Many designers and their products are inspired by nature, but what about those who incorporate real natural materials into their work? At Urban Hardwoods in the northwest neighborhoods of Seattle, Washington, hazardous and unhealthy trees are given new life in the form of handcrafted dining tables, desks, benches and more. The most unique thing about this smaller yet growing furniture company is that the salvaging, milling, drying, design and fabrication is all done one tree, one log and one table at a time.
The idea of the Urban Hardwoods originated from seeing logs floating down the river and wanting to repurpose the unwanted wood instead. By making connections with local tree services in the surrounding Seattle area, Urban Hardwoods salvages otherwise wasted trees and gives them a second life as high quality, one-of-a-kind pieces.
After being harvested, the wood from each tree dries for around two years in a warehouse before the company molds it into something new.
Most of Urban Hardwood’s woodworkers have a background in art and design and each has perfected their own way of celebrating a tree’s best features, such as the shape of its living edge, a funky knot or the grain pattern. Like cracking open a geode, each tree holds a surprise inside that is simply waiting to reveal itself from underneath its rough exterior. See how the company that gives nature a new home breaks down below.
- 90 percent of Urban Hardwoods’ salvaged materials are sourced within 20 miles of Seattle
- 4 billion usable feet of material culled from urban areas in the US each year
- 46 feet - length of the biggest conference table Urban Hardwoods has produced to date
- 540 trees salvaged since 2012
- 1948 logs salvaged since 2012
- 12 - wood varieties (tree species) available
- 50-80 years - typical age of salvaged trees
- 5200 lbs - weight of a 12’ long, 36” diameter oak log
- 8 - number of full-time woodworkers at UH
- 150,000 - board feet of lumber in the warehouse
Just like each tree and piece of furniture it forms into has a unique story to tell, so do the craftsmen behind them. Learn more about Urban Hardwoods and general manager Bryan Reed in our Maker Monday series.
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