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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Great Designs in Wood (54) - The Hannah Cabinet

Nothing I can say would add to the impressiveness of this work. Best listen to the master himself explain the work.



I've watched it three times now and am still seeing things that amaze me.

I like one of the comments on YouTube...
 If I have some spare time this weekend, I might knock one of these out. :)
The Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, which I visited back in 2011 and shared with you in...

The Bungendore Wood Works Gallery 

The Best of the Rest - Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, Part 2

...and in which the Hannah cabinet was displayed in the summer of 2013, has a web page with more information and pictures of the work...and they offer a complete DVD on it for sale. This is one for the collection of serious woodworkers out there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Great Designs in Wood (53) - The Wooden Pallet

This post is long overdue. While we tend to think of great houses, fine furniture, and unique products when we think of designs in wood, the humble wooden pallet may be able to claim to be the greatest design of all.

Wooden pallets, as the title of the video below states, literally move the world.



In fact, Slate Magazine recently called the pallet the "Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy." From the article:
Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things. But while shipping containers, for instance, have had their due, in Marc Levinson’s surprisingly illustrative book The Box (“the container made shipping cheap, and by doing so changed the shape of the world economy”), pallets rest outside of our imagination, regarded as scrap wood sitting outside grocery stores or holding massive jars of olives at Costco. As one German article, translated via Google, put it: “How exciting can such a pile of boards be?”
And yet pallets are arguably as integral to globalization as containers. For an invisible object, they are everywhere: There are said to be billions circulating through global supply chain (2 billion in the United States alone). Some 80 percent of all U.S. commerce is carried on pallets. So widespread is their use that they account for, according to one estimate, more than 46 percent of total U.S. hardwood lumber production.
Companies like Ikea have literally designed products around pallets: Its “Bang” mug, notes Colin White in his book Strategic Management, has had three redesigns, each done not for aesthetics but to ensure that more mugs would fit on a pallet (not to mention in a customer’s cupboard). After the changes, it was possible to fit 2,204 mugs on a pallet, rather than the original 864, which created a 60 percent reduction in shipping costs. There is a whole science of “pallet cube optimization,” a kind of Tetris for packaging; and an associated engineering, filled with analyses of “pallet overhang” (stacking cartons so they hang over the edge of the pallet, resulting in losses of carton strength) and efforts to reduce “pallet gaps” (too much spacing between deckboards). The “pallet loading problem,”—or the question of how to fit the most boxes onto a single pallet—is a common operations research thought exercise.
Pallet history is both humble and dramatic. As Pallet Enterprise (“For 30 years the leading pallet and sawmill magazine”) recounts, pallets grew out of simple wooden “skids”, which had been used to help transport goods from shore to ship and were, essentially, pallets without a bottom set of boards, hand-loaded by longshoremen and then, typically, hoisted by winch into a ship’s cargo hold. Both skids and pallets allowed shippers to “unitize” goods, with clear efficiency benefits: “According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours.” 
Wooden pallets can be made in just about any combination of boards imaginable, in order to carry whatever load they are designed to carry. The two most common designs of pallets are the "stringer" pallet, most common in the United States, and the "block" pallet, the most widely used pallet in the rest of the world. Stringer pallets have typically three or four boards running lengthwise on edge, onto which the wooden deckboards are nailed.

Stringer pallets.
In contrast, the deckboards on block pallets are fastened to stringers or frames, placed flatwise, that connect typically nine or more wooden blocks. This design allows for what those in the logistics industry call "true four-way entry"; in other words, the loader approaching the unit load with a forklift or pallet jack can insert its forks into whichever side of the load the loader happens to be approaching. This flexibility in handling allows for more efficient use of the pallet in loading and unloading operations, especially in those which utilized automated load handling systems.


Block pallets. Source: http://palletmasters.com.au/gallery/4-way-pallets/olympus-digital-camera-90/
While the sheer volume of pallets used around the world in conveying goods is staggering to contemplate, perhaps the best evidence of our designation of the wooden pallet as a "great design in wood" is in its frequent "second life" as affordable and personalized do-it-youself furniture. A search of YouTube with the simple word "pallets" returns around 144,000 video results...and I'd be willing to bet over 90% of them are folks showing some creative use of wooden pallets in and around their home. I've shared some of these before, and here's another great one.



Anything that can be used in so many ways, even after serving its useful primary life, surely must be called one of our "Great Designs in Wood." In fact, the lowly wooden pallet may be THE GREATEST design in wood, ever.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Build a Wildlife Habitat Snag

My tendency the last few months is to give you a feel-good post on Fridays, because we all need to feel good on weekends, right? And for many folks, the best way to feel good is to do something physical, and productive.

