|Founder Jim Newsom stands near the top of these giant slabs of madrone, just a sample of some of the reclaimed lumber milled by Urban Hardwoods.
Photo by John Granen
Founded in 2002, Urban Hardwoods uses reclaimed urban trees to make residential and commercial furniture and architectural millwork.
1.) The company has two sawmills to produce between 75,000 and 100,000 board-feet of wood. The lumber is air and kiln dried prior to milling.
By the beginning of 2007, the 4,000-square-foot shop and 5,000-square-foot warehouse will operate from within a single 11,000-square-foot facility. The expanded area also will house a new showroom and material resource center, additional office space and will allow for increased space on the shop floor. Milling and kiln drying take place on a 2.5-acre site located near the facility.
“This will add enormously to our growth and ease of production,” Newsom says.
Two company sawmills will cut nearly 300 logs this summer, producing between 75,000 and 100,000 board-feet of wood that will be air and kiln dried, then stored for use with mates from the same log to simplify pattern
A Wood-Mizer portable sawmill, along with a custom-built mill that handles logs up to 7 feet wide, allows for flexibility when it comes to cutting wood to match a project’s needs. “We can make efficient use of the materials because each log that we salvage has an obvious purpose,” Newsom says. “Essentially, we have no waste.”
That’s where Newsom’s expertise comes into play. Sizing up a tree to determine whether it will suit future needs with minimal production difficulties takes a practiced eye.
“What I enjoy a lot about the job is getting a call from someone in the city who wants to get rid of a tree. There’s the excitement of the discovery, that this tree could be ‘it’ — the one for that special project,” Newsom says.
Inside the shop, employees handle as much of the production as possible, although some tasks are outsourced, including the metalwork for the steel bases, and architectural millwork, such as doors and flooring. Products are finished using HAPs-free catalyzed lacquer, stains and oils. Among the machines on the shop floor are a Powermatic table saw, an Altendorf sliding table saw, a Moak bandsaw, a vacuum bag for veneering, a large Max disc sander, a Newman jointer and a Boere sander.
“The Newman jointer and Boere sander are a winning combination for flattening and sanding the large slabs,” Newsom says.
“For the most part, it’s basic wood technology,” he adds. “There’s nothing really that different about working with urban woods.”
Hand work also is critical for completing the projects. “Our craftspeople are unbelievably talented. We consider them to be our greatest asset,” Newsom says.
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