Welcome Sean Comerford!

Sean Comerford started in our mill with the Moulder Crew in January and moved into the office to join our sales team in May. We dug deeper to learn more about him:Sean explores to feed his love of old wood and history.

Sean explores to feed his love of old wood and history.

Where did you grow up?

I’m originally from Buffalo, NY born and raised. After an extensive European hiatus where I learned that enjoying life is a priority, I returned home to Buffalo wanting to pursue a craft – which in turn took me to Rochester, NY where I apprenticed with a Dry-Stone Waller and learned to build with stone – the old way.

When the snow came with that bitter winter wind, I was unable to build so I turned to yet another medium – wood. I found Pioneer Millworks, and was so excited to start working here that I just came in and most likely pestered Rick enough that he hired me to work the Moulder Line.

You spent some time working in our mill. What did you learn?

Mid-January, I started work on the Moulder Line with Dave C and the guys. With fervor, I started studying the product specs, learning the species, and defecting to grade. Working in the mill nurtured some great relationships and gave me a better understanding of the inner-workings and nuances of our company and products. That knowledge helps me out immensely as a salesman.

What is your role on our sales team?

Learning Reclaimed Wood Sales is a rocky road full of pitfalls, but with this team mistakes are minimal and they transform into good experience. I have come a long way since my first days here, interacting with customers who walk through the front door looking for flooring, paneling, mantle timbers and everything in-between. Apart from Inside Sales, I provide support mainly to Jered S and Roblyn P, who in turn help me grow. My role will eventually evolve into local/regional sales. I’ll help spread the reclaimed word around Rochester, NY and beyond!

What about wood or reclaimed wood appeals to you?
Our 9 acre yard in Farmington, NY.

Reclaimed wood has soul, and as I walk through the yard I am often struck at how old some of these timbers are. Their species are nearly indeterminable but the texture and patina speak volumes about their character. The sustainability of this particular product coupled with the unique beauty makes it irresistible for a tree-hugger/wood-fanatic like myself.

Which of our products are your favorites? Why?

I like my reclaimed wood to have some character, a gnarly and interesting personality while also refined. So, I have to admit, there is a solid tie between Black & Tan-Tan and Antique Heart Pine (Character Select). reclaimed heart pine CS pioneer millworksThe latter, not only has some juicy history but the color and texture is mesmerizing, especially in those deep and wide resin canals where the divide between sap and wood becomes nearly indeterminable. The Black & Tan-Tan has a great story, and though smooth-planed, still has a good amount of that paint-ingrained patina that catches the eye.

sean bug netWhat are your hobbies outside of work?

You can usually find me at Rochester Arts Center throwing pottery, on a hike at Corbett’s Glen, or at the myriad local breweries in the area sipping on an IPA and engaged in good conversation.

What is your educational background?

I graduated with a B.A. in History – not exactly the most sought after certification for this line of work. That said, I do use my history degree to a greater extent now than I ever had in previous jobs – there is history in reclaimed wood and now it’s my job to share that history.

Share something quirky about yourself.

sean travels pano

Two years ago, I paid off my student loans and flew off to Europe with my extra cash, an overstuffed backpack and heady inspiration. I started a European odyssey that would bring me to an antediluvian Norwegian farm where I learned the old ways of raising crops, drank from glacier fed rivers, and chased cattle through the clouds. I took to the coast in Croatia, then on to rural Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary, the Carpathians in Romania, and Slovenia. I hitchhiked the breadth of Italy in less than twenty-four hours and ended up staying on at a Pressoir (Juice Farm) in France that had a wine vat older than the 13 Colonies – the inscription read 1472. I walked, ran, biked, swam, thumbed it, bummed it, and laughed my way through Europe for five months and twenty-two days.

What’s your favorite book?

This is the hardest question by far, but I figured it would be easier to name my favorite authors and genres instead. Without becoming too long winded, I love historical fiction, especially the works of Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follet. The cantankerous Ernest Hemingway is a must and in an opposing fashion, the works of Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching.

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Doggy Goodbyes

Charlie hard at work phin lap look

Thank you to all of our followers who have reached out with kind words and warm thoughts about the loss of our canine companions. It isn’t easy to say goodbye. The fact is that we lost two of our office dogs over a month ago, yet each time I tried to write about my boy (Charlie) the tears welled up and my fingers froze over the keys. While I doubt I’ll ever be able to compose something about Charlie without blinking back a flood of emotions, the time that has passed has eased a little of the sorrow and it is only right to keep sharing our boys with everyone in our lives…

charlie and phin

A sunlight nap and a sunlight snack. We always joked that Phin was solar charged. He loved spending time in any patch of sunlight.

With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our two best office dogs. Charlie and Phin were fixtures in our NY headquarters. I’ve always felt fortunate to work in a place that has a dog culture. If ever you stopped in, chances are you were greeted by one – or both – of these special co-workers. Charlie spent the last decade tail wagging and sniffing everyone who came through the door and meandering from desk to desk waiting patiently for pets and treats. While Phin, a more recent addition to our crew, spent his time lap-hopping – a feat that Charlie could never manage with his 90lbs of muscle of golden fluff.

John and I want to thank everyone who spoiled and played with our guys at work and at home. They were loved by not just us, but all who met them. Animals have a way of touching our hearts. They bring out the best in us; they support us; they make us laugh; they offer companionship; and they keep us entertained. I’m humbled by the selflessness they offer and the unconditional love these two dogs shared with us. It was an honor to have such amazing creatures by our sides for all these years.

the lean I could spend hours talking about Charlie and still would leave one wanting as knowing him was an indescribable pleasure. The same can be said of Phin – what big personality in a small package! While I won’t do justice to a life lived to the fullest for 12 years, I will say that Charlie was sweet and kind to every living creature (though he charlie double frisbeedid like to chase the neighbor’s chickens!). He obsessed over every ball and frisbee. There are so many people Charlie knew and loved. We’re doing our best to fill the hole his departure has left with good memories. Many have asked what happened. To put it briefly: cancer. It came without sickness or a whimper. (We learned that cancer of the spleen is the most common cause of death of Golden Retrievers.) One evening, Charlie was excited to play frisbee and watch us do yard work after having “worked” his day at the office. He came to lay near us and I knew from how he looked at me that something was wrong… We’ll forever be grateful for the ways he touched our lives.

phin and johnPhin was popular wherever he ventured. He’s credited with turning several people on to the Boston Terrier breed. The ‘little guy’ even had his own popular Instagram #Phinstagram. As John explains of his little guy: Phin spent countless hours riding with me in the car, on adventures, to and from work, or just going for a drive to clear my head. He was goofy and loved wrestling with toys… and being pretty much Phin. I’m glad I had these little moments with him when the times were pretty tough. It seems sort of fitting that my little guy left this world in his comfy passenger-seat spot. I’m glad I could be there for him in the end. I’m really going to miss this little guy. Sadly there was a neurological problem that came on rather abruptly, and took him years earlier than anyone would have expected for a little breed. Even at his worst points, he still wanted to join in on the adventures or go to work and greet everyone at the office. I was fortunate to have such a great little partner in crime, even if it was far too short.

Charlie and Phin are irreplaceable but there are a few new canines following in their paw prints around the office. Kairo, Reilly, Betty, and Penny in our HQ and Sherlock, Barlow, and  one or two other part-time office pups in Portland, OR.

Kairo

Kairo

Reilly (growing puppy!)

Reilly (growing puppy!)

Barlow and Sherlock.

Barlow and Sherlock

 

 

 

 

 

 

To honor our faithful pups, Pioneer Millworks and New Energy Works have made donations in their names to Lollypop Farm, an organization local to our NY headquarters, that works tirelessly to support the health and well being of animals both in and out of our community.

 

Limited Edition Cherry Flooring

Reclaimed and Rescued Cherry has been milled into engineered flooring (shown with Pure oil/wax finish).

Reclaimed and Rescued Cherry has been milled into engineered flooring (shown with Pure oil/wax finish).

