A short time ago we asked for your feedback on our products–many thanks to all who responded! We want you to know we’ve heard you and we’re incorporating your feedback into our pricing, product collections, and R&D. A few highlights: all of you continue to feature wood in projects – from reclaimed, salvaged, vintage woods to sustainably harvested fresh wood products. Yes, us too. Then you told us that our new finishes and patterns continue to strike a cord. Cool, because we’ve spent the entire year coming up with new colors, patterns, and textures. Some of you said price can be a big player in whether or not you can design with wood while others said you thought all reclaimed wood was expensive. Perfect timing, we’d like to bring your attention to 8 of our species/grades that are under $8 per sq ft:
In January we showed you Ohio State University’s Newark campus where we salvaged what we could of their old bleachers. Today we’re sharing bleacher boards in their second life at the newest Houston TX sport’s bar, Biggio’s.
Astros Baseball Hall of Fame Member Craig Biggio and the Marriott Marquis Houston formed a partnership which includes the new sports bar named Biggio’s. The eatery is a sprawling two level space overlooking Discovery Green. Leading the decor lineup is a wall of TV screens that span two stories. Not to be missed is a variety of sports-minded design details, including the bar front showcasing the Craig Biggio’s wooden bats and various expanses of our Reclaimed Bleacher Boards.
“This product was meant to be for the Biggio’s space! [Pioneer Millworks] happened to be in our office when we were finalizing plans and you introduced us to this perfect option that could be extremely unique for the space. It was something we had never done before and knew it could be a risk, but it sure turned out to be one worth taking. Since the reclaimed bleacher wood could be from anywhere, we wanted to make sure we had pieces that could tie back to the story of the Houston sports scene that surrounds the Houston Marriott Marquis from almost all directions – the Astros Minute Maid Park being the closest. We knew that the guests of this sports bar would truly appreciate this unique product- it’s so fun to think of the stories that are “within the wood.”” notes Julianne Cary of Looney Associates, leading hospitality designers.
Aiming to meet the budget and time frame for Biggio’s, our team including Carolyn, Roblyn, and Alex put their skills together landing on reclaimed bleacher boards. The boards for Biggio’s were sourced from several different salvage projects including: Hinsdale High School, Illinois; Pittsburg State University, Kansas; Altoona High School, Pennsylvania. Biggio’s embraced and celebrated the original grey paint [from the Pittsburg reclamation] and the labels/numbers [from Altoona], giving them predominate space behind the Biggo’s main level sign, the elevator walls, on the hostess station, and surrounding booth seating.
The sports bar has local Texas ingredients prepared in unexpected ways and some familiar ways too. Chicken wings, loaded nachos, a giant pretzel, guac and chips to Texas caviar served with tortillas and bison chili. Entrees include chicken and potatoes or chicken and waffles to Texas wild boar Bolognese with pasta and red-fish with corn and succotash. There are various and changing draft beer selections on each level and crafted cocktails featuring spirits from local and small craft distilleries.
Seating options are numerous inside Biggo’s, ranging from the large central bar, to cushy chair/sofa combinations, to high-top tables, to semi-private booths and group boxes, to a long line of soft chairs facing the two level televisions and a smaller, boutique-like second level bar. Each area is accented with a mixture of bleacher planks adorning the walls.
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:
- 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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- On our glue line, each wear layer was carefully adhered to a FSC Baltic Birch plywood substrate.
- 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.
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!