.

According to VPR News, the state confirmed its first sighting of the EAB in February in the town of Orange. The anticipated arrival of the EAB has state forest officials drawing up a battle plan to at the very least slow the EAB’s spread.

“What we won’t be able to do is eradicate this insect,” says State Forester Barbara Schultz in the VPR News report. “That hasn’t work with emerald ash borer. We won’t be cutting all the trees down. That just has not been effective. It’s a case of slowing the spread. That’s our biggest priority.”

In the video below, WPTZ NewsChannel5 interviews state officials and woodworkers who express their concern about the EABs potential to devastate the state’s tree population. Ash makes up about 5% of Vermont’s forests.

Illinois fought and lost the war against EAB. In 2015, Illinois joined Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri in ending a quarantine that restricted the movement of cut, non-coniferous firewood within the state.

Since its arrival in the Detroit area in 2002, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees, only a tiny fraction of which have been salvaged as lumber.

 

 

 



April 3 WERC Urban Wood Webcast Available On-demand

The Wood Education and Resource Center’s Spring Urban Wood Webcast, held Wednesday, April 3, is now available on-demand.

Presentations featured in the two-hour webcast included:

  > Update on the Urban Wood Network by Don Peterson, Glacierland Resource Conservation & Development Council;

  > Urban Wood Utilization in Kansas City, MO, by Kevin Lapointe, city forester of Kansas City; and Tim O’Neill, owner, The Urban Lumber Company;

  > Urban Wood Certification Efforts and Carbon Content of Urban Wood Products by Katie Fernholz, Dovetail Partners;

> Wisconsin’s Guidance/Standard for Using Locally Produced Structural Lumber by Collin Buntrock, Wisconsin DNR; and

  > Virginia Urban Wood Update, Joe Lehnen, VA Department of Forestry.

The WERC is a USDA Forest Service facility located in Princeton, WV.

 

Click here to access the Spring 2018 and previous webcasts
archived by WERC.



Tree Services Magazine Focuses on Using Urban Tree Waste

The October 2017 issue of Tree Services magazine featured an article on managing urban tree waste.

“Wood Waste Considerations,” included quotes from Rich Christianson, communications director of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team about putting felled urban trees to their highest and best use. Christianson noted that tree care professionals “are on the front lines – they often know of desirable trees that are coming down because of whatever reason, whether its emerald ash borer, storm damage or utility work – so we’re trying to get them more involved.”

Read the full article.

 



Video: Pioneering Urban Wood Use in Austin

Devin Ginther and Aaron Mitchamore are co-founders of TX Urban Sawmill LLC, a newly-established company dedicated to salvaging lumber from felled urban trees in and around Austin, TX. Ginther is also owner of Refined Elements, a company that specializes in inspired natural design, live edge furniture, solid hardwood furniture and specialty lumber sales, including urban wood.

Ginther said the accompanying video kicks of a series of urban wood videos that will be throughout 2018.

TX Urban Sawmill’s motto is “Help us save Texas, one tree at a time.” The company has formed a partnership with Austin Tree Experts to help identify trees at the end of their service that have the potential to yield valuable lumber and is actively pursuing relationships with other area businesses that share the vision of repurposing urban trees as furniture and other wood products.