Living in the Pacific Northwest instills a bioregional pride. We have the best forests, most beautiful coastline, rich river ecosystems and great homegrown beer, wine and food. It’s no secret that Native Americans sustained for millennia from the bounty that is provided by the forests of the Northwest. What is a secret is the abundance of hardwood species that are naturally growing in these forests.
With forests that are filled with Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Red Alder (Alnus rubra), Myrtlewood (Umbellularia californica), Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana), and Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), it’s a wonder anyone would specify or build with a hardwood that was grown elsewhere.
However, hunting for hardwoods in the Pacific Northwest, which is dominated by conifers, is a challenge. Hardwood trees in our forests are unfortunately cut and left to rot, burned in a slash pile, or chipped for paper mills. Very few ever get to display their beautiful grain pattern and natural wood tone.
With this in mind I drove to Oakland, in southern Oregon's Umpqua Valley, to get a first-hand look at one of our sources of these great wood products, Oregon Hardwood Company. John Rideout of Oregon Hardwood Company was kind enough to take me for a tour of their facility.
We met in the sorting facility and perused some beautiful Walnut lumber that had been salvaged from an agricultural use. Early settlers brought Walnut to Oregon, so it’s not a native species, but the milk chocolate swirling grain pattern stands out amongst other native species.
John walked me from building to building explaining the complexities of milling and drying Pacific Madrone, Oregon White and Big Leaf Maple. Much of the lumber units we inspected were destined for our warehouse in SE Portland.
John filled my head with so much knowledge that the next day I had lots of questions for Rod Jacobs of Unique Woods in Elmira, near Eugene. Unique Woods provides us with FSC Big Leaf Maple slabs from an FSC forestland near Rainier, Oregon, and other hardwoods that have been rescued from a chip facility.
Rod explains the dilemma for most loggers in western Oregon well. He told me that none of the larger mills that do the majority of purchasing will buy native hardwood logs, so those logs usually end up in the massive log decks of a chip facility near his house, where they are destined to become paper.
After touring Rod’s kiln drying operation we drove to the chip facility to scrounge for some choice Madrone, Oregon White Oak and Big Leaf Maple logs. On a cold winter morning we made our way through the log decks spray painting those logs that met his specification. He showed us how to tell if there was going to be spalting and burling in the log. We were basically dumpster diving for logs that would make a beautiful desk or dining room table, saving the most incredible hardwood logs from becoming paper.
Once Rod was satisfied that our hunt was successful I thanked him for the species and product knowledge that he provided me. The next customer that asks me where our hardwoods come from I will be able to share that knowledge and connect them to a place in our region where the wood originates. You can’t say the same for other surface materials like stone or hardwoods from another region.
"Exquisite" is the word a local designer used to describe these plywood panels when he was privy to a sneak peek last week.
We're happy to introduce them to you this month and share the amazing story behind them:
The walnut veneers used in these panels are from a single large tree that was salvaged in Douglas County, Oregon. This antique tree was brought to Oregon by some of our state's first settlers, who hoped to recreate the familiar landscape of the East Coast and reap an annual bounty of nuts. More than a century later, the walnut tree succumbed to old age and had to be removed from the property before it caused damage or injury.
This one special log yielded beautiful veneers that we pressed onto FSC Certified, NAUF cores (also manufactured in Oregon).
Certification: FSC Certified, NAUF
Available thicknesses: 1/4", 1/2", and 3/4" (1/4" on MDF, 1/2" and 3/4" on plywood)
Panel size: 4' x 8'
Veneers: 1/40" thick
Grade: Both sides with "A" grade veneers: Book-matched planks with vertical grain on one side, random-matched planks on other side
Please contact us for pricing and samples.
Brand new this week: Walnut butcher block made from locally salvaged hardwood. These slabs feature exceptionally rich color, interesting grain patterns, and decades of performance!
Slabs are available in 6' and 8' lengths. They are sized to fit standard kitchen cabinetry: 26 1/2" deep and 1 1/2" thick.
This butcher block is made with FDA-approved adhesives that contain no added urea formaldehyde. Slabs are unfinished and are designed to be cut and installed on-site following a one-week period of acclimation.
We recommend a food-safe natural oil, such as linseed. Walnut oil is also a good--and quite apt--choice!
Also talk to us about custom sizes and patterns for your unique projects!
Autumn always reminds us of the generosity of our region's agricultural lands through the bounty of our crops and the promise of nourishment through the winter.
The forests surrounding our cities are no different: They generously provide the wood for building our shelters and keeping us warm and protected through the colder seasons.
This is why we are pleased to offer locally grown and made Butcher Block counter tops made from salvaged and sustainably harvested, local wood.
By sourcing our wood from salvage sources and respectful, small-scale harvesting, we are paying our respects to the forests that sustain life for so many species, humans included.
- Pcific Madrone
- FSC Big Leaf Maple
- Oregon White Oak
- FSC Doug Fir
- Blue Pine
- Restoration Juniper
- Willamette Valley Walnut
Our solid wood Butcher Blocks are:
- In stock and ready for installation
- Kiln-dried, solid hardwood
- Made from FDA-approved adhesives
- 1 1/2" x 26 1/2", ready to be trimmed to fit your space
- Lengths in 4', 6', 8' and 10'
- Custom dimensions available
Photos, from top: Oregon White Oak butcher block features a unique grain pattern reminiscent of wine country; a Madrone butcher block counter top provides a perfect warm dining surface at a restaurant in Portland: a Restoration Juniper butcher block makes its way from our warehouse to a new home.
Our friends at EcoPDX deserve some time in the spotlight for their hard work transforming locally harvested hardwoods into beautiful, heirloom-quality furniture. They're big fans of walnut and alder but have also mastered exceptional pieces in Oregon White Oak.
Top right: Modern meets classic with this boxy, broad walnut coffee table
Below: A walnut table and bench display gorgeous joinery and silken grain
Bottom: Oregon White Oak paired with steel tubes for a modern take on a media stand.
It's Michael Appreciation Day at Sustainable Northwest Wood. Michael is our awesome and talented warehouse manager who is always building us pretty things out of our wood: Samples, flooring displays, and now this beautiful table.
Michael gathered scraps of our Willamette Valley Walnut, Big Leaf Maple, Myrtle, and Doug fir and laminated strips together to make the butcher-block-style top, which was then sanded and finished with Osmo Polyx-Oil.
The legs are made out of Clear Vertical Grain Doug fir with a coat of Osmo One Coat Only in Rosewood, which adds depth and dimension while still allowing the grain of the fir to pop.
We love our new table, the perfect place for our juniper planter and business cards and the perfect way to showcase our local, sustainable woods. Thanks, Michael, for your good work!
Here's a larger shot for your ogling pleasure:
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:
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.