Showing posts from November, 2011

Great Designs in Wood (18) - Metropol Parasol

Here's an interesting design in wood that is really out there. You can get the project details and some excellent pictures of the project at this site, which calls the Metropol Parasol the world's largest wooden structure, which it really isn't...but it's notable, anyway, in many respects.

J. Mayer. H.'s Metropol Parasol, Sevilla, Spain from Pedro Kok on Vimeo.

I found some interesting divergence in opinion about the structure in the comments following the pictures and description at the link above. Here are a few samples:

"How amazing! Stunning pictures and a great illustration of how to make a beautiful city even more attractive!"

"So much wood. Why must we destroy our forests for beauty, especially for a great modern building in a cultural focus. This seems quite perverse. It is a fantastic structure otherwise."

"This is the kind of art I hate. They wasted so many trees to build something completely pointless... They should have used all …

"The World's Most Environmentally-Friendly Raw Material"

Any idea what it might be? :-)

It's nice to see the pendulum of environmental education swinging back towards sensibility and stewardship. Twenty years ago paper and lumber companies felt compelled to defend the practice of timber harvesting, and students were being taught that "trees were living things, too". But our friends in Europe, especially Scandinavia, have always appreciated the natural value of timber and wood products, including for energy. Now, as we shared in previous green building posts such as this, their leadership in wood utilization and its role in design for sustainability are greatly needed, and much appreciated.

Tip AmountOption 1 $2.00 USDOption 2 $4.00 USDOption 3 $10.00 USD

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The wood stove is once again fired up and calling you to pay attention to it.

You sense an urge to make something out of wood for the season.

The short days call you outside to enjoy the chilly warmth of the sun riding low in the southern sky.

The trees, now bare of leaves, reveal hillsides and vistas that they have hidden safely from your eyes during the past three seasons. You notice trees that you never saw before, and marvel at their shapes that had been covered by their foliage. You begin to think of sources for next year's firewood.

You decide to split more wood even though you have enough for the season. The ax handle feels right in your hands at this time of year, and the cool air refreshes your lungs with every swing.

The crows watch you from the treetops, and mock you as you miss a split. You look up at them and wonder if they're really that smart. They laugh some more.

You walk around, noticing the bark and the stems of trees, and mentally checking them off in your …

Gibson and the Lacey Act, Explained

I just read the best explanation of the US government's proceedings against Gibson Guitar. If you are interested in the topic, and especially if you import wood or use products that are made from imported wood, you need to read it too. Written by Dan Meyer of the Hardwood Review, it lays out eight "lessons" that we in the wood products industry need to understand about the rapidly-changing world of the global wood trade.

Good Intentions Gone Wrong? Lacey Act Lessons from the Gibson Guitar Raid

In a related editorial, editor Chaille Brindley of Pallet Enterprise adds his own thoughts on the controversy that seems to have much larger implications than when it first brought wood products to the national consciousness a couple of months ago.

Don’t Fret Over It.... Gibson Guitar Case Raises Green Questions

My friends in the wood import/export business tell me that the issue of mislabeling wood imports, whether intentional or not, has been a cultural component of the business fo…

Housing the World

You may remember the post we had about the tall wooden buildings, and perhaps you were surprised, and wondering why, that wood buildings were making an architectural comeback. Well, it has to do with the concept of carbon sequestration of wood in structures, under the recognition of the coming need for housing in the developing countries of the world. Remember the Ghost Cities of China? If architect Michael Green had been involved in their design, they would have been built of wood.

Listen to his compelling story in support of Going Wood.

Tip AmountOption 1 $2.00 USDOption 2 $4.00 USDOption 3 $10.00 USD

When Wood Went to War...the Patrol Torpedo Boats

Veterans Day, one of my favorite holidays...some of my favorite people and role models were vets, and I think of them every year on this day.

Wood played a big role in World War II. Gun stocks by the millions, wooden hangars, and temporary housing and facilities all over the world. But the most memorable contribution of wood to the war effort came in the form of Patrol Torpedo boats, or PT boats. You've probably seen PT-109 that recalls the war heroics of John F. Kennedy, or the classic They Were Expendable, starring John Wayne. If you're as old as me, you grew up watching Ernie Borgnine and Tim Conway zoom around in McHale's Navy, long before their rise to fame as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob SquarePants.

What they all had in common was the lowly PT boat. These boats didn't look imposing, didn't look comfortable, didn't look safe in the middle of a war, and didn't even look respectable for an accomplished Navy captain to stand in. But any Navy…

Logging the Redwoods back in the Good Old Days

I love old documentaries; they give us a great window into the way life used to be, much more realistically than the old Hollywood movies. This video shows the redwood logging and sawmilling process back in 1947. I wonder what these guys were paid, and bet it wasn't enough. Lot's of fresh air, though.

Watch for those pieces of lumber as they come off the saw. Unbelievable.

Oh, and be sure to catch the comment around the 6-minute mark... "...but thousands of years ago, they were to be found throughout Europe and Asia. They grew in countries that are now cold, but were at one time warm...places like Alaska, Iceland, and Greenland."

So, an upside to Global Warming...more redwoods! Hey, sounds nice.

If you're interested in the redwoods and would like to know more about their history and the economics of the redwood industry, take the time to read this excellent 1965 lecture given by Dr. John Zivnuska, who was dean of the School of Forestry at the University of Califo…

More on Guitar Wood and Manufacturing - Gibson, Martin, and Yamaha

You may recall the post on the trouble Gibson ran into when an US Fish & Wildlife SWAT team raided their factory to confiscate computers, guitars, and especially Indian Rosewood components that the government claimed was was in violation of the Lacey Act. Gibson's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has been a frequent, public and vocal defendant of his company's wood procurement practices, as you can see, for example in the following video of just a few weeks ago...

Mr. Juszkiewicz seems to be admitting that there may have been some "clerical mistakes" on the product identification...let's hope that's all it is, and that Gibson is alone in this particular error, so that this issue doesn't spill over into our other U.S. guitar manufacturing companies. If you would like to sign a petition of support for Gibson, and to resolve this Lacey Act issue, you can do so here.

Well, that previous post has made it to the top of the list as Go Wood's most popular post, pass…

IFQRG, Port Botany, AQIS...and Giant Snails

As I mentioned before, the primary purpose of my trip to Australia was to speak to the members of the International Forestry Quarantine Research Group on the work we're conducting on various phytosanitary treatment of wooden pallets. For those unfamiliar with this issue, here it is in a nutshell:

Countries around the world have agencies dedicated to the attempt to stop, or at least slow, the transfer of non-native plant and animal pest species from one country to another. Pests and diseases caused by them, such as Chestnut blight, Dutch Elm disease, gypsy moths, Emerald Ash borer, Asian Long-horned beetles, Pinewood nematodes, and many, many others are all pests that came into this country at one time or another, usually in the importation of commercial goods, or the transplanting of non-native nursery stock. Pest scientists have dedicated the last century to helping governments identify these potential pests and putting in place treatment and quarantine measures to help reduce th…