urban lumber

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by anvil posted 01-23-2011 08:49 AM 1227 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When an old walnut tree right outside The Joinery’s building on Southeast Woodstock needed to come down, the master craftsmen at the nearly 30-year-old furniture-making business got to grinning. Founder Marc Gaudin got to thinking: Why don’t we harvest that tree and make something beautiful from it?

And so they did, turning the tree into a bed and two tables.

A lot of debris was coming off the tree, and a portion of it was dying, says shop foreman Gary Michael about the western walnut right outside the back door of The Joinery. They hired Bruno Tree Care to take the old tree down. It was the first time The Joinery has ever sourced its wood literally from its backyard. No one knows the tree’s exact age, but Michael guesses it to be at least 60 years old.

The tree came down 2 1/2 years ago. It took the crew from Bruno a day to get it limbed, sawn and loaded on a flatbed for its trip to the Bruno mill. Michael estimates the tree turned into about 700 board feet of wood. Showroom manager Rosy Boyer says that more and more, customers are asking for walnut. Last year, she says, The Joinery did about 6 percent of its business in walnut; now it’s doing about 25 percent. Boyer thinks there are a couple of reasons for the increase. First, The Joinery simply has more walnut furniture on its showroom floor, and people are struck by its character. Second, she’s seeing a trend to darker woods in all things from flooring to furniture.

After the log’s been sawn, it is put back in its original sequence, Michael explains. It is the most convenient way to stack, for one, he says. Freshly cut wood has a tendency to sag and warp. Stacked like this, it supports itself better.

Also, says Boyer, some people want to buy sequenced boards. Michael explains that when you place an order that takes more than one board, you want to be able to piece the grain together—especially in walnut, with its innate variation of grain.

Michael says it’s always fun to see the wood. “Every one’s different so it’s kind of like opening a Christmas present. ... There could be two trees next to each other and they’ll be completely different.”

Here is the link with photos:

-- anvil

3 comments so far

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3467 days

#1 posted 01-23-2011 01:58 PM

well done.the tree still lives.nice post.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3011 days

#2 posted 01-23-2011 04:35 PM

I have developed the habit in the warm weather seasons of driving around town after big storms and picking up any fallen pieces that I can find. Often by talking to the owner when I see a downed tree, they will even avoid cutting it into pieces (the city will pick up anything less than 3’ long for free) if I take it that day. My wood needs tend to be smaller than most people here, but it’s been really useful for me. I look forward to using the first of it that’s been drying all winter, this spring.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4030 days

#3 posted 01-23-2011 05:18 PM

Even the lowly chunk of firewood begs to become a beautiful thing. Us woodworkers are pretty fortunate to have so much material at our disposal. Like it grows on trees!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics