Tag: Wood-Mizer

DEC Update: Join the Urban Wood Network

The Urban Wood Network, a multi-state collaborative project led by Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, is opening up membership to other organizations and unaffiliated urban wood stakeholders.

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) will promote the UWN brand as an assurance of sustainability and stewardship of urban wood utilization; develop a long-term structure for membership and longevity of the UWN; and provide services to members to assist them in meeting their short and long-term goals.  Members agree with the UWN’s key tenets.

While the Illinois Wood Utilization Team is a founding member of UWN, I encourage you to check out the membership agreement. If you subscribe to the central tenants of membership, then take advantage of the opportunity to sign on as a charter member. Free membership is being offered through June 18, 2018.

Learn more in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also in the December issue:

  • The most-clicked urban wood news and blog posts of 2017;
  • An interview with Laureen Blissard, technical director for the GreenBuilder Coalition and principal of LTLB Envirotecture of Naperville, IL, a strong advocate of environmental sustainability, including urban wood utilization and its role in LEED building credits;
  • Download for free a copy of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling Guide, featuring articles by Sam Sherrill and case studies of successful urban wood businesses.

If I can offer a resolution to add to your list, don’t be shy about sending us your urban wood stories, photos, videos, events, comments, etc.

May the New Year bring you peace, health and prosperity.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team



AUG UPDATE: House Supports Urban Forestry Funding

Riverside-Urban-Oak-Table209214Things weren’t looking so good for Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) programs when President Trump unveiled his 2018 budget zeroing out funding. But the House of Representatives has picked up the pieces and allocated $27.3 million to support the health of our nation’s urban forests. That’s a handful of sawdust relative to the overall $4 trillion budget, but welcomed nonetheless by the agencies throughout the United States and its territories.
Continuation of U&CF funding still requires support of the U.S. Senate. As you can read in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update, the Sustainable Urban Forestry Council and the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Alliance for Community Trees Program have been rallying support to lobby the Senate to maintain funding. You can also watch an on-demand webinar explaining what’s at stake and how to get involved.
Speaking of involved, the Village of Riverside showed its support of the Chicago area’s urban wood movement. Village officials gave their blessing to have a 160-year-old oak tree downed in a March storm repurposed into a trio of desks for the village hall. Kudos to Riverside Forester Michael Collins for seeking and winning the support of elected officials. I had a chance to meet with Michael, Dan DeSerto of Bull Valley Hardwood, which milled the log, and Paul Meyers of Woodstock Woodworks, who expertly crafted the pieces. I’ll be writing a story for a national woodworking trade publication for the time being, check out the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark’s report.
Need a break from reading? Check out the video that shows how Indy Urban Hardwood utilizes its portable sawmill to salvage fallen and diseased urban trees in Indianapolis. It’s Episode One of Wood-Mizer’s new Urban Sawmill series.
And don’t forget to send us your urban wood news, stories, events and more.
Until next month, enjoy!
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team



Indy Urban Hardwood Stars in New Wood-Mizer Urban Sawmill Video Series

Wood-Mizer of Indianapolis, IN, chose to profile Indy Urban Hardwood Co. for Episode One of its Urban Sawmill Video Series.

Learn how Brian Presnell of Indy Urban Hardwood utilizes his portable sawmill to salvage fallen and diseased urban trees in Indianapolis. In addition to providing high-quality salvaged wood furniture to homeowners, Indy Urban Hardwood Co. works closely with Herron School of Art by donating salvaged wood to art students to learn woodworking.

Check out Indy Urban Hardwood’s website.




Looking to get out of town on an Urban Wood Adventure? Then Ann Arbor is the place to be on Friday, July 28.

The day-long event will make stops at Urban Ashes, an artisan picture frame maker; Recycle Ann Arbor’s Birge Urbanwood Center, an urban lumber marketplace; the Traverwood Branch Library, a showcase of how urban wood can be used for green building, and more. The Birge Urbanwood Center will also include an exhibition of urban wood furniture and artwork.

The price of the tour is only $20 and includes a bus transportation, lunch and refreshments. Seating is limited and reservations are required.

Read this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update for more details and to register.

Also in this issue, if you are the owner of a Wood-Mizer sawmill or know someone who is, be sure to check out details about the company’s Personal Best contest.

