How Sustainable is Your Wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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How Sustainable is Your Wood?



Itís virtually impossible to build anything without wood. Houses, furniture, flooring, even the tools used to craft other items are made partially from wood. But as accustomed as we are to seeing trees everywhere, we need to remember that our forests canít always keep up with our demand for wood. Therefore, using sustainable wood is important. Sustainable wood ensures that we can keep building, the forests will keep growing and our furry woodland creature friends and the overall environment stays in balance.

What Is Sustainable Wood?

Sustainable wood is wood that is grown primarily for consumption. In other words, the trees are grown so they can be used to build things. The Forest Stewardship Council oversees 100 million acres of forest in the United States and Canada to ensure they are managed to its environmental and social standards. For example, as trees are consumed additional trees are planted, so there is a continuous supply of trees without disturbing the natural forest. This has helped cut down on the problem of deforestation. Thatís a good thing, since less trees means less oxygen, more carbon dioxide and polluted waterways from soil erosion, none of which bodes well for any living creature, great or small.

What Kind of Wood is Sustainable?

Any wood could become sustainable, but the FSC concentrates on the major trees that produce the most popular woods in manufacturing, of which there are five: Ash, black cherry, mahogany, maple and oak . Weíve listed a bit about each wood below including their most popular uses.

Ash
With a natural hue ranges from a pale white to a buttery yellow, white ash is especially popular in the production of sports equipment. Baseball bats, pool cues, and hockey sticks are crafted from this wood. Another popular use for white ash is handles. Shovels, hand tools and handles on knives or other carving tools are often made from white ash.

Black Cherry
Because of its rich cherry red finish, black cherry can be found in several places in a home, from the floor to the cabinets. Itís used to create rich looking furniture and paneling, doors and trim and itís also one of the more favored choices for the makers of Martin guitars.

Mahogany
This wood has two distinct colors, brown and red. Both are used for furniture such as dining room sets and tables, but red mahogany is also used as decking around pools and hot tubs because it is water and moisture resistant. The brown has a deep chocolate hue, while the red takes on a merlot color.

Maple
Maple is the everymanís wood. Itís useful for practically any building need. Paneling, flooring, doors, trim or furniture, this medium brown to dark brown wood can be used to craft practically anything.

Oak
Like maple, oak is also a popular wood for woodworkers and builders alike. There are several hues of oak and even the natural color can be tweaked with the right stain, so the possibilities for your projects are almost endless.

How to Know if the Wood is Sustainable Wood

Wood that is produced in a sustainable forest carries the label from the FSC. If you see that label, you can be sure the forest where the wood came from is being replenished.
Using sustainable wood is just a smart thing to do. We sometimes donít realize how dependent we are on trees for our very survival. If we want to keep thriving, then trees need to thrive as well. Sustainable wood allows us to keep building and keep living. Itís a win-win for everyone.

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 11:48 AM
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As far as I know all wood is "sustainable." Some species just take longer to grow than others.

Are there any woods out there that are becoming extinct?

George
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
As far as I know all wood is "sustainable." Some species just take longer to grow than others.

Are there any woods out there that are becoming extinct?

George
This site has some good information on this topic.
https://www.nwf.org/How-to-Help/Live...sing/Wood.aspx

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post #4 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 12:44 PM
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I sold wood flooring at one time. The oak we had was from Russia as they had millions of acres of trees in eastern Russia.

My wife gives sound advice. 99% sound and 1% advice.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 01:36 PM
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How about the bugs and the tree diseases? Next to nothing is done for prophylaxis. I can spell Dendroctonus. I can spell Dutch Elm Disease. And the others.
Our woods are stamped COFI = Council of Forest Industries.
Reforestation in British Columbia is NOT debatable.
It is the law and your work will be inspected, too.

Some exotic hardwood species are at risk (eg the Rosewoods) from over harvest and illegal harvest.
Some of those have a density > 1 so to float, 2 other trees are cut and the 3 logs are chained together.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-11-2017, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
How about the bugs and the tree diseases? Next to nothing is done for prophylaxis. I can spell Dendroctonus. I can spell Dutch Elm Disease. And the others.
Our woods are stamped COFI = Council of Forest Industries.
Reforestation in British Columbia is NOT debatable.
It is the law and your work will be inspected, too.

Some exotic hardwood species are at risk (eg the Rosewoods) from over harvest and illegal harvest.
Some of those have a density > 1 so to float, 2 other trees are cut and the 3 logs are chained together.
Thank you for that. I found a resource link here.
http://www.cofi.org/

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post #7 of 9 Old 01-12-2017, 01:39 PM
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Cricket, you can't be expected to know everything woody. Retiring away from the city with my dendrology/wood background, even more of my friends and neighbors here
are involved in the forest industry. It's cutting permits, log sales, all the nitty-gritty stuff on the ground which never makes the news.

To much of the rest of Canada, there's a notion that western red cedar is coastal. Particularly the wood carving community.
Wrong.
Just last fall, some Alberta carvers showed up to collect carving wood (2-axle flat deck trailer). They had figured out that the good stuff is
available less than 3 hrs west of Jasper. Spent a couple hours in my carving shop. They really did take home some beautiful cedar in 16' pieces.
Best stuff here is 24" shake blocks and 64" x 5x5 posts, all split, no saw.

Summers see the tree planting crews to re-populate the cut blocks.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-24-2017, 01:57 PM
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Look Deeper into the word

"Sustainability" is a very popular and somewhat jargonistic term nowadays, and therefore we need to be somewhat skeptical of how it is used. Many lumber products are labeled as "sustainably harvested," "managed forest product,"harvested with sustainable practices," etc.... What do these phrases mean? I have no idea, because they are not directly connected to national and internationally recognized/sanctioned standards.

FSC is one such recognized organization with published standards and practices that includes VERIFICATION and "chain of custody" tracking. Verification is key to sustainable practices, so if any woodworker cares about future generations, the future of the environment, and therefore our wood supply, then it is a great idea to pressure and patronize vendors who provide real, verifiable, sustainable wood products.

Furthermore, this act alone will help sustain our own North American forest products services (jobs and rural communities). As a corollary, much of the exotic hardwoods we love to work with come from fragile, at risk rainforests, fragile countries which are prone to peddling in black market products, and change hands at so many instances along the supply chain that it is nearly impossible to trace its legitimate provenance -- in other words, using exotics is likely going to make us parties to serious environmental and social degradation. Sorry, but the truth isn't always pretty.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-25-2017, 12:17 AM
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In British Columbia, we do not wait for national and international gratification.
Reforestation is the law. It isn't negotiable as I have said before.
Our annual allowable cut is measured in the millions of cubic meters.
Vendors have very little to do with providing any sort of harvest justification
or diligence regarding reforestation.

At the same time, I agree that detailed inspection of Pacific Rim hardwood supply is critical..
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