Creating Natural Edge Wood Slabs from Reclaimed Urban Trees
Wood From the Hood receives tons (between 400 – 600 tons) of logs each year that have been removed by the city of Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs due to construction, disease, and weather damage. Most of the logs are mill into dimensional lumber, but the nicest and largest (usually between 36” – 76” in diameter) are “slabbed” creating boards that have a natural edge on both sides. These slabs are perfect for creating the commercial and residential tables that Wood From the Hood is known for. (You can view some of our custom projects here.)
Since all our logs come from an urban setting, we frequently find metal in them. It may be from someone using a nail to hang a garage sale sign on a boulevard tree or an eye screw that someone used to hang a tree swing from or a steel cable that was wrapped around a tree as a dog tie out. Whatever the reason this metal is often forgotten, and the tree heals around it and keeps growing.
Some of those trees end up in our Minneapolis log yard and we go to great lengths to ensure that our saw blade don’t hit that metal. We visually inspect each log and then double check the log after each cut with a metal detector. Despite our best efforts we still frequently hit metal dulling or completely damaging our blades. (We have a great display of some of the things we have found inside trees in our Minneapolis warehouse if you want to come take a look.)
Once a log is cut into slabs they are restacked and allowed to air dry for 9 – 18 months or until the moisture content falls below 20%. Once the slabs hit the >20% moisture content mark they are loaded into one of our kilns and slowly dried down to between 6% -8%. Depending on the thickness of the slabs this process can take between 8 and 10 weeks.
Once the drying process is complete the slabs are brought into our warehouse where they are individually loaded onto our surfacing table to remove the rough sawn surface and flatten each side. Then each slab is measured, photographed, and inventoried before being loaded onto our website for sale or used for one of our custom designs. All in the process of turning reclaimed urban timbers into natural edge slabs takes about two years.
Forecasting sales and design treads two years in advance can be pretty difficult at times but after 14 years in the Urban Lumber business Wood From the Hood has gotten pretty good at it.
For assistance picking out the perfect slab for your project or to set up an appointment with our design team please reach out through the contact page on our website.