January 27, 2012

FSC lumber - your sustainable, affordable option, in stock and ready to go!


Looking for a reliable, easy, affordable source for lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council? 

Look no further than Sustainable Northwest Wood! Our large inventory of high-quality FSC dimensional lumber is kept in Southeast Portland, just around the corner from McCoy Millworks. 

We've got 2x, 4x, and 6x Douglas fir, as well as pressure-treated lumber (we use copper azole) and many thicknesses and grades of plywood (no added urea formaldehyde).

And, because it's coming from us, you know that it's all locally sourced, coming from sustainably managed forests in Oregon, Southern Washington, and Northern California.

Support our local economy by buying locally grown and milled wood -- this is the best way to keep those dollars in the Pacific Northwest, where they belong. 

And be sure to choose FSC certified wood whenever you can.  Here's why.

January 19, 2012

Drool-worthy walnut flooring has a chocolate-and-vanilla swirl


Our new Willamette Valley Walnut flooring is full of character and panache.  Or should we say ganache -- its chocolatey swirls keep making us think of sweet treats!

Milled from beetle damaged trees salvaged from backyards in the Willamette Valley, this kiln-dried solid flooring is super durable and will last generations.  We offer it in a blend of 4", 5", and 6" face widths. 

And, because we work directly with the mills, we offer our Willamette Valley Walnut flooring at a fabulous price. 

Limited quantities available.  Please call for pricing and samples: (503) 239-9663.

Here's a full-size photo to whet your appetite:


January 17, 2012

A perfect match - flat-sawn fir completes this historic renovation


Craftsman Design and Renovation, an award-winning Portland design-and-build firm, recently completed this beautiful historic kitchen remodel.  One of the project's challenges was finding flat-sawn fir that would match the home's existing original wood trim.

Luckily, the design team at Craftsman called Sustainable Northwest Wood, and we were able to provide them with the authentic flat-sawn look they needed to perfectly match the existing trim (see photos below).

However, they didn't want just any anonymous commodity lumber for this project -- they specified super-selectively harvested, FSC Pure wood from a Girl Scout camp just 20 miles outside of the city. 

This FSC certified wood was cut through restorative forestry overseen by the folks at Trout Mountain Forestry.

Photos by Pete Eckert for Craftsman Design and Renovation.  


January 16, 2012

Live edge slabs add a natural touch


Live edge slabs showcase wood's organic, unpredictable beauty by leaving one side of the piece in its natural state. 

This style is perfect for incorporating an element of surprise to an otherwise predictable surface, adding specialness or a touch of whimsy to benches, countertops, bars, and tables. 

Live edge applications can be achieved using numerous species of trees.  The bark can be left on or sanded off, depending on the degree of authenticity desired. 

Sustainable Northwest Wood stocks live edge slabs including:

  • Big Leaf Maple, sourced from the Willamette Valley
  • Walnut, urban and backyard salvage from the Willamette Valley
  • Juniper, sourced from grassland restoration projects in Eastern Oregon
  • Campground Blue Pine, beetle-kill trees salvaged from public parks and campgrounds
  • Zena Doug Fir, harvested from an oak grove restoration project in Rickreall

Give us a call or stop by to see current inventory!

Looking for inspiration?  This blog post offers great ideas for incorporating live edge wood into kitchen countertops ranging from super-sleek to very rustic.  This post on Apartment Therapy shares beautiful photos of live edge slabs used for dining tables.

Here are a few photos of our live edge slabs used in recent projects. From top left :
Live Edge Big Leaf Maple by Windfall Lumber
Live Edge Big Leaf Maple by Hammer & Hand
Live Edge Juniper bench with bark
Live Edge Campground Blue Pine by FP Design


January 10, 2012

Sustainable Northwest Wood keeps rural mills humming


From Sustainable Business Oregon, November 18, 2011
By Christina Williams

It makes sense that in Oregon, a state known for its forests and wood products, that builders would want to work with local materials when they pick up their hammers.

But until Sustainable Northwest Wood opened its doors last year, there wasn’t a good way to link builders with the small wood producers from around the Northwest who could deliver lumber that was both locally raised and sustainably produced.

Now the Portland-based distributor is becoming a model for other regions of the country as a way to keep small rural businesses afloat while providing a valuable service for urban builders.

And it’s not just about doing the right thing. Sustainable Northwest Wood, which was incubated at the nonprofit Sustainable Northwest before being spun off, is ahead of schedule on revenue project, despite a lackluster market for wood products.

“The market has been treating us surprisingly well,” said Ryan Temple, president of Sustainable Northwest Wood. “We’re up almost 200 percent from last year to this year and we’re running the business in the black. We got there a little sooner than we thought we would.”

Green Hammer’s Stephen Aiguier and the Build Local Alliance were also instrumental in Sustainable Northwest Wood’s launch.

