(Urban) wood is good

This week I got to observe a great urban sawmilling operation outside of Washington, DC. You may not think of the Nation’s Capitol as a hotbed for the forest products industry (you would be correct). But some innovators are finding ways to turn wastes into resources.

Cecil sawing log

Cecil Smith of Earlywood Design & Services sawing on his portable mill

The Baltimore Wood Project is an initiative of US Forest Service Research & Development including its USFS Forest Products Lab. One aspect of the project is to identify sources of wood residues and connect them to producers of wood products so that rather than being landfilled, chipped, or burned, these materials can be assessed for highest and best use and converted into products where possible.

Sometimes the best way is to find someone that is successfully doing what you seek to do and learn from them. Cecil Smith of Earlywood Design & Services has a static mill and a portable mill. He has relationships with tree care companies. They report to him when they are doing a removal that will result in a decent log. Rather than cut it into fireplace lengths, they leave it for Cecil, who comes to the job site with his log truck and takes it back to his yard or brought to a client’s site for processing.

 

Lumber from tree service take downs

Lumber from tree service take downs

Some is sawn into lumber, some into slabs for use by artisans.

Cherry slabs from landscape tree removal

Cherry slabs from landscape tree removal

We are grateful to Earlywood Design & Services for allowing us to visit his jobsite and learn about his process, and to USFS FPL consultant Stephenson Tree Care for connecting us to him.

The Consulting Group at SavATree provides project support to the US Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Baltimore Wood Project.