My Viable Adventure
Because Florida has a mild climate trees from other continents grow very nicely here. Most of these trees are not grown as a commercial product, but are planted as ornamentals. These trees are found in streetscapes, city and state lands, and a large portion of them grow in individual yards. As the years pass, the tree may anchor a fence row, or a clothes line, provides a place to post your yard sale or lost pet sign. Then, finally it is home to Jonny’s tree house.
With all these nails, screws, rocks, cement patches, and wires embedded in these valuable urban trees, not many saw mills see the value in milling this contaminated wood. Fortunately Florida Crotch Wood Inc. is NOT like many sawmills. We do mill Urban Trees. In February of 2011 I started an association with Pete Richardson and his company, Viable Lumber. Pete’s idea was to form a volunteer organization that would “Save Trees” from the land-fill, mulch machine, and burn piles. Volunteers take those "Saved Trees” and turn them into useable wood products for many to enjoy. I completely support these objectives and enjoy contributing my part to make this happen.
I know when cutting Urban Lumber there is a possibility of hitting foreign objects that can damage a saw blade. To minimize this danger, we cut at a slower speed making it more enjoyable and safer for all. The first time I cut "Saved Trees" with Viable Lumber and the volunteers we hit nails and wire; oh, the joys of cutting Urban Lumber!
Cutting Big Slabs from these trees continues to be a positive learning experience for all of us. I’ve had the opportunity to cut species of trees that don’t grow natively in my North Florida (Gainesville) area. My greatest joy from this experience has come from working with the 100 like minded volunteers. I have put together a photographic slideshow of some of the trees we have saved. Pete calls it WOOD PORN. Because we cut 2 and 3 inch thick slabs, you won’t see a lot of finished products made from recently cut trees in 2012. These thickly sawed slabs take years to dry out completely. Depending on the species, as much as a year or more per inch to dry out.
I will add images to the Artist Gallery in this website as they become available. Please keep in mind that each and every one of these trees was headed for a different wasteful ending, and any part saved, is a part - not wasted! What a disgrace that would be for one of nature’s most beautiful gifts (ornamental lumber) to be wasted, if not for these volunteers. A few forward thinking, hardworking, like minded individuals can make a valuable difference. Trust me when I say, "There is no such a thing as FREE WOOD"; ask a Viable Lumber volunteer!
Owner, Florida Crotch Wood, Inc.