Urban Hardwoods News

An Enduring Collaboration With Nature

July 6, 2016 | By urbanhardwoods


The beauty and character of our handcrafted furniture begins with our extraordinary materials. The Pacific Northwest, with its long growing season and plentiful rain, is one of the world’s most ideal climates for hardwood trees. Our region’s urban trees often fare better than trees in the forest, benefiting from summer irrigation and less competition. City trees also show the evidence of human interaction. Pruning scars, nails, fencing, and even bullets leave their unique character in the rapidly growing wood. We mill our trees into slabs, as opposed to conventional commercial lumber, revealing dramatic whorls and arches in the wood grain, as distinctive as fingerprints.

Preventing waste is one of Urban Hardwoods’ founding principles. In the past, when these beautiful urban trees would fall in windstorms or were infected with Dutch Elm disease, too often they’d end up as firewood or be fed to the wood chipper. Today we work closely with local arborists to ensure these felled or hazardous trees are carefully salvaged to maximize usable wood. For us, craftsmanship and artistry start at sourcing, and are infused into every step of a salvaged tree’s journey from milling all the way to stunningly realized tables, desks, benches, and sculptural wall pieces.

Unlike most contemporary furniture makers, we handle every aspect of our process, from milling and curing to design, fabrication, and finishing. This gives us a unique flexibility and a level of quality control that is rare in our industry. Doing our own milling allows us to preserve the tree’s natural beauty and cut our logs with an eye for slab shape and furniture design potential. We air-dry every slab for up to three years, depending on the species.

Part of honoring our trees is telling their stories. Every tree we mill is carefully labeled by species and neighborhood of origin, giving customers and interior designers the option of building multiple pieces of custom furniture from a single tree or a specific location. With every piece we build you can know where the tree grew and be assured the material was harvested sustainably.

We call upon our woodworkers to be more than just craftsmen. We ask them to consider a slab’s color, shape, edge, and character of grain. Our low-impact approach to design and craft is a true collaboration with nature. We build to the inherent grandeur of our material. This, coupled with our deep skill and experience in slab woodworking, lead to finished pieces of enduring quality and beauty.

We invite you to experience our work for yourself here on our site or at one of our showrooms.