New life for old wood

Article Image“Land, Water, and Air” bench makes use of a slab from
a 100-year-old eucalyptus together with resin and reclaimed metal

Often when I’m engaged on the Gallery for the print model
of Tremendous Woodworking, there’s a truthful quantity of
back-and-forth with every furnishings maker. I additionally go to every
maker’s web site, if any, and take a look at their different work (not
as a result of I have to, however as a result of it’s fascinating). Sometimes
that small quantity of analysis leads me down a rabbit gap into
a bigger topic.

That’s what occurred once I contacted Dan Herbst and Jessica
Van Arsdale about their bench, featured in a two-page Gallery
unfold concerning the Design in Wooden present in San Diego. Their
firm, San Diego City Timber, reclaims wooden that
is destined for the landfill, firewood, or mulch pile. The
desk in query used a slab from a 100-year-old standing lifeless
eucalyptus tree they discovered and harvested in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Using reclaimed lumber just isn’t a very new apply,
but it surely does seem like a rising one, with city timber
corporations in cities reminiscent of San Diego, Portland, Ore., Boston,
San Francisco, and Minneapolis, to call a number of. Dan’s firm
has been in enterprise for seven years, so I despatched him a number of

What impressed you to work with city wooden? Are you able to inform
me a bit about your historical past?

I used to be within the Grasp of Tremendous Arts Program at UCSD (College of
California San Diego), and will see myself heading down a path
of idea and computer-based purposes to creative
expression. I couldn’t do it—not my nature. So I left the
program. I had a possibility to work with my uncle on initiatives
for his dwelling. We spent a 12 months and a half working by means of rooms
and furnishings, inside and outside, utilizing coveted salvaged lumber.
Throughout this time, I began serious about city wooden as a
viable materials. Native artist Roman de Salvo loaned me a
chainsaw mill, and I opened up my first log. I had caught the
city wooden bug, and there’s been no wanting again.

I spent hours studying boards and researching finest practices
with city lumber and utilized them. Received obsessed. Constructed my
first kilns and obtained busy. When one begins to look, and turns into
conscious of the large wasted potential proper in our personal
neighborhoods, it’s exhausting to sleep at evening. Every tree elimination
service that you simply see working looks like a missed alternative.

I’ve been lucky to have had companions and fellow city wooden
lovers which have helped in solidifying San Diego City Timber.
At the moment we now have an unbiased, part-time crew of fellow
woodworkers, furnishings makers, and artists.

Three years in the past I joined forces with my now artwork/coronary heart/enterprise
companion Jessica Van Arsdale. She has introduced shade and
innovation to SDUT and is chargeable for the resin work in our
items. It’s additionally enjoyable for me as a person raised by highly effective,
succesful dad and mom to convey a lady to the jobsite who can out-log
many males. We’re proud to problem the stereotypical roles in
this trade and thru instance, present escape of
beforehand held assumptions.

What are you engaged on now?

We’re doing a construct out in La Jolla known as Gracie James. It’s
an artisan life-style retailer. We’ve used native Torrey pine and
sugar gum eucalyptus as the primary wooden for fixtures and
furnishings. The shop additionally intends to hold a line of our
culinary platters and customized furnishings. Our designs additionally
embody massive resin pours to fill voids in addition to casting reside

We’re additionally doing a public artwork set up at UCSD, for the
Stuart Assortment in collaboration with John Luther Adams. This
is similar faculty I left to pursue a extra material-based
relationship with artwork. UCSD has insurance policies in place for his or her
bushes—take one out, put two in—and so they strive actually exhausting to do
one thing helpful with those taken out.

We’ve taken bushes off the campus, reworked them, and produce
them again in new types. This time it’s benches.

You additionally promote slabs and dimensional lumber,

We do promote dimensional lumber and slabs, in addition to provide
milling, kilning, and store companies.

How do you discover your wooden? Is there a specific
species that you simply favor?

To start with it was lots of pulling over and speaking to
tree elimination companies, handing out playing cards, wanting on
Craigslist. In the present day we get individuals calling prematurely in the event that they know
a tree is coming down. The relationships with tree companies are
very important. When an arborist comes throughout a superb tree, we get a
name. There may be much less materials for them to course of, or the
house owner saves on elimination charges. The method makes a smaller
carbon footprint, and we get unbelievable wooden.

Eucalyptus is our tree. It’s thought-about a trash tree and we
take advantage of epic merchandise out of it. However we love reside oak,
black acacia, avocado, sycamore, Torrey pine … the native bushes
are stuffed with character from rising in city environments.

Don’t you are concerned about metallic and different stuff contained in the
wooden damaging your milling machines?

Positive, we do. Metallic detectors are a should; they don’t catch
all the things, although. To be sincere, it’s pretty uncommon that we
actually hit huge, sudden metallic. To cowl for this
chance, most mills cost a blade charge. We do the identical.
It’s a big gamble for the shopper and the operator, however most of
the time the wooden is greater than price it.

If a woodworker needs to buy or use reclaimed
wooden, the place ought to they begin wanting?

Web searches will drum up anybody with a mill who needs to
be discovered. Search “city lumber,” or “noticed mill.” Examine
whether or not a neighborhood school has an city lumber element to their
woodworking program, like Palomar School.

The rest you need individuals to know?

Time is the important thing to getting massive wooden slabs to remedy correctly.
You simply can’t rush the drying course of with out investing in
vastly costly vacuum kilns. Once we mill a hardwood log, we
stack it and overlook about it for at the very least 6 to eight months —1 to 2
years is best. Then we will full the drying course of in our
kilns. So endurance and managing expectations turns into necessary
after we get to do the job we love most: turning a buyer’s
personal fallen tree into stunning, timeless furnishings for his or her

For a video on San Diego City Timber, go here.

Salvaging a eucalyptus logSalvaging a eucalyptus logReclaimed fence posts and black oak side table with internal shelf.Reclaimed fence posts and black oak aspect
desk with inside shelf.Outdoor bench for a client who wanted to maximize space. The frame is Douglas fir and the slats are redwood fence boards.Outside bench for a shopper who needed to
maximize house. The body is Douglas fir and the slats are
redwood fence boards.




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