Blog

March 20, 2012

Local FSC Western Red Cedar builds beautiful, durable decks and outdoor structures

By KC

Now that it's officially springtime, it's time think about what you're going to do for your back yard and garden this year.  If you're shopping for lumber for decking, fences, arbors, or raised garden beds, be sure to ask about our Western Red Cedar!

Sustainable Northwest Wood's Western Red Cedar is FSC Pure and is sourced from restorative forestry projects within 100 miles of Portland's city limits.  It is cut as part of forest restoration projects that are designed to restore the health of the forest by opening the canopy and promoting diversity in tree species and age range.  
 
Much of our cedar comes from the Nature Conservancy's Ellsworth Creek Preserve, from the Forest Grove watershed restoration program, and from the Homestead Girl Scout camp in Zigzag.  We partner with small, family-owned mills to source the logs and cut and dry the lumber.

Cedar is an excellent choice for outdoor projects and offers many years of beauty and durability.  Much like juniper, cedar is naturally high in aromatic oils that repel insects and slow decay, but offers a more refined look with a silky, strawberry-blonde grain.  It is ideal for chemical-free raised garden beds and other uses where homeowners wish to avoid pressure-treated lumber.

AVAILABILITY:

  • 2x4 surfaced decking
  • 2x6 surfaced decking
  • 4x4 rough, full dimension
  • 1x6 rough fence board
  • Custom sizes and profiles     

Photos, from top left: A home in Southeast Portland boasts a cedar fence and living wall; the deck at the home in Beaver Creek is made of our cedar; a cedar nurse log hosts a young tree at an FSC forest 40 miles from Portland.


March 12, 2012

Vern Nelson: Selecting durable posts for garden structures

By KC

The Oregonian, Saturday, March 10, 2012
By Vern Nelson

Here's the link to the original article.

The best kitchen gardens employ structures -- trellises, espaliers and many other types -- to make the most of available space and to help the garden be as beautiful as it is productive. Posts for garden structures are available in many sizes and materials. Each wood used has advantages and disadvantages.

My favorite posts are made of juniper, which contains aromatic oils that make the wood resist rot. Juniper is beautiful, sustainably grown in eastern Oregon and locally available.

Juniper posts are available as 8-foot-long 4-by-4s and 8-foot-long 6-by-6s and are similar in price to cedar. Planks of various sizes are also available. Lengths of 10 feet or greater require a couple of weeks to get, and 2-by-6 planks are available if you want to put an overhead cap across your espalier or use them for trellises.

Because of juniper's density, you'll need to pre-drill holes for screws. Driving screws directly into juniper could overheat your drill motor.

ALTERNATIVES TO JUNIPER

* Cedar is rot-resistant but expensive. I prefer tight knot when using cedar, as it is less expensive than clear grain cedar and more stable than standard grade cedar. Sustainability is also an issue; be sure you're using Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Cedar is easy to drill for dowels, screws and wire.

* Redwood is similar to cedar, but it's difficult to find sustainably harvested redwood.

* Fir and pine are cheaper but rot.

* Steel pipe is durable but looks awful and is difficult to use.

* Plastic/wood fiber posts come in several colors. They are OK for edging raised beds but may bend if required to carry a load.

* Posts treated with copper naphthenate or other materials resist rot, but I prefer not to use them in my organic kitchen garden.

TIPS

Posts such as 4-by-4s and 6-by-6s are less likely to twist, cup or bend than 2-by-4 lumber.

Posts of many types of wood can be found used at recycled building supply stores or at garage sales.

Use stainless steel screws to fasten juniper together. If you hide the screws with wood screw caps or mahogany dowels, use Gorilla glue to attach them. It is waterproof. If gluing juniper or another oily wood like cedar or redwood, wipe areas to be glued with acetone to dry out the oils.

Seal juniper and other oily woods with Penofin for Hardwood, Exterior Formula, which was formulated for harder, denser, oily wood. An alternative for those concerned about volatile organic compounds is Timber Pro's low-VOC Deck & Fence Formula, available in clear or 25 transparent colors. Use two coats.

March 06, 2012

Need plywood? Call us for local, FSC, no added formaldehyde ply, in stock and ready to go!

By KC

As part of our mission to support Pacific Northwestern mills and the rural communities that depend on them, Sustainable Northwest Wood searched long and hard for a supplier of locally harvested, FSC certified plywood. 

We now keep it in stock at our warehouse in Southeast Portland, where we carry AC and CDX grades in a variety of thicknesses, as well as maple hardwood panels.

The plywood we offer is harvested from FSC forests in Northern California and milled in Oregon's Umpqua Valley.  In addition to being FSC certified and locally grown, our plywood is also NAUF, or no added urea formaldehyde, which means it won't off-gas carcinogenic fumes into your new construction.

According to the EPA, "In homes, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins."  Why does urea formaldehyde matter?  In addition to being a suspected cancer-causing agent, formaldehyde has been implicated in increasing rates of asthma and other respiratory problems.

NAUF plywood helps LEED-registered projects achieve additional points for Indoor Air Quality and is acceptible for use with the Living Building Challenge.  Our NAUF plywood also complies with California's CARB regulations.

February 20, 2012

Bend's Living Building Challenge project raises the bar on sustainable design in Central Oregon

By KC

The Desert Rain home, a Living Building Challenge project that is under construction in Bend, is forging new frontiers in sustainable design.  In addition to being net-zero energy, the home will collect and process all of its water needs.  An ADU is being constructed on the property, next to the main house, which is also being built to meet the criteria of the Living Building Challenge.

Sustainable Northwest Wood is proud to be the provider of the FSC lumber for this project, in partnership with Parr Lumber Company.  A site visit today showed the FSC certified Doug fir framing in full glory, as well as the sill plate, for which FSC Western Red Cedar was chosen.

Cedar isn't typically used for sill plate; contractors most often work with pressure-treated fir.  In this project, though, cedar was chosen because it is naturally durable without the need for any added synthetic chemicals -- it will bear the weight of this home while naturally preventing the decay of its most sensitive structural components. 

This FSC 100% Western Red Cedar was sourced from Zigzag, OR, where it was super-selectively harvested as part of a restorative forestry management program at the Homestead Girl Scout Camp. 

The Desert Rain home was designed by Tozer Design and is being built by Timberline Construction.  

Photos: Top, FSC 100% Cedar sill plate; bottom, the ADU's interior gets framed.


February 10, 2012

Neil Kelly Cabinets Knows Juniper

By KC

Each species of wood is different and requires a sensitive and thoughtful woodworker to learn how to master its unique personality.  Juniper is no exception.  Its properties are different from fir, cedar, oak, etc., and if one approaches it like one would approach those species, and expects the same results, disappointment will follow.

Instead, it pays to learn the subtle differences and how to work with them to achieve perfect results.  Our friends at Neil Kelly Cabinets have worked with juniper for many years and have learned how to master it and take full advantage of its unique traits.  They work with it, not against it, and the success of their efforts is clear, as shown by this exceptionally beautiful dining table.

This table for twelve is made from solid juniper and shows how beautiful this species is when expressed as fine furniture.  This heirloom-quality piece was built with formaldehyde-free adhesives and was finished with Neil Kelly's Nutmeg stain to accentuate the color and grain pattern.  The true proof of the craftsman's love for juniper: Some of the knots on the top of the table were added and enhanced.


 

February 07, 2012

Jonathan Nussbaum's heirloom-quality fine furniture showcases local hardwood

By KC

We love to see our local hardwoods turned into beautiful, functional fine furniture, and few do it better than our friend Jonathan Nussbaum.

Jonathan works with many species of wood to create classic fine furniture that highlights the beauty and individual characteristics of each piece of wood.  A dedicated participant in the Build Local Alliance, Jonathan is fully committed to using local, responsibly harvested wood and helping to influence others to make the same good choice.

Be sure to check out Jonathan's website at www.nussbaumfurniture.com.

From top: Jonathan at work on a set of Oregon White Oak dining stools in his Portland studio; a Big Leaf Maple kitchen that traveled a total of 60 miles from forest to installation; a walnut and spalted maple media console.



January 30, 2012

Blue pine flooring adds shabby chic to this French boutique

By KC

Marguerite, a charming French boutique in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood, uses our blue pine flooring and paneling to add rustic-yet-refined style to its aesthetics-driven space. 

The flooring was installed in a remarkable herringbone pattern, and the ceiling paneling was given a white-washed finish to soften the lines and illuminate the ceiling.

Many individuals, upon hearing that pine is a "softwood," are concerned about its long-term durability when used as flooring.  Marguerite's enduring beauty proves that with the right care and maintenance, blue pine flooring will look and perform great for many years, even in high-traffic spaces like this retail shop. 



 

January 27, 2012

FSC lumber - your sustainable, affordable option, in stock and ready to go!

By KC

Looking for a reliable, easy, affordable source for lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council? 

Look no further than Sustainable Northwest Wood! Our large inventory of high-quality FSC dimensional lumber is kept in Southeast Portland, just around the corner from McCoy Millworks. 

We've got 2x, 4x, and 6x Douglas fir, as well as pressure-treated lumber (we use copper azole) and many thicknesses and grades of plywood (no added urea formaldehyde).

And, because it's coming from us, you know that it's all locally sourced, coming from sustainably managed forests in Oregon, Southern Washington, and Northern California.

Support our local economy by buying locally grown and milled wood -- this is the best way to keep those dollars in the Pacific Northwest, where they belong. 

And be sure to choose FSC certified wood whenever you can.  Here's why.

January 27, 2012

New console table adds Northwestern charm to our office

By KC

It's Michael Appreciation Day at Sustainable Northwest Wood.  Michael is our awesome and talented warehouse manager who is always building us pretty things out of our wood: Samples, flooring displays, and now this beautiful table.

Michael gathered scraps of our Willamette Valley Walnut, Big Leaf Maple, Myrtle, and Doug fir and laminated strips together to make the butcher-block-style top, which was then sanded and finished with Osmo Polyx-Oil.

The legs are made out of Clear Vertical Grain Doug fir with a coat of Osmo One Coat Only in Rosewood, which adds depth and dimension while still allowing the grain of the fir to pop.

We love our new table, the perfect place for our juniper planter and business cards and the perfect way to showcase our local, sustainable woods.  Thanks, Michael, for your good work!

Here's a larger shot for your ogling pleasure:

January 19, 2012

Drool-worthy walnut flooring has a chocolate-and-vanilla swirl

By KC

Our new Willamette Valley Walnut flooring is full of character and panache.  Or should we say ganache -- its chocolatey swirls keep making us think of sweet treats!

Milled from beetle damaged trees salvaged from backyards in the Willamette Valley, this kiln-dried solid flooring is super durable and will last generations.  We offer it in a blend of 4", 5", and 6" face widths. 

And, because we work directly with the mills, we offer our Willamette Valley Walnut flooring at a fabulous price. 

Limited quantities available.  Please call for pricing and samples: (503) 239-9663.

Here's a full-size photo to whet your appetite: