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!

 

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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.

US Builders Review- Greenbuild Edition - Pioneer Millworks, Page 1US Builders Review- Greenbuild Edition - Pioneer Millworks, Page 2US Builders Review- Greenbuild Edition - Pioneer Millworks, Page 3

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Foundry Maple Reclaimed From American Crayon Company

The American Crayon Company’s factory in Sandusky, Ohio was slated for deconstruction, so we headed out to rescue the antique wooden bones of the building before it went to waste. We rescued 2 truckloads – that’s 24,000 board feet – of Foundry Maple. The old wood has endured thousands of footfalls, heavy machinery, and a smattering of colorful wax crayon materials.

Here’s a peek inside the former factory:

The American Crayon Factory in Sandusky, Ohio being deconstructed

The American Crayon Factory in Sandusky, Ohio being deconstructed

The factory’s history
When the first superintendent of Sandusky’s public schools wasn’t satisfied with the chunky chalks used on the boards in classrooms, he turned to his brother-in-law to create a new and improved chalk. William D. Curtis’ accepted the challenge and began experimenting in his kitchen in 1850 with what became, years later, the American Crayon Company. ACC became the largest employer in the area and produced many popular art products including crayons, chalk, watercolors, pencils, paste and cleaners.

Over the years, American Crayon acquired many other companies, most notably Prang Educational Company with their trademark Old Faithful geyser logo in 1913, and Dixon Ticonderoga who expanded their industrial supplies line in 1984. The former merger slowly outsourced the labor and plant operations to Canada and Mexico, sadly forcing the Sandusky plant to close in 2002.

crayon factory 2

 

 

The flooring’s next life

Bundle of Maple Foundry reclaimed from the American Crayon Factory

Bundle of Maple Foundry reclaimed from the American Crayon Factory

After leaving their old factory life behind in Ohio, the raw industrial salvaged Foundry Maple arrived at our eco-friendly shop in Upstate New York where we’re de-nailing and re-milling the planks into paneling, flooring, fixtures, and more to be used in commercial and residential spaces. Limited quantities are available and each ‘batch’ of this grade comes with one-of-a-kind often hard-earned texture, wear marks, and color.

Reclaimed Maple Goundry from the American Crayon Factory

Reclaimed Maple Foundry from the American Crayon Factory

Full of texture, and on occasion original paint, Foundry Maple can be put back into service with little or no finishing. Ranging from browns and golds to greys and occasional lavender tones, Foundry Maple offers unmatched color, original distressing, and character. While this reclaimed Foundry Maple may not be as boldly colorful as the products that passed through the factory, the boards continue to maintain a vibrant history and unmatched durability.

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Reclaimed Paneling Equals Environmental Health

Just in time for the holidays we tallied the impact of incorporating 2,200 sq ft of reclaimed paneling to a corporate project. The quick results: over 8 tons of waste was prevented from entering a landfill and 30 trees were saved. What benefits do 30 trees offer? We’ll get to that a little further down the page.

Reclaimed Hardwoods Paneling by Pioneer Millworks

Using 2,200 sq ft of reclaimed oak = 30 trees saved and 8 tons of waste kept out of landfills.

Think siding (vertical or horizontal). Think paneling…half way or up to the ceiling or on the ceiling. For a recent west coast project we crafted paneling from Settlers’ Plank reclaimed Oak. We’ve done some calculations to see just what using 2,200 square feet of reclaimed material meant to us and the environment.

settlers plank reclaimed paneling

Settlers’ Plank reclaimed paneling was fitted to a timber frame home game room.

With our average material yield we would have started with about 4,000 BF of reclaimed oak boards and joists to produce 2,200 SF of finished material. (We defect for metal artifacts, rot, old joinery, and lengths under 18″. These pieces are recycled, going to our chipper to become wood pellets or to our clean-burning kiln which heats our building.)  By using 4,000 BF of reclaimed oak instead of fresh sawn oak the following environmental benefits were realized:

–  We prevented 8 tons of waste from entering a landfill which would have occupied 12.35 cubic yards of landfill space
–  Once wood waste is sent to landfills, the exposure to other types of waste may prohibit wood from breaking down. Instead, it may partially decompose and release methane gas – a type of greenhouse gas.
–  We saved approximately 30 trees (based on the Doyle scale) from being cut down
–  The 30 trees saved by recycling 4000 BF of wood can absorb as much as 945 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air each year.
–  30 trees can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to 120 people.
–  The net cooling effect of  30 young, healthy trees is equivalent to 300 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day
–  30 large trees can lift up to 3,000 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in a day.

trees and horses

Trees! We’re big fans of trees. Not only are they good for us, but for our animals, and the entire planet.

More on our paneling: We craft it to order in our shops in Farmington, NY and McMinnville, OR; it is FSC-Certified reclaimed wood; the panels make installation of wood walls, ceilings, and partitions quick and easy. The options are nearly endless with more than forty species, grades and textures available. The wood is valued for its grain pattern, durability, deep patina, and incredible character. And more often than not the antique wood used in paneling will show signs of its previous life with ferrous staining from nails or bolts, insect trails, and old joinery notches.

As always, thank you for helping us help the environment. Best wishes and holiday cheer to you and yours!

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