New book on using wood ‘waste’

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, in partnership with the Baltimore Wood Project, has created the Urban Wood Workbook designed for woodworkers, municipal managers and other potential users to rethink the value of what many consider to be urban wood ‘waste’.

The authors state that the workbook “is designed to be a practical reference for practitioners,” including municipal managers, tree care professionals, sawyers, woodworkers and other urban wood stakeholders.

Specific and real-world examples of how different types of stakeholders can approach planning and expect to benefit from using urban wood are included in the section, ‘Applying the Urban Wood Flows Model.’

The model examines the urban wood supply chain including identifying sources of salvageable urban wood materials through using them to produce value-added wood products. The workbook also includes tips for finding local sources of urban wood.

The core strategy of the Baltimore Project is diverting wood that is often wasted and capturing its value. This includes wood from the deconstruction of abandoned row homes and “fresh cut” wood from urban tree operations.

“The value of most urban wood is based on characteristics not found in rural forests: species diversity, large diameter, or character flaws,” notes the foreword to the workbook.

Wood harvested in Baltimore is primarily valued for its story and aesthetic and is being used to create excellent furnishings and architectural enhancements. In this way, the wood captured in these efforts compliments the wood being produced in rural settings.

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