Reclaimed and Rescued Cherry, unfinished.

Reclaimed and Rescued Cherry, unfinished.

We recently milled up a trove of Cherry wood which we had been gathering for years. Cherry is often scarce in the reclaimed realm as the number of trees were less abundant than other species and didn’t reach usable timber sizes for a variety of reasons. The wood was (and remains) highly desirable for furniture, cabinetry, and millwork.

Our recent run yielded over two thousand square feet of our World’s Most Eco-Friendly Engineered Flooring with wonderful natural aged color, a satiny grain, and cleaner surface known as our American Gothic grade.

Much of the material was rescued from an old barn we reclaimed a number of years ago. The Cherry had been milled into board stock in the 1940’s and stored in the barn until our reclamation. Mixed in with the rescued material is reclaimed Cherry, salvaged from old barn timbers in the Northeast. The resulting flooring has minimal nail holes, insect trails, and ferrous staining. Each plank has a micro bevel, is 4” to 7” wide (variable) and is 18” to 8’ in mixed lengths.

Tom and Ann's kitchen was crafted of the same rescued Cherry (solid) by our sister company NEWwoodworks.

Tom and Ann’s kitchen was crafted of the same rescued Cherry (solid) by our sister company NEWwoodworks.

 

Limited edition reclaimed Cherry flooring (unfinished).

Limited edition reclaimed Cherry flooring (shown unfinished).

 

This is a limited edition floor. Let us know if you’d like us to quote this for your project!

Our Reclaimed Wood Expert in Ohio

Jered, our reclaimed wood expert, has been on the train and in the car visiting Ohio on his most recent trip. He also had a live trip advisor/helper as one of his sons joined him on this adventure. By Day 3, Jered had promoted him from personal assistant to traveling tech support. Both enjoyed good eats and lots of reclaimed wood.

Jered and Son    Jered and Son_Tech Support    Jered and Son_Day 2

On a quick stop in to a national retail store in Cincidrew furniture old logonnati, they checked out reclaimed oak flooring that was installed over 5 years ago. This was a special batch of Foundry Oak that we reclaimed from the Drew Furniture Factory in North Carolina. Original patina and paint are celebrated in this floor. As Jered says, “It still looks awesome!”Madewell_FoundryOakFloor_Cincinatti_OH_webMadewell_FoundryOak_Floor_Cincinatti_OH_web

Red “Shadow” Pine Salvaged From Historic Tile Manufactory

     AETCO plant demo_web     

In 1892, the American Encaustic Tiling Company (AETCO) built an expansive tile manufactory on the banks of the Muskingum River in Zanesville, Ohio. Red Pine was a significant component in its construction, as it was for many buildings during the Industrial Revolution. The structure stood for 124 years until it had outlived its usefulness and was demolished in 2015. Pioneer Millworks was able to acquire a load of Red Pine from the industrial salvage, totaling around 13,000 board feet.

When demolition of the Zanesville plant began, the original ‘American Encaustic Tile’ facades were unearthed, a reminder of one of the world’s pioneers in the tile industry. Originally founded in New York City in 1875, AETCO quickly grew and expanded operations to Zanesville. A massive producer of floor tiles, wall tiles, and accent tiles of all sizes, patterns, and colors, the Zanesville operation was considered the largest and most distinguished tile manufactory in the world at the turn of the 20th century, employing at least 1,000 people and cranking out unique ceramic tiles for homes and businesses across the nation.

AETCO bldg revealed_web

The unique features of this reclaimed Red Pine are the original paint and wear marks as well as a striped appearance created from the ceiling joists running across the underside of the floor, which left a  “shadow” when removed after a century in place. This Red Shadow Pine is celebrated for its unique character and history.

Red Pine boards_AETC_webO     Shadow Pine_web     Red_pine_matte-poly-finish_web

It is always a privilege to rescue antique wood from rot or landfills. Our reclaimed Red Shadow Pine from the AETCO plant has tones of red and yellow, with streaks of resin, numerous knots and holes, as well as minor surface cracks. The joist shadows on each plank create a striking pattern and a reminder of the wood’s former life. Some of the timbers were milled into paneling in our Farmington, New York shop for a major retailer’s project. The white paint was removed and the boards were finished with a matte Polyurethane.

About Red Pine:

During the later years of the industrial revolution, builders could not solely rely on the dwindling supply of Longleaf Yellow Pine from the Southern US. Other species of softwood timbers, such as White Pine, Red Pine, and coarse-grained species of Yellow Pine were also used based on geographic availability and lower cost. The Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa) is a native of the lake states and eastward throughout New England and southeastern Canada. It grows in a narrow zone around the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River and was widely used in heavy timber industrial structures within and around those regions.

  • Red Pine timber waPinus_resinosa_Itasca_webs nearly depleted during the logging heyday of the 1890’s.
  • Red Pine will normally reach a mature height of 75-100 feet.
  • The tree gets its name from its reddish-brown, scaly bark and red heartwood.
  • Red Pine has a distinct, resinous odor when being worked.
  • Red Pine is very resistant to disease and insects.
  • During the Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted millions of Red Pine plantations.
  • Most of the wooden telephone poles in Michigan and surrounding states are Red Pine.
  • Itasca State Park, Minnesota’s oldest state park, is the best place to see some of the oldest Red Pines as the park features about 5,000 acres of them.

 

Fire & Ice: Fate of Iconic Chicago Warehouse

Photo by Reuters/John Gress

Photo by Reuters/John Gress

When fire consumed a massive historic warehouse in Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) in 2013, flaring up repeatedly for a week while the city endured freezing temperatures, it was considered a total loss, but a large amount of the structural timbers survived the fire and ice. After demolition we procured 19,000 BF of Southern longleaf pine (also known as Heart Pine*) that originally came from old growth pine forests harvested more than a century ago.

In the early 1900s mature longleaf pine reached over 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

In the early 1900s mature longleaf pine reached over 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Heart Pine played a significant role in the construction of the world’s first industrial park, the Central Manufacturing District (CMD), a 265 acre campus in south Chicago. Development of the privately planned park began in 1905 and eventually it housed several big name companies such as Spiegel, Goodyear, Starck Piano Co., the William Wrigley Co., and Westinghouse.pullmanfactory

Among these memorable trademarks was the Pullman Couch Company, a five story warehouse designed by civil engineer and architect S. Scott Joy in 1911. You might remember the Davenport-bed? That was a Pullman product.

 

Pullman Couch Company remained at the CMD location through the 1950s and, while a few businesses came and went over the following four decades, the warehouse stood vacant for ten years until January of 2013 when it was annihilated by fire. It was reported to be the worst fire Chicago had seen in years, commanding over 200 firefighters to tame it. With temperatures around 10 degrees, the water spray from the fire hoses swathed everything in ice – vehicles, equipment, buildings, even the firefighters.

fire-ice-pullman_img-DavidSchalliol   fire-ice-trucks_img-Reuters:JohnGress   fire-ice-bldg_img-RobertGigliottifire-ice-waterblast_img-Reuters:JohnGressWhen demolition of the building’s scorched remains began, a frozen terra cotta insignia could be seen high up on the brick exterior of the building. fire-ice-PC-Insignia_imgLeeBeyIt was that of the Pullman Couch Company, one of the last identifiers of the 102-year-old structure that was once the powerhouse of Chicago’s industrial campus.

The timbers obtained from demolition of the Pullman Couch Company warehouse were branded with ‘Bogualusa.’ Bogalusa, Louisiana was the site of the world’s largest sawmill, run by The Great Southern Lumber Company from 1908 until 1938. The company employed more than 1,700 men at the mill plus another 1,000 men in logging camps to keep a continuous supply of logs coming in. They only harvested longleaf pine, initially processing lumber at the rate of 1,000,000 board feet per day. After 30 years the virgin longleaf pine forests in southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi were depleted and the mill ceased operation.

Bogalusabrand

The historic heart pine we acquired from the former Pullman Couch Company has been used in several projects as flooring and paneling. At the time of this writing, we are wrapping up another order of our character select heart pine, this one with a walnut finish. And so the old longleaf pine timbers live on, long after the fire and ice.

psvg_heart_pine_rocking   heartpinefloor   MOD Pizza Heart Pine Paneling Web

longleaf range

Historic range of longleaf pine covered 90 million acres of southeastern coastal plains.

*According to the USDA Forest Service, longleaf pine once covered about 90 million acres of the southeastern coastal plains of the United States. Because of its quality and strength, longleaf pine lumber was a principal resource for early settlers in building ships and railroads, though it was used for just about everything from industrial buildings to furniture. It takes 30 years for longleaf pine to grow an inch and about 200 years to become mostly heartwood. Heartwood hardness comes from its resin and longleaf pine has more resin than any other species of pine. Because of its high percentage of heartwood, longleaf pine came to be called heart pine.

longleaf cutover

Cut-over longleaf pine area in Louisiana, 1930

Most of the longleaf pines were gone by the 1920s, harvested to near extinction. Today, only 3% of the original longleaf landscape remains. Restoring these forests has now become a priority in conservation efforts, particularly because there are over 30 endangered and threatened species that rely on longleaf pine for habitat. And while we can rehabilitate longleaf pine ecosystems, we will not ever have the kind of centuries-old longleaf heart pine that now exists primarily in the structural timber of industrial America.

Check out this short film on Secrets of the Longleaf Pine.

Let’s check in with our Finishing Department

IMG_8694 IMG_8692 IMG_8693

In the past five years our finishing department has grown into a well trained, well equipped, team of detail oriented professionals. This can be credited in large part to our Finishing Team Leader Steve Pettrone, who with the support and encouragement of management has deftly guided this devoted crew. SteveWith years of flooring installation experience, a strong personal environmental ethos and an easy going swagger that inspires camaraderie, Steve is quite a rock star. In addition to streamlining and updating our processes, he has proudly steered our in-house finishing options away from Tung oils and 2 part polyurethanes to the Zero VOC hard-wax oil finishes that have become the industry standard in the world of reclaimed flooring.

reclaimed_ash_custom_grey_finishash_lighttone_contrast_item_medreclaimed_ash_custom_black_finish

Steve’s newest addition to our product line is his Custom Grey, Custom White and Custom Black finishes on American Gothic Ash.

There is nothing radical about these finishes. They aren’t groundbreaking or cutting edge. They aren’t Pantone’s color of the year (though we do have plenty of custom one-off finish possibilities, but that’s another story).

pantone colors of 2016

 

 

 

 

 

What they are, are well tested, expertly applied, high performing finishes that will expand the tonal options available to both the cosmopolitan designer and the renovating homeowner.

In general, clients come to us looking for authenticity. That’s what reclaimed wood delivers best. The time-worn surface, the rich depth of color found in original patina and old growth wood, the nail holes and fastener marks that testify to a past life. Faux finishes make us cringe. As anyone who has worked in our sample department will tell you, nothing is lamer than receiving a request for a stain that will make red oak look like walnut. Or the request to apply some Rumplestiltskin magic to make fresh-sawn Douglas Fir look like it has weathered grey naturally for 20 years under the Wyoming sun.

We prefer the modernist tenet of remaining true to the material. But we are also aware that natural color tones – no matter how lush – are not right for every project. Our three custom finishes are complex and transparent, highlighting Ash’s tight grain pattern rather than masking it. Like your neighborhood sommelier, Steve has paired finish and wood so that each works to one another’s strength.

rubrica

These custom finishes take full advantage of a product that we are very fond of: Rubio Monocoat. This hard-wax oil is favored for its ease in application, maintenance and its tested durability.

Our custom process begins with a wire-brushing to open the wood grain, a hand-applied Rubio “Pre-color” stain which gives the final finish extra depth, and a thorough denibbing which removes any raised fibers.

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At this point the flooring is laid out on a platform and the oil finished is applied with a buffer. We then inspect and wipe down every board by hand and let the finish cure for 24 hours in a rack. Before it is shipped, the finished material is lined with a sheet of protective padding and then wrapped into hand bundles of approximately 25 square feet.

From start to finish, this diligent process is free of shortcuts and it results in a product that we feel is equal if not superior to any prefinished wood floor on the market. Steve is confident that you will agree.

Reclaiming from the Iconic Centennial Mills in Portland, OR

Douglas fir timbers reclaimed from Centennial Mills.

Douglas fir timbers reclaimed from Centennial Mills.

We’re salvaging 400,000 board feet of timbers and planks during the selective deconstruction of Centennial Mills in Portland, Oregon. Deconstruction of five warehouses and several old grain elevators, deemed beyond repair and unsafe, began in September 2015 and is expected to be complete by June 2016. To date, seven tractor-trailer loads of Douglas fir timbers and cribbing planks have been transported to our McMinnville, Oregon yard.

“Ideally, we’ll be working to get as much of the reclaimed material back into the Portland market as possible,” said Jonathan our president and founder. We’ll have samples on hand in our design studio in Portland, OR.

Dismantling one of the grain elevators at the mill.

Dismantling one of the grain elevators at the mill.

“Some of the wood can be re-used as heavy timber and beams, while some will be re-milled for use as paneling or flooring,” continued Jonathan. (You can read more on the history of the mill on our Unearth the Story page.)

Centennial Mills, Portland OR

Centennial Mills, Portland OR

The Centennial Mills site is owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and lies within Portland’s River District urban renewal area. “Working with Pioneer Millworks enabled us to streamline the salvage process, ensure the repurposing of as much material as possible, and return funds to the project budget,” said PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton. “We view this as a very successful partnership and look forward to hearing about how and where Centennial Mills materials live on throughout the Northwest.”

Originally we hoped to salvage about 800,000 board feet of timber from the Centennial Mills site. However, due to rot and the difficult cost benefits of saving all the smaller pieces, that number has been reduced. We continue to work towards salvaging more of the wood, but politics make things sticky. The salvaged wood is of an exceptional grain quality and we’re excited to share it with our customers.

First stages of removal of a grain elevator at Centennial Mills.

First stages of removal of a grain elevator at Centennial Mills.

After passing an emergency declaration in December 2014 relating to the condition of Centennial Mills, the PDC enlisted Tigard, OR-based Northwest Demolition & Dismantling for the selective demolition and salvage of the property. Demolition of Warehouses A, B, C, D, and F as well as Elevators A, B, and C began the first week of October 2015 and is scheduled to conclude in June 2016. The subsequent phase is slated to begin in July 2016.

If you’re interested in helping keep some of this historic wood in Portland, or if you have a great project that will give it new life, let us know. We’d be happy to provide samples.

Decon ’16: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble (Recycle)

The Building Materials Reuse Association gI_86481_Decon16-logo-bannerEagele(BMRA) has announced that (our very own) Jonathan Orpin of Pioneer Millworks and New Energy Works will be featured as the keynote speaker for the Decon ’16 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our fearless leader will kick-off the conference on February 29th with a forward-thinking address titled “Everything is Possible. Stories of de-constructible buildings, recycled wood, and companies that can thrive doing so.” Are you getting excited yet?

Decon ’16 is the premier international conference on building deconstruction, materials reuse, and C&D recycling and this forward-looking address will seed the future of a world without waste. “Jonathan’s experience and remarkable portfolio of projects will be an inspiration as the conference opens, and sets the bar high for all of us in the circular economy of materials,” shared Anne Nicklin, Executive Director of the BMRA. Thanks, Anne!

After three years, the biennial conference of the Building Materials Reuse Association will make its righteous return, serving as an international gathering of practitioners using both knowledge and experience to create a world without waste. The conference will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and NC State University February 29th through March 4th, 2016.Jonathan bio image

“I am equal parts thrilled and anxious to be speaking at Decon ’16, as this group has led the way for a long time in this exceptional field. Let’s keep turning up the dial, from understanding the story and source of our materials, to using them for really great and beautiful projects, to creating sustainable business models and partnerships to get the good work done,” shared Orpin.

As you may know already, Orpin is the President of Pioneer Millworks, which over our 25 years in business, have recycled more than 25 million board feet of wood; he’s also the President of New Energy Works Timberframers. Combined, our companies employ 130 community members, have shops in NY and OR, and we work hard to use the Triple Bottom Line of People, Profit and Planet as our guiding business principle. Orpin is also past President of the Timber Framers Guild, which supports the craft, science, and business of timber framing. As an organization, the Guild seeks to perpetuate and strengthen the robust craft of timber framing, communicating information about building methods, events, people, and the timber frame building community.

Barn Demo 2More than forty speakers from around the world will present case studies, emergent research, and inspire the diversion of construction and demolition waste towards productive markets during Decon ‘16. Live presentations and exclusive training opportunities will be offered, including a workshop on handling salvaged wood for woodworking and furniture making. Local tours of deconstruction sites, reuse stores, and local high performance buildings will also be available for attendees.

More information about Decon ’16 can be found at http://www.bmra.org.

The Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) works to create a vibrant building materials economy as part of a world without waste. For more than twenty years, they have done this through elevating the issue to the public, moving the market for reused materials, and inspiring and supporting the industry.

Custom Eco-Friendly Engineered Floor Made from Reclaimed Bleacher Boards

Here at Pioneer Millworks we have a menu of more than 50 standard products. But we continue to push the envelope and work with clients who come to us with their own unique vision. In fact, nearly half of all the jobs we do each year are custom. We love these partnerships into uncharted waters and all the challenges that they entail. The extra sweat and tears spent in the production of these orders often leaves us feeling especially proud of the end results.

One recent custom order of which passed through nearly every hand in our shop was 8,000 square feet of Eco-Friendly Engineered Floor made from Reclaimed Douglas Fir Bleachers. Destined for a large corporate headquarters in California, here is what was involved:

  1. Bleachers were sourced from across the nation, from Webster, New York to Portland, Oregon and numerous stops in-between. Because only solid Douglas Fir bleachers could be used for this order, our acquisitions team traveled across the country to find the perfect stock. This was something of a treasure hunt as most bleachers that were installed in the last 50 years are plastic, pine or laminates. Bleacher - 0
    reclaimed bleacher board art pioneer millworks

    Some of the gum and graffiti we found on our collection of boards.

    Bleacher - 1Bleacher - 2
    2.After the bleachers were cut to 8′ lengths (the length of the plywood), we fully surfaced each board in our moulder and put them in our kiln for several days. This brought all the wood to a consistent moisture content and killed any nasty fungus that might have resided after decades of sweaty gym shorts leaving their mark (we learned this the hard way).Bleacher - 3Bleacher - 4Bleacher - 5

  2. The holes left from the original carriage bolts which once secured the bleachers to a metal frame, are drilled out and filled with custom plugs. Our detail oriented crew did an exceptional job matching the grain of the plugs to the grain of each board. Bleacher - 6Bleacher - 7Bleacher - 8Bleacher - 9Bleacher - 10Bleacher - 11
  3. Once plugged, each board was again surfaced in the moulder and then run through our frame saw. Here, a series of blades sawed each board into three thin wear layers.
    Bleacher - 12

    Going in.

    Coming out.

    Coming out.

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  4. On our glue line, each wear layer was carefully adhered to a FSC Baltic Birch plywood substrate. Bleacher - 15Bleacher - 16Bleacher - 17
  5. Finally, these glued-up boards were run through the moulder a third and final time where the tongue and groove was milled. After defecting out any remaining irregularities, each board was end-matched and stacked to ship. Bleacher - 18Bleacher - 19Bleacher - 20Bleacher - 21Bleacher - 22Bleacher - 23Bleacher - 24

I think that it is safe to say that everyone involved in the project is especially proud of this beautiful one of a kind floor. Keep the custom projects coming!