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.

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!

21 Million Board Feet Salvaged (and counting!)

I was watching a documentary over the weekend about plastic and waste. Among the many eye-opening pieces of information in the film, there was a discussion about recycling and how much of the material that we think is recyclable or is being recycled ends up in the waste stream, or worse – in our natural environment. I consider myself to be pretty educated about these kinds of things, but it really made me consider the waste I make that doesn’t go away. As I was watching images of plastic scraps swirling in the Pacific Ocean, it got me thinking about what we do here every day and the fact that I can see exactly what happens to the wood products that we reclaim. It all starts at the very beginning of our process: when we reclaim material from an old barn or industrial demolition site it instantly prevents a large volume of wood from heading to the landfill.

This exotic Indonesian hardwood blend is a perfect example of what can be created with the rough, as-found faces of recycled wood. Here spaces are divided and texture is created by these walls of a popular coffee shop.

The character in our reclaimed wood floors and other products is not only part of their beauty, but it also allows us to maximize our use and minimize our waste. Our wide plank floors come from large agricultural and industrial timbers, the mid-sized planks come from smaller items, or those pieces with damaged edges that can’t be saved. Our rustic flooring grades make use of the original faces and saw marks that history has provided, celebrating this patina rather than throwing it away.

Our Dust Collector pulls the sawdust from the shop and chipper so it can be sent for processing into pellets.

And with the waste – the broken ends, the boards with knotholes that are too big to salvage or the dry-rot we find when we cut in to something – we fire our clean burning, high efficiency boilers, we power the kiln that dries our wood and we heat our offices. The sawdust and small scraps are ground down and sent to become the compressed pellets used in pellet stoves.  Even the metal scraps our de-nailers remove from every piece of wood are recycled.

All metal must be removed from our wood prior to any other processing. These old nails, nuts and bolts are also sent for recycling.

So while I slowly work to try to minimize my own dependence on the disposable, I’m thrilled to look around every day and know that we are taking care to account for the waste that we generate and ensuring that we’re not contributing to a landfill or litter.
We’re pretty proud of it- 21 Million board feet (and counting)!