About three weeks ago, I shared a video of a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Wranglerstar as they identify themselves, taking on an unusually large project...sawing down a tree by hand. In this video, the same Wranglerstar shares with us a unique project that many can achieve, even though we may have to be a little more modest with the size of our project. Nevertheless, as a little weekend warrior inspiration, this video is great.

If you think the part where he tops out the tree looks dangerous, you're right...it is. Experienced climbers and saw handlers only need apply for that job.



In the last couple of minutes of the video, Wranglerstar makes some interesting comments on the value of snags in the forest ecosystem. He's right on. Although, when I studied forestry many years ago, we were taught to leave what we called "den trees" in any forest harvest we planned and executed, and at about the same density he proposes, one to two per acre. I don't know where they ever taught foresters to "clean" the forest bare as he claims in the video, but if they did, they were wrong.

Glad he has taken the time to shoot his project and explain the reasoning behind it. He recently posted a follow-up video that shows the results of his project...I'll share that and comment a little more extensively on the topic next week. In the meantime, get out and do a little outdoor project of your own this weekend...and feel free to share it with us in the comment section below.

To my buddy Tom up in Boston...no, lifting pints of Sam Adams does not qualify as physical productive activity. Even if it follows a round of golf. Get out and Go Wood, Tom.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chaos of the Masses

The young Lebanese woman, eight months pregnant, was desperate. While trying to join her husband in the Land of the Free, she had suffered a cruel disappointment...she had been turned away by officials at Ellis Island in New York City and returned to the turmoil of Beirut. Her husband had sent her money from his job in the rail car plant in Michigan City, Indiana, and she was now making a rougher, more dangerous journey to the promised land...through the back door, that is, the back streets of Juarez, Mexico. She had given most of her money to a man who had gotten her from Panama City, Panama, where she had relatives, to Juarez, and now her jewelry was going to another stranger who was smuggling her across the border into El Paso, Texas. Her hope was that, once on the American side, she would meet one of her husband's relatives who would take her on the long bus trip to Indiana.

She made it just in time. On October 12, 1917, my grandmother was born in a small shack in Michigan City, the first generation of my mother's family to be American by birth. I don't know if my great grandmother ever became a legal immigrant, or not.

This was all brought back to me by some events of the past week here in my neighborhood.

I was walking the floor mop Sunday afternoon, and as I passed the high school soccer fields, stopped to watch a large group of Hispanics playing soccer. Many were decked out in soccer jerseys, all were shouting in Spanish, and they were good. Real good. Better than I was used to seeing here from our local kids.

It was notable to me because this was the first time I had seen such a thing in the neighborhood. I made mention of it to The Wife when I got home, telling her, in fact, that it was bringing back some nice memories of our time in Diboll, Texas. Hispanics are common in Diboll, home to a large, old sawmill since the turn of the last century. Old folks in town used to tell me that Mexicans used to travel across Texas, and the only two towns they knew of were San Antonio and Diboll, because of the number of jobs there. So now, Diboll, along with most of the rest of Texas, has a large population of Hispanics, many whose families have been there since long before the fall of the Alamo. And some who have come more recently, say, yesterday.

But Hispanics are not too common in Central Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, Philly, Reading, Allentown, yes. But immigration controversies are rare in State College, other than the visa difficulties graduate students may have during their time at Penn State.

So it came as a surprise when I heard sirens in the neighborhood yesterday morning...and then this.



What made this event very personal was that it was close to home. Literally, close to home...the restaurants in the video are about two blocks from my house. The Wife and I eat at them frequently, and even know the owner by name. That was because he is (was?) a neighbor of ours. He owns several of the Chinese food establishments in town and about half of the ones that were raided yesterday.

He purchased the house next to ours about a year ago, and was using it as sort of a halfway house for his employees. I see some of them on my nightly walks, they walking home from work every night. The Wife took them cookies once, and said that the Chinese are on one floor and the Hispanics are on the other.

I should make a note here that the food in the establishments is great, the employees are real friendly...but we had a suspicion that at least some of them were illegal. Not being able to speak English is a tip-off.

But I've worked with and around illegal aliens all of my life. First as a dishwasher in a high-end Houston restaurant, where all the dishwashers were Hispanic except me. I especially remember one guy named Juan, who had fled the civil wars in Nicaragua, who didn't say much and didn't like me for some reason. Maybe I asked too many questions.

Later, as a construction superintendent for a large Houston home builder, I shared in the barbequed pigs-head lunches (weird, but tasty) brought out to the Hispanic foundation crews by their crew chief, who was by the way, the only one who could speak English. I remember wondering if they were all illegal aliens, but since they were sub-contractors, hired by superintendents like me on site, it never seemed to be an issue. All the concrete crews were Hispanic, so it was just an accepted thing. Don't ask, don't tell, before that policy was even heard of.

Then as I moved into the wood products industry, I found that there were certain types of operations that had more suspect workers than others. The wood components industries, like truss plants, and pallet operations, in particular, seemed to have more than their share of non-English speakers. Not surprisingly, these industries have some of the toughest jobs out there. If you've ever seen workers standing on their feet at a station tearing apart old pallets for eight hours a day, at about one pallet per minute, you'd understand that there are certain jobs out there that most Americans just won't do.

You may remember the most high-profile illegal worker case, a raid on several operations and the arrest of several managers of the Houston-based pallet company IFCO in 2006. Again, I was pretty close to those folks...they had cooperated with me on a large industry study on supply chain costs I conducted in 2005. When the raids came down, I remember wondering why, this particular company, now? I could think of dozens of companies in several industries that operated basically the same way with their employee supply.  Finally, I concluded that some company had to be selected to raid, and a few had to go to prison, to remind folks that our new Homeland Security folks were still on the job.

I know, that's a cynical viewpoint, but for a guy who's the product of at least one illegal alien, and who's basically been surrounded by them for most of this life, I just look at our immigration policy and enforcement as a counter-productive farce with multiple hurtful unintended consequences. Now, I'm not saying that we should have stricter or more open borders...I'm just saying, what we do now doesn't work well and hasn't for a long, long time.

You probably wouldn't be surprised to know that some economics professors have figured that eliminating restrictions on the flow of migration (i.e., "open borders") is by far the best way to go. In their paper entitled "Productivity differences and the dynamic effects of labor movements" professors Klein and Ventura state..
"...a powerful case can be made that regulation of labor movements is one of the most severe distortions facing the world today. Taking the results of the applied general equilibrium literature seriously, hardly any policy reform at a global scale, either drastic trade liberalization or worldwide tax reforms, would deliver comparable output gains. Hence, in order to defend current restrictions on labor mobility on efficiency grounds one would need to come up with some very powerful arguments indeed. Clearly, arguments to restrict labor mobility do exist (e.g. congestion of some public goods, burden on the welfare state), but it seems doubtful whether they are powerful enough to make a case for the severity of current restrictions.
The analysis of this paper illustrates the need to design and study the effects of alternative migration and transfer policies in dynamic frameworks. Although the removal of migration barriers generates long-run output gains that are sizeable, there are winners and losers in the short run. An open challenge is then how to capture these gains while making nobody worse off."
Ahh, that's the trick, isn't it? Because in the same paper, they find that...
"... the oldest individuals in the rich...location gain when barriers are removed, while the opposite occurs in the poor...location. This is straightforward: as natives of the rich location hold all land in this location and the oldest individuals have mostly asset income, lifting barriers to the movement of labor will lead to gains for these people if the value of their land increases. This is precisely what occurs as the increase in the labor input in the rich location increases the future marginal product of land, which in turn leads to an upward jump in the price of land in the rich location at t0. Of course, the reverse happens in the poor location.
Second, individuals born at t0 gain in the poor location and lose in the rich location, and the smaller are idiosyncratic moving costs on average, the greater the welfare gain (loss) for natives of the poor (rich) location. Notice, in particular, that individuals in the poor location gain substantially on average even when only a small fraction of them eventually moves to the rich location. This is accounted for by the fact that prices change in a favorable direction for newborns in the poor location as wage rates there increase over time.
Overall, the removal of barriers to labor mobility has non-trivial consequences for welfare, but these consequences differ substantially across locations and cohorts. At the date when restrictions are removed (t=t0) old and middle-aged rich location natives gain, while young rich location natives lose."
And they become members of the Occupy Movement, and go on food stamps.

I think it boils down to, one way or another, everyone working in our country ought to be legal residents, abide by the same laws, and pay the same taxes. How we get that to be, is the debate that seems to have been with us since the founding of our country. And lately, we seem to be making things worse, not better. "Comprehensive immigration reform" sounds to me like another iteration of increased ineffective bureaucracy at ridiculous expense. A wise man once said...

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.”
- Winston Churchill 
Hmmm...I know a few folks who can relate to that.
Seems to me that we must already have some "comprehensive" laws in place. Well, whaddya know...

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 

It's even revised as of 2013. So it doesn't sound to me like we need "comprehensive reform"...just a better and more even-handed way to carry out the law, and to revise it when necessary. There's a novel concept.

In a day where the government is supposedly monitoring everything we think