Finally, read about some of the latest urban wood activities in North Carolina, including the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange, an online database aimed at connecting urban wood stakeholders, and the upcoming Urban Forest and Small Woodlot Workshop set for Wednesday, July 26 in Research Triangle Park.

As always, send me news, photos, event info, etc. to post on the illinoisurbanwood.org website and to use in an upcoming edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Enjoy the issue.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team


Wood-Mizer Issues Call for Personal Best Contest Entries

Wood-Mizer-Personal-Best-ContestWood-Mizer of Indianapolis, IN, is accepting entries for its 2017 Personal Best Contest.

Since 1985, the contest has provided Wood-Mizer sawmill owners in the United States and Canada an  opportunity to showcase their dream projects built with lumber from their mill. Categories include homes, barns, cabins, sheds, tables and gazebos.

Twenty-five winners will share more than $20,000 in prize credits that can be used toward the purchase of any WoodMizer products, parts or accessories.

Contestants who submit their entry forms and photos by the June 14 deadline will receive a Wood-Mizer sports hat.

The final deadline for entering is July 31.

For more information abut the contest, rules and to enter, click here.

Related: See article about  urban wood-related  winners of Wood-Mizer’s 2016 Business Best contest.

Four Urban Wood Firms Snare Wood-Mizer Awards

Four enterprises recognized in Wood-Mizer LLC’s 2016 Business Best Contest are participating in their respective local urban wood movements.

The competition included first, second and third place winners in each of three categories. Entrants were judged on business practices, ethics, organization, and maintaining high-quality standards throughout their operations. Winners shared in $12,250 in prize credits and were profiled in The Wood-Mizer Way magazine.

Kamuela Hardwoods of Kamuela, HI, won first place in the Hydraulic Mills category. The company is going against the grain in offering lumber and specialty slabs from salvaged trees as an alternative to building materials that are predominantly imported. Kamuela Hardwoods’ customers make dining tables, bar tops, flooring, mouldings and trim, fence posts and even ukuleles.

J & M Logging & Sawmill of Fair Grove, MO, won first place for Manual Sawmills. Jacob Whitehead, who also possesses carpentry skills, operates a one-man sawmill operation focused on milling local trees.

The Wood Cycle of Oregon, WI, tied for third place in the Hydraulic Sawmill category. The Wood Cycle both mills and sells lumber and fabricates furniture, cabinets and products from urban wood. Owner Paul Morrison authored the book, Tree to Table: Emergence of the Urban Wood Movement.”

Knotthead Custom Sawing and Fabworx of Ceres, CA, tied for third place in the Hydraulic Sawmill category. Many of the company’s projects involve milling a homeowner’s cherished tree into lumber and then crafting finished products from it. The Knotthead profile was written by Jennfer Alger, who spoke at the urban wood seminar presented at the 2016 International Woodworking Fair and who wrote a blog posted on the IL WUT website: Let’s Make Urban Wood a Household Name.

Read about all of the Business Best Contest winners.





BY JENN ALGER Today, about half of Knotthead’s

business is custom sawing and the other

half a mixture of the sale of slabs and

finished products including Adirondack

furniture, finished outdoor and indoor

tables, birdhouses, live edge rustic

outbuildings, and a whole lot more. Many

of their projects are a combination of

the custom sawing and finished products,

where they turn people’s trees into beautiful

finished products for them to treasure. “All

of the wood is reclaimed locally, cut

into lumber and slabs and sold back

to people in our community,” said

Charles. “People love to come buy wood

with a local story and keep the wood living

on as a nice project.”


J & M Logging and Sawmill in the

southwest Missouri town of Fair

Grove has built his one-man business from

a startup company to a profitable and

successful operation.


Let’s Make Urban Wood a Household Name

By Jennifer Alger, CEO
Far West Forest Products

The terms urban lumber, salvaged logs and reclaimed or recycled wood often get used interchangeably. While all of these terms are about repurposing wood and keeping it out of the waste stream, in mind there are some important distinctions to their meanings and thus how they should be used.

Urban Lumber is the lumber sawn from trees that have come down in storms or were removed for any reason from your city neighborhoods, yards, parks and streets. This is the wood that traditionally would have gone to your local landfill, cut into firewood or fed into the chipper. By purchasing urban lumber or products made from urban lumber, you help extend the lifecycle of your local community trees. Urban Lumber also fits into the salvaged category as well.

