Cellar Ridge Construction, the McMinnville-based custom home builder, is a big fan of juniper. They've used it for a number of unique applications, giving their finished projects a distinctive look and the decades of durability that this rot-resistant wood promises.
Earlier this year, a homeowner transforming her patio wanted something distinctive and slightly rustic that would help her property visually tie into the wooded parkland behind her home. Naturally, Cellar Ridge chose juniper for the decking, siding, structural timbers, and raised beds.
For a LEED Platinum remodel completed last year in Dundee, Cellar Ridge used massive juniper beams to add authenticity and attitute to the Mediterranean-style home. The juniper lends an incomparable look to the home, especially with its dramatic dark stain.
Photo at Top: Juniper is used for the decking, raised beds, siding, hand rails, and structural supports of this welcoming patio in McMinnville.
Photo at Bottom: Juniper beams frame the entrance and enhance the eaves on this charming Mediterranean casa in Dundee.
When you're visiting this year's Street of Dreams, be sure to look up! Our Campground Blue Pine adds a fresh layer of texture and color to the ceilings in the "Oregon Dream" home on this year's tour. The paneling was used in the home's study and master bedroom, where it was paired with sophisticated tones of blue and gray for an elegant, polished aesthetic.
The home also features Restoration Juniper fireplace mantles. The home's builders, Stone Bridge Homes, opted to leave the slabs in their natural state with the bark still attached for an authentic, untouched look. Again, the effect is elegance, especially when paired with the home's carefully curated art and furniture.
The home was designed by Skyline Homes and the interiors were composed by Lisa Shipley at Imagine Home Staging.
Last Friday, Sustainable Northwest Wood hosted a tour of an area that has been affected by juniper's slow but steady encroachment on Oregon's native grasslands and several projects that have used juniper for a variety of interior and exterior applications.
After meeting at Disjecta Arts Center in Portland's Kenton neighborhood to view their recent installation of outdoor juniper benches, the tour group travelled to the town of Fossil, in Wheeler County, which sits at the northernmost reach of juniper's current range. At the first stop, juniper sawyer Kendall Derby demonstrated how a juniper mill works, slicing open a log for guests to see, and then showing the group his warehouse and a variety of products made with juniper lumber.
Guests then dined at the Timber Wolf Cafe in Fossil, which was recently redesigned to feature juniper interior finishes, including flooring, wall cladding, and a distinctive live-edge bar (photo at left).
After lunch, guests arrived at a viewpoint of the Cottonwood Creek watershed and the hills surrounding Fossil, where the encroaching juniper woodland can be seen spreading across thousands of acres of former grassland (photo below).
The last stop on the tour was the OSU Extension office that is nearing completion in Moro, OR, which among a number of notable sustainable finishes includes juniper siding across its entire exterior.
Among the highligts of the tour were a series of before-and-after photos of the Fossil area, which showed Fossil being surrounded by bare hills covered in native grasses when settlers first arrived to homestead in the area.
Today, of course, those once-grassy slopes are well-populated with juniper trees, which are coming to dominate the other plants, commandeering precious groundwater, loosening the soil for erosion, and making foraging harder for the many native animals who have evolved to depend on a robust grassland ecosystem.
The tour group consisted of architecture and design professionals from Portland, as well as members of Oregon BEST, landscape architects, students, contractors, county officials, and other interested parties. The tour was sponsored by Neil Kelly, Cascadia Green Building Council, and Sustainable Northwest.
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.
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.
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.
Live edge slabs showcase wood's organic, unpredictable beauty by leaving one side of the piece in its natural state.
This style is perfect for incorporating an element of surprise to an otherwise predictable surface, adding specialness or a touch of whimsy to benches, countertops, bars, and tables.
Live edge applications can be achieved using numerous species of trees. The bark can be left on or sanded off, depending on the degree of authenticity desired.
Sustainable Northwest Wood stocks live edge slabs including:
- Big Leaf Maple, sourced from the Willamette Valley
- Walnut, urban and backyard salvage from the Willamette Valley
- Juniper, sourced from grassland restoration projects in Eastern Oregon
- Campground Blue Pine, beetle-kill trees salvaged from public parks and campgrounds
- Zena Doug Fir, harvested from an oak grove restoration project in Rickreall
Give us a call or stop by to see current inventory!
Looking for inspiration? This blog post offers great ideas for incorporating live edge wood into kitchen countertops ranging from super-sleek to very rustic. This post on Apartment Therapy shares beautiful photos of live edge slabs used for dining tables.
Here are a few photos of our live edge slabs used in recent projects. From top left :
Live Edge Big Leaf Maple by Windfall Lumber
Live Edge Big Leaf Maple by Hammer & Hand
Live Edge Juniper bench with bark
Live Edge Campground Blue Pine by FP Design
Garden enthusiasts everywhere sooth their wintertime blues by poring over the pages of next year's seed catalogues, dreaming of what to put where and the beautiful blooms and bounty that their gardens will produce once warm weather returns.
As you contemplate the shape that your garden will take in the coming year, don't forget to consider the materials that hold it all together! Juniper is an ideal replacement for the pressure-treated lumber that is often used to build raised garden beds, arbors, fences, and other backyard essentials. Juniper lasts longer outside that pressure-treated fir, plus it is chemical-free, so you won't be introducing questionable substances into your soil.
And, of course, your purchase of juniper supports family-run mills in Eastern Oregon and a constructive use for this intrusive species.
Sustainable Northwest Wood keeps juniper 6" x 6" and 2" x 6" landscaping timbers in stock and can quickly and efficiently help you source other dimensions, too. Be sure to view the juniper photos in our Gallery and visit our Juniper page for more information about this durable, beautiful, and sustainable wood!
Last week I was fortunate to be able to embark on a fact-finding mission to Eastern Oregon, with the goal of learning more about where Sustainable Northwest Wood's juniper comes from and the route it travels between the forest and our warehouse.
It was certainly an eye-opening outing: The spread of juniper is surprisingly vast, with seedlings and young trees covering many mountain slopes, from Fossil eastward.
Most of these are young trees, just a few decades old (note the bevy of baby trees in the photo above). It is easy to imagine how the landscape will be altered in the coming years, morphing from open sagebrush steppe into dense woodland, barren of the grasses and shrubs that historically hosted much of Oregon's wildlife.
How will these animals evolve to survive in such a different ecosystem in the span of just a few decades? Chances are, they won't.
This is why the work of the brave folks who are pioneering a juniper industry is so important. They are striving to show that juniper can be cut, the landscape can be restored, jobs can be created in communities that are desperate for them, and the broader marketplace will support their work by buying the wood.
We look forward to continuing our work with Oregon's juniper mills, doing our part to help develop the market for their wood, selling it at a price that allows them to grow their businesses and create conservation-based jobs, and making sure reliable standards are developed and enforced to ensure that the wood is cut in a way that minimizes or negates harm to the surrounding plant and animal community.
As the previous post explains, juniper is a fantastic choice for projects because of its environmental credentials. It's also great for exterior applications due to its superior rot and weather resistance, more so than any other regional species, plus it just happens to be beautiful!
Many of our customers are working with juniper for their raised beds, quickly and easily transforming back yards, patios, and tight urban spaces into functional gardens to grow vegetables and herbs. Of course, the juniper is totally natural and not treated with any chemicals that could leach into the soil--or into the food growing there.
We keep 6" x 6" x 8' and 10' timbers and 2" x 6" x 8' and 10' boards in stock, ready for you to pick up and begin your garden project this weekend. Please call ahead so we can get your order ready for you!