There's a whole bunch of wood that comes from our cities, yet isn't thought of as being as good or as pure as the wood from our forests. There may be some reasons why wood from the cities isn't the first choice for some people, but often times this wood is just as good and offers people opportunities to make beautiful products out of something that might have been scrapped or burned. It's another easy choice in making the transition to a sustainable lifestyle. Urbanwood.org is trying to get the word out to the people of the Ann Arbor area that they have an alternative, and local saw mills are taking the wood from tree services and making boards and logs that are nice than you can find at the lumber yard at times.
Jason Tervol works on splitting a large Oak log, getting it ready for the sawmill. This Oak log came from an urban location and sections of it have pieces of metal embedded, as many urban logs do. Despite the metal, the log still offers plenty of real estate for good wood that could be turned into flooring, furniture or other things. If not for Sawyers like Jason (and his father Jeff) many logs like this would be chipped or burnt even on location.
John O'Connell of the Lumberjacks Tree Service fells a huge urban Cottonwood tree in Ypsilanti, MI. Though Cottonwood is not the most desirable wood, most of the usable sections of log from this tree will be picked up by Jeff Tervol, a local mill operator who will turn the logs into useful product.
John Haling of Whitmore Lake, Mi is a Sawyer and a proponent of the use of urban woods. He deals with Recycle Ann Arbor, and is able to sell finished pieces to the shop. Some of the wood is dealt in traditional sizes and dimensions, while some is in oddly shaped pieces offering different possibilities and aesthetics for things like tabletops, etc. A "Glue up" in which he takes boards that have symmetrical traits from the same long and pieces them together is shown in the middle. On the right John rests on a huge log in his yard that will be milled in the future.
Chrissy Deiger is an Ann Arbor based photographer / artist who has found a unique use for urban wood products. At left she stands with some of her recent mixed media art in which photographs are transferred onto slabs of urban wood. Because urban wood tends to come in a greater variety of qualities, consistencies and characteristics she is able to find unique pieces that suit her artwork. At right is a piece of wood recently acquired to be used in a future piece.
Scotty Tupacz of Belleville, Mi. works on his sawmill that is located on the farm he grew up on and that his parents still own. Scotty has since moved a few miles away but keeps his shop operations on the farm. His mill is portable and he's able to work on site like a few of the other folks involved with Urbanwood.org