Salvaged logs are woods that have not been previously sawn into lumber and is typically still in log form when we acquire it. Many of our salvage logs are windfalls – literally trees that came down in a storm. Utilizing these logs for lumber allows us to extend the lifecycle of the tree. This is how we get much of our old-growth material. Salvaged logs can come from an urban setting and fit into the urban lumber category, or they can be from forests as well. Essentially these are any logs from trees that were not felled for their timber value.

Reclaimed or recycled wood is wood that has previously been sawn into lumber and used in the construction of buildings, bridges, water-tanks or other structures. Reclaimed wood has been removed during some type of a demolition project and instead of going to the landfills, its lifecycle has been extended by recycling it and preparing it to be used again.

Why Buy Urban, Salvaged or Reclaimed Wood Products?
In the late ’90s, it was estimated that 3.8 million tons of solid wood waste was going into California’s landfills each year. This dramatic number just show what was happening in our area; there was a similar situation around the U.S. when there was an incredible amount of exotic wood being imported. We are not advocating that you should stop using imported woods. In fact, we may even carry some of them. But we do believe that we can better utilize the woods that are right here in our local communities. In many cases they are every bit as beautiful as the treasured exotics from around the world with their burl, figure, spalting or other character features.

By turning logs into lumber instead of material left to rot in a landfill, you essentially stop the decomposition process and sequester the carbon. In addition, by purchasing and using local trees the carbon used to transport the exotics from overseas is lessened. Couple all that with the fact that most urban wood in the U.S. is milled on portable thin kerf band-saws such as a Wood-Mizer, that consume an extremely low amount of energy, and you really take a big whack at lowering the overall carbon footprint by utilizing urban wood.

We at Far West Forest Products encourage you to take a look at urban wood as your first option. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the local economy, and it’s Beautiful!

Not only that, where else can you get a one-of-a-kind piece of wood or lumber that no one else has with which to build your next family heirloom. The urban wood industry is utilizing woods that are typically not used as lumber because there aren’t enough of them to create a commercial market for the larger mills.

A Brief History of the Urban Lumber Movement
The urban lumber movement became a “thing” in the ’80s, and really started to gain momentum in the ’90s. The concept, however, has been around for much longer and stemmed from the, “waste-not, want-not” generation. I can remember as a child in the ’70s going out with my dad to buy urban hardwood trees that were dead or dying and I know this was happening long before I came along.

I remember the famous Hooker Oak tree that fell in Bidwell Park in Chico, CA. It was thought to be the largest white oak tree in the world. An Oroville sawmill owner milled it into usable lumber in 1980 in order to preserve this historic landmark. There are countless other stories where sentimental and historic value has been preserved in urban trees by recycling them and giving them a second life which date back to before the term “urban lumber” really took off. Our customers love it when we can give them the rich backstory on the piece of wood they are selecting for their projects.

Why I’m a Proponent of a Market-Driven Solution
I believe that collectively our urban products will be more affordable and more sustainable if the industry grows through market-driven solutions as opposed to legislative action. Although I’m very passionate about using urban products whenever possible, I fear that legislating it could complicate the process to the extent that the average sawyer and lumber producer either couldn’t afford to do it or wouldn’t want to deal with the paperwork that comes when the government gets too involved in an industry. This in turn would drive up the price of urban wood products as well as potentially decrease the supply. The industry has to be viable economically for the tree service company, the sawyer, and the consumer in order for it to be sustainable.

I would prefer that local governments get behind and support (as Cal Fire’s Urban Forestry division in California has), but not necessarily legislate the urban wood industry with cumbersome red tape. I believe that if we can educate the consumer, and keep it affordable; they will choose urban wood products based upon environmental, economic, emotional and aesthetic reasons.

Let’s work together to make urban lumber and urban wood household names and go-to products for every wood products consumer in America.

Jennifer Alger, CEO, Far west Forest ProductsJennifer Alger is CEO of Far West Forest Products of Sheridan, CA, a family-owned business that actively works to promote the use of local native species and underutilized logs including reclaimed urban wood. Jennifer has worked alongside her father and brothers for most of her life and for more than the past decade also has been a regional representative for Wood-Mizer   portable sawmills. She has presented at several urban log and lumber utilization workshops and seminars focused on marketing, growing and operating a small sawmill business, including the first urban wood utilization seminar ever presented at the International Woodworking Fair last month in Atlanta. You can contact Jennifer at info@farwestforest.com.

Woodshop News Features IWF Urban Wood Seminar

WSN-Urban-Wood-StoryWoodshop News, an industrial woodworking publication, recently featured a full-page story about the upcoming Urban Wood Utilization seminar, Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

The article includes photos submitted by Wood-Mizer, a major sponsor of the seminar and  long-time supporter of the urban wood movement.

Read the article in the digital edition of Woodshop News’ August issue.

IWF Urban Wood Seminar Sponsors Help Spread the ‘Word’

By Rich Christianson

I have the odd habit of referring to my involvement with the Illinois Wood Utilization Team as missionary work.

Cutting to the chase, the mission of this missionary work is to create and promote a marketplace for wood salvaged from community and landscape trees felled due to insect infestation, storm damage, urban development, old age and other life-ending causes.

IL WUT, as we are prone to refer to ourselves, is made up of several dozen dedicated volunteers from all walks of the urban wood supply chain: arborists, tree care professionals, state and municipal foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers, etc.

Our activities, as well as those of our Full Circle Urban Forest Network partners in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, are supported by a grant from the USDA Forest Service, an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. The Forest Service has invested in a number of urban forestry intiatives the years, including many aimed at repurposing some of the millions of trees infested by the emerald ash borer as lumber. Sadly, the fate of most of these beetle-ravaged trees is chipping. Some are mulched or chopped up as fire wood.

It’s a fact, however, that many of these trees have sufficient length and girth to yield lumber that can be used to make furniture, cabinet, flooring and other wood products. The emerald ash borer might kill the tree but it does not harm the wood. A small but growing number of businesses have sprung up to capitalize on urban wood, the next generation of “green” and a handy material for those who like to source local/buy local.

Atlanta Bound
Next month my missionary work takes me to Atlanta and the International Woodworking Fair, a biennial event I have attended without fail since 1986. IWF is the North American woodworking industry’s largest event. It is an industry beacon, attracting more than 1,000 exhibiting companies displaying machinery, cutting tools, raw materials and much more. More than 15,000 woodworkers from throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond are expected to attend.

Through special arrangement with the organizers of IWF, urban wood will have a national forum, an amazing opportunity to connect with woodworkers and suppliers. The Full Circle Urban Forest Network will present a free 90-minute seminar, “Urban Wood: Making Products and Profits from Landscape Trees” at 1 p.m. Friday, August 26. I’ll moderate a panel made up of three urban wood entrepreneurs – Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products; Rick Siewert, owner of Wood From The Hood; and Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward.

Register for the IWF Seminar

We’re fortunate to have the financial support of three forward-thinking entities for this program: Wood-Mizer, the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange and Dovetail Partners.

Major Sponsor Wood-Mizer of Indianapolis, IN, has long been a leader in portable sawmills, a great tool for milling lumber from trees harvested from the urban forest. A couple of great resources provided by Wood-Mizer includes The Wood-Mizer Way magazine, which includes engaging profiles of custom sawyers and woodworkers, many focused on urban wood. Woodworkers looking for a supply of urban lumber or slabs can find local sources by using the Wood-Mizer Pro Sawyer Network, a state-by-state guide to Wood-Mizer sawmill owners.

Major Sponsor the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange is preparing to launch a new website to support the creation and promotion of urban wood networks within Region 8 of the U.S. Forest Service which encompasses 13 States from Virginia to Florida and Oklahoma, plus Puerto Rico. The Exchange’s mission is to help increase awareness of urban forests as a sustainable source of wood suitable for processing, thus increasing demand for urban wood.

Sponsor Dovetail Partners of Minneapolis, MN, provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. One of its areas of expertise is urban forestry and urban wood utilization. Dovetail Partners has provided consulting services for the impending launch of the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange. Dovetail recently published a report, “Assessment of Urban Tree Utilization & Forestry Programs of Richmond, VA and Raleigh, NC.” Dovetail has also produced several videos about the urban forest, including the one below.


















IWF Seminar Aims to Demystify Urban Wood Use

Three entrepreneurs who operate businesses capitalizing on the largely untapped stream of urban wood will share their passions and diverse point of views for putting felled community trees to their best possible use at a free seminar scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

The 90-minute session, “Urban Wood Utilization: Making Wood Products and Profits from Landscape Trees,” is being presented by the Full Circle Urban Forest Network, a group made up of urban wood utilization teams in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin funded by a grant from the USDA Forest Service. Wood-Mizer and the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange have signed on as major sponsors of the seminar. Additional sponsorship support is being provided by Dovetail Partners.

The expert panel includes:
Rick Siewert, owner of Wood From The Wood and Siewert Cabinet of Minneapolis, MN, and a member of the Architectural Woodwork Institute, will discuss how his commercial cabinet shop made its way into the urban wood business.. WFTH has quickly grown to where it now collects, mills and dries more than 100,000 board feet from urban logs.

Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products of Sheridan, CA, will discuss the differences and similarities between urban salvaged and reclaimed urban forest lumber. She’ll also provide a brief history of her family’s business, how it got into urban wood, why it’s good for the environment and her goal to see that “urban lumber becomes a household name and a go-to product.”

Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward of Milwaukee, WI, will address his long involvement in the urban wood movement including with Wisconsin Urban Wood. He will explain how Wisconsin Urban Wood has forged a market by creating a network made up of professional arborists, sawyers, architects, municipalities, woodworkers and more.

Rich Christianson, communications director of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team and former long-time editor of Woodworking Network, will moderate the panel.

“Far too many valuable trees felled by insect infestation, storm damage, urban development and other causes are being chipped and landfilled with little or no thought instead of being repurposed as high-value lumber and slabs,” Christianson said. “I strongly encourage IWF attendees and exhibitors to attend this free session to learn more about this incredible wood resource that literally grows on the trees that shade their yards and line their streets.”

Attendees of this session will learn:
• How to find sources of urban wood;
• The unique source local/buy local marketing appeal of urban wood products and the interesting stories they tell;
• The environmental advantages of utilizing urban wood; and
• An opportunity to get answers to their questions posed seasoned urban wood product experts.

While the seminar is being presented free of charge, attendees must register to guarantee a seat at the program. Learn more and register at www.IWFAtlanta.com/Education/nbs6.

For information about becoming a seminar sponsor and general inquiries, contact Rich Christianson at 773-822-6750; richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com.

About the Seminar Sponsors
Major Sponsor: Wood-Mizer LLC of Indianapolis, IN, is a manufacturer of portable sawmills, sawblades and other wood processing equipment and accessories. Visit Wood-Mizer during IWF 2016 at booth #6773.

Major Sponsor: the Southeast Urban Wood Exchange is preparing to launch a new website to support the creation and promotion of urban wood networks in Region 8 of the U.S. Forest Service which encompasses 13 States from Virginia to Florida and Oklahoma, plus Puerto Rico. Its Exchange’s mission is to help increase awareness of urban forests as a sustainable source of wood suitable for processing, thus increasing demand for urban wood.

Sponsor: Dovetail Partners of Minneapolis, MN, provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. One of its areas of expertise is urban forestry and urban wood utilization.

About the International Woodworking Fair
The International Woodworking Fair, owned by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, is North America’s largest woodworking event. IWF 2016 is scheduled for August 24-27, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is the “must attend” show for supplies, manufacturing and processing of materials for the furniture, cabinetry, flooring, door and window, plastics, solid surfacing and machine tooling industries. IWF 2014 attracted more than 23,000 woodworking professionals and industry suppliers from the U.S., Canada and beyond. Learn more at iwfatlanta.com.

About the Full Circle Urban Forestry Network
The Full Circle Urban Forestry Network operates from funding provided by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The four state partners include:
Illinois Wood Utilization Team;
Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council;
Missouri Department of Conservation; and
Sustainable Resources Institute, Wisconsin Urban Wood and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

About the USDA Forest Service
The Full Circle Urban Forestry Network’s IWF urban wood seminar is made possible through grant funding by the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.







For information to become a sponsor, contact Rich Christianson, 773-822-6750.