How it works: Tree to Table

A tree falls in Washington…

There are many causes – safety of the surrounding area, disease, a bad storm, to name a few – and over the years we’ve taken in trees felled for these and many other reasons. Since opening our doors in 2006, we've salvaged thousands of trees from the greater Seattle area. Most of the trees we work with now; however, are sourced from locally-based small forest landowners as well as rural and urban salvage.salvaged logsWe worked with NW Trek to fabricate logs taken from the park into benches for Kids' Trek

We take in the logs at our log yard in Graham where they are sorted, tagged and milled to 2” thick slabs. Our mill and log yard is managed by David Kienholz, a man who is well versed in the processing of wood products from sawmill through to kiln drying.

Once the logs are slabbed and stickered, a process in which narrow strips of wood are placed between each slab to allow for adequate air flow, they are lifted into one of four kilns where they are dried to the proper moisture content based on the humidity and atmosphere of the finished product’s final destination.

slabbed and stickered wood

This step is key to ensuring the moisture content of the table will be stable for the environment and not crack once in place. We take extra steps in the drying and the fabrication of all our products to allow for the natural movement of the wood, which gives us the confidence that what we create will last for many years to come.

Different species take different lengths of time to dry. Hardwoods such as Maple, Walnut and Ash take longer than softwoods like Cedar and Fir. The thickness of the slabs also makes a difference, as well as the environment where the finished piece will be installed. On average, our standard Maple stock spends six to eight weeks in our kilns. It is a fulltime job managing the kiln schedule, ensuring our inventory of requested slabs are dry and ready for fabrication, and our Graham team handles it well, even in the wet winter months that Washington offers.

wood table production

After leaving the kiln, our wood slabs make the short journey from Graham to our production facility in Sumner. With over 30,000 square feet of production space, we are equipped to handle large projects and rollouts while still crafting a quality product.

Our craftsmen and craftswomen dedicate their time to each table, working with the wood to bring out the best of what nature offers us in her trees. Each slab is glued, planed, filled and sanded before making its way to the finishing booth. Our crew works in teams though on average, each table has two pairs of hands on it. The weight of the materials alone requires it!

crafting wood tables

Once the table has been finish sanded, a process that involves sanding the surface then wetting the top to raise the grain before sanding it again, the top moves to our finishing department. Over the years we’ve created countless colors, developing our own proprietary standard offering as well matching client provided swatches and creating custom finishes for project specific pieces.

wood finishes

To us, finishing is more than just a protective topcoat. It is a conversation we have with the wood. It is a relationship that grows with each piece; further developing our knowledge and continually testing the limits of the material to deliver the most breathtaking results possible.

Once the tabletop is finished, our table moves to our logistics department where it is assembled and ready for delivery. 

commercial office red elm table

Every one of our tables makes its way through this time-consuming and quality-driven process to ensure a finished piece that will last. We take pride in our work, we love what we do and we celebrate each journey from tree to table.  

Comments

  • Posted by Cathy Well on

    Thanks, John. So interesting! and what gorgeous tables..
    Mom

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