Let’s check in with our Finishing Department

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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    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.
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    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!

 

US Builders Review – Greenbuild Edition

In November, we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 Greenbuild Expo –  the premier sustainable building event of the year. After joining more than 600 suppliers and top manufacturers of the latest green building equipment, products, services, and technology available in today’s market, we really felt like we were renewing our commitment to our eco-friendly practices with other like-minded eco-conscious folks. And by golly, we were excited to share new products, including naturally textured reclaimed Hemlock and custom finishes too.

US Builder Reviewthe magazine for leading construction executives – published a special Greenbuild edition of the magazine, covering the several trade show Editor’s Choice honorees. (We were one of the lucky ones!) The Editor’s Choice 2015 honorees represent the most forward-thinking businesses and the brightest of thousands of industry leaders, experts and professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work.

Read our feature here (on page 96) or below.

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