Feb 4, 2014

Our Western Red Cedar Siding: Light on carbon, heavy on sustainable style

By KC

 Our Western Red Cedar Siding: Light on carbon, heavy on sustainable style

A customer on a quest to find the lowest-carbon siding recently stopped by to ask about our cedar.  In our discussion with him, we were pleased to deduce that our FSC 100%, locally harvested Western Red Cedar siding is, from a carbon-mitigation viewpoint, as green as it gets.

During the siding selection process, a few considerations can help determine the most sustainable, lowest carbon materials:

  • The source of raw materials used to produce it 
  • The energy required to produce/manufacture it 
  • Total life cycle (what happens at the end of its lifespan?)
  • The transportation required to get it to you

Some in-vogue options, like fiber cement board, can add insulation and reduce a building's operating energy costs, but the energy required to produce cement products is so high, and so much transportation is required to ferry around the raw materials and then the finished product, that the net effect is high-carbon.  

Wood options generally require much less energy to produce, tipping the scales in favor of forest products. However, some classic wood siding choices are not particularly green. The cedar shingles that clad many older homes demand large diameter (read: old growth) trees to produce; and many well-meaning but mistaken designers often specify "clear vertical grain" cedar products that also require the harvest of old growth trees.

Our locally sourced, FSC 100% Western Red Cedar siding provides the perfect antidote to these design dilemmas.  We work with a local sawmill that buys its logs from nearby forest restoration projects like the Forest Grove watershed restoration project and the Nature Conservancy's Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

These projects are designed to improve the health of the forest, enabling a return to old growth conditions that were lost decades ago after the first clear cut. (This isn't greenwashing; click the links above to learn more about these excellent restoration programs.)

The logs procured from these restoration projects are second- or third-growth, smaller diameter trees that produce Select Tight Knot grade cedar products, a very high grade with much beauty and durability.  

These smaller trees are ideal for tongue-and-groove, bevel, and ship-lap style planks, which require minimal energy resources to mill.     

In spite of its decades-long lifespan, cedar is of course biodegradable, taking care of the end-of-life problems that plague vinyl, cement board, and other manufactured siding products.  

And because all of our cedar is sourced from forests less than 100 miles from Portland, the carbon costs associated with transporting the materials are minimal, relative to other materials.   

Another very important consideration for builders and homeowners is cost.  Sustainable Northwest Wood is pleased to offer our custom, FSC 100% Western Red Cedar siding for as little as $2.75 per square foot. 

Photos below:
FSC 100% Western Red Cedar siding, select tight knot
Photo at bottom: Cedar finished with the shou sugi ban charring technique


 

 
Oct 2, 2013

A Story of Salvation: Big Leaf Maple Live-Edge Slabs

By KC

A Story of Salvation: Big Leaf Maple Live-Edge Slabs

Our live-edge maple slabs are remarkable not just for their size and their beautiful grain patterns, but also for the way in which they come to us:

Generally cut and left as collateral damage from agricultural or timber harvest operations, these maple logs are too big to go to a regular lumber mill.  In our post-old growth era, most sawmills have been sized for smaller diameter trees, and logs measuring 20" or more across are simply too big for most mills to bother with. 
 
Instead, these grand trees end up at pulp yards, where the incredible grain patterns, impressive sizes, and rich history of these trees become fodder for the paper-making process.  Yes, that's right: these mighty old hardwoods are on the path to becoming paper.

Luckily, our sawyer stalks the pulp yards and rescues the biggest and most beautiful logs, then saws them up into unique and beautiful live-edge slabs, diverting this valuable wood from the waste stream. 
 
These big leaf maple slabs have the warm, rich color for which this species is known, with incredible luster and frequent quilting, curl, and other special grain patterns.

We stock 10/4 live-edge maple slabs in a variety of widths and lengths, each with its own one-of-a-kind grain pattern and edge detail.  We can also provide custom sizes for special projects.

Visit our warehouse today and pick out the slab for your special project!

Photo above left: This giant hardwood log is saved from destruction at a pulp yard in the Willamette Valley.

Photo above right: A 36" diameter big leaf maple log awaits the saw and kiln after its rescue from the pulp mill. Many of our slabs still have their moss clinging to the live edges.

 

 
Sep 30, 2013

Juniper Butcher Block: Organic Style for Rustic and Modern Interiors

By KC

Juniper Butcher Block: Organic Style for Rustic and Modern Interiors

From fences to planter boxes, juniper is a versatile species that can be used in many applications.  We enjoy using this sustainable wood in new ways and helping promote its harvest in Central and Eastern Oregon.

With this in mind, let us introduce our new Juniper Butcher Block!  We're stocking these pre-made butcher block panels in a variety of lengths and can customize them to suit your unique projects.  

Plus, this butcher block option is quite affordable: Just $30 per square foot for the stocked sizes!

Here are the specifications:
Kiln-dried juniper from restoration projects in Central Oregon
Stocked sizes 1 1/2" x 26 1/2" x lengths up to 8'
Custom sizes up to 48" x 16'
Unfinished, with square edges
Sanded to 120-grit finish

 

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Portland Warehouse
225A SE Division Place
Portland, Oregon 97202
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