The business works with 64 locally owned mills and wood products businesses around the region. Its focus is making speciality wood — varieties like juniper, white oak and madrone — available to Portland builders. Temple places orders that these suppliers can process when the mill would otherwise be idle. He advises them on everything from what will sell to how much to charge for it.

“Our success as a distribution yard is wholly dependent on the success of the small forest suppliers,” Temple said.

A lean operation, Sustainable Northwest Wood has three employees and contracts with other Portland businesses to custom finish wood as needed.

Its June to July fiscal year closed out 2011 with $750,000 in sales. Temple expects that to nearly double to $1.2 million in the current fiscal year.

Green building has been a bright spot in what has otherwise been a pretty lousy year for the building industry, a development that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Temple frequently fields calls from the old guard of the lumber sector, asking how Sustainable Northwest Wood is able to source 100 percent of its inventory in wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Innovations in the green building supply chain will spread quickly once word gets out that there’s money to be made.

As Temple put it: “Eventually what we’re doing that’s innovative moves into the mainstream. From a mission point of view and from a forest and community sustainability point of view, that’s great. From a business point of view it’s a challenge.”

@SustainableBzOR | | 503.219.3438

January 10, 2012

Doug fir butcher block really pops at Sizzle Pie's new shop


What's hotter that the pizza at Sizzle Pie's new location on West Burnside?

The countertops!

The inimitable Garth Klipper at G. Steel Design Build built them out of Sustainable Northwest Wood's FSC Pure Douglas fir butcher block. 

The wood was sourced from the Mountaindale Outdoor Program Center, a Girl Scout property in North Plains, Oregon, where it was super-selectively harvested by Trout Mountain Forestry as part of a campaign to help restore old growth conditions to the forest. 

We love how the butcher block graces nearly every horizontal surface in the shop, from the cashier counter at the front to each of the dining tables and counters. 

Our sustainably-sourced fir was also used for trim elements throughout the space. 

Next time you're in the area, stop by for a delicious slice and check out this beautiful new installation of sustainable, local wood!


January 05, 2012

A Deck Cut from Paradise


From The Oregonian, October 30, 2011
Blog post by Chris Wille, aka EcoBeavers

Here's a link to the original post.

Our search for sustainably harvested wood for our Beavercreek eco-home has led us to some wild and inspiring stories. Here's one...

The Nature Conservancy, a smart, nonprofit, ecosystem-saving organization, owns and manages the 7,600-acre Ellsworth Creek Preserve in Washington. The preserve connects to the equal-size Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, home to seabirds such as brown pelicans, the marbled murrelet, wintering Pacific brant, head-bobbing shorebirds that poke for food in the mudflats, and countless critters that live in the rich mosaic of salt- and freshwater marshes.

Nearly pristine Willapa Bay is world famous for oysters and runs with chum, chinook and coho headed up-creek to spawn. The combined protected areas host bear, elk, cougar, flying squirrels, bats and their wild associates. Bald eagles patrol the skies; Pacific tree frogs chirp in the underbrush.

As The Nature Conservancy (TNC) says, Ellsworth Creek is all about "thinking big." All but 300 acres of the preserve have been logged over, high-graded, degraded and abused. TNC has developed a restoration plan, thinking long-term and letting nature do much of the regrowing and repair. Over the next century, loggers under TNC's direction will carefully thin parts of this coastal rainforest, extract any non-native trees and restore the forest's natural productivity and diversity.

The wood that has been thinned from the preserve is sold to discerning brokers such as Sustainable Northwest Wood -- and the profits provide revenue for the restoration work. Streams are being rehabilitated, and the patches of old growth are safeguarded. Some trees are centuries old, already towering adults before any Europeans passed through the area.

The preserve's recovery and management plan has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). By following the FSC guidelines, managers can take commercial quantities of wood from a forest without compromising its ecological integrity. In fact, TNC is showing that commercial logging can even help restore a forest.

Biologist Tom Kollasch, Willapa Program Director for TNC, hopes that the project will provide a blueprint that can be used to restore other forests around the world, and in this article explains how selectively logging trees in old-growth forests can actually help revive marbled murrelets, a threatened seabird.

TNC is no stranger to radical restorations and has used logging, fire, cattle and other blunt instruments to recover ecosystems across the country. Ellsworth Creek is the first TNC holding in the West to earn FSC certification.

We're delighted to be among the first buyers of the certified wood from the preserve. It's beautiful cedar and carries a motivating tale of successful conservation. We love standing on our cedar deck and thinking of its connection to marbled murrelets, cougars and elk.

January 05, 2012

Local, sustainable, affordable wood flooring - Yes, it is possible!


When it's time to start thinking about new flooring for your home renovation projects, Sustainable Northwest Wood has the solution for you.  Our solid wood flooring is made from locally-grown trees that are harvested sustainably.  Because we work directly with the lumber mills, these options are also affordable and promise decades of beauty and durability.

Here's what we keep in stock at our warehouse in Southeast Portland:


Oregon White Oak - Oregon White Oak is the Pacific Northwest's only native species of oak tree.  This super-durable flooring comes from trees harvested in the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys and is either FSC certified or comes from members of the Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities partnership.  We love it with mixed face widths of 3", 5", and 7", but custom sizes are available, too.

Cascade Farmhouse Maple - Western Big Leaf Maple is ideally suited for flooring and offers warm gold tones and years of durability.  Our Cascade Farmhouse maple flooring is FSC certified and comes with a 5" face.  It is milled from trees that are harvested just south of the Puget Sound in Washington.

Zigzag Doug Fir - Our Zigzag Doug fir is perfect for matching the historic fir flooring in the Northwest's old homes.  This FSC Pure flooring is milled from trees that are super-selectively cut at the Homestead Girl Scout Camp on Mount Hood's western slope, just 40 miles east of Portland.  It offers a 3 1/4" face width and is Clear Vertical Grain.

Antique Doug Fir - This FSC Pure flooring comes from Forest Grove, where it was selectively cut as part of a watershed restoration program.  It has a flat grain and is perfect for farmhouse, rustic, and other styles where a less formal, more authentic look is desired.  It comes with a 5 1/4" face.  Expect a few knots and lots of Doug Fir personality with this choice!

All of our flooring is kiln-dried, with an end-matched tongue-and-groove profile for a traditional nail-down installation, and comes bundled with lengths up to 12'.  We recommend a natural oil finish for our hardwood floors, which allows the homeowner to easily maintain the floor without needing to move out and hire a professional to refinish it a few years down the road.

Please call or email us for pricing and current stock.

December 28, 2011

Dreaming of next year's garden? Think juniper!


Garden enthusiasts everywhere sooth their wintertime blues by poring over the pages of next year's seed catalogues, dreaming of what to put where and the beautiful blooms and bounty that their gardens will produce once warm weather returns.

As you contemplate the shape that your garden will take in the coming year, don't forget to consider the materials that hold it all together!  Juniper is an ideal replacement for the pressure-treated lumber that is often used to build raised garden beds, arbors, fences, and other backyard essentials.  Juniper lasts longer outside that pressure-treated fir, plus it is chemical-free, so you won't be introducing questionable substances into your soil. 

And, of course, your purchase of juniper supports family-run mills in Eastern Oregon and a constructive use for this intrusive species.

Sustainable Northwest Wood keeps juniper 6" x 6" and 2" x 6" landscaping timbers in stock and can quickly and efficiently help you source other dimensions, too.  Be sure to view the juniper photos in our Gallery and visit our Juniper page for more information about this durable, beautiful, and sustainable wood!

November 29, 2011

It's official! New product launch of our exclusive Zigzag Doug Fir


It's official! Sustainable Northwest Wood is now stocking our exclusive Zigzag Doug Fir.

Zigzag Doug Fir is FSC Pure and is sourced from the small town of Zigzag, 40 miles east of Portland on the southern slope of Mount Hood.

This clear vertical grain Doug Fir is selectively harvested from the Creighton Homestead, a 35-acre historic property owned by the Girl Scouts that is used as a scout camp and educational facility.  The forest is managed by Portland-based Trout Mountain Forestry.  The logs were cut and processed by a small, family-owned mill just south of Portland.

The Zigzag forest is a dense mixed conifer forest that supports a broad range of plant and animal life, including old growth Doug Fir, Western Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple, Alder, and many other species of flora and fauna (see photo at left, taken from the trail that winds through the property). Trout Mountain is careful to manage it in a way that promotes forest health through strategic thinning and allows many generations of each tree species to flourish.

The trees in this parcel of forest have never experienced a clear cut.  A forest fire cleaned out much of the growth in the early twentieth century, a few years before the Creighton family settled on the land in 1912 and built their homes and outbuildings out of wood felled on site.  Since then, the forest has regrown and now the majority of its population is nearing a hundred years old. A few trees have been cut every so often, and stumps in varying states of decay can be seen, many of which have become nurse logs for new trees.  

The most remarkable aspect of a trip down the homestead nature trail, part of which comprises the old Barlow Toll Road (at right), is how hard it is to see that logging has occurred.  While the stumps remain, the forest is still intact, and its health and diversity is evident with every bend in the path.

Our kiln-dried, Clear Vertical Grain Zigzag Doug Fir is stocked in 1x6 surfaced trim and 1x6 rough blanks. 

We also stock kiln-dried Clear Vertical Grain flooring with the historically accurate face width of 3 1/4".

Check out our Photo Gallery for more images and information from our recent visit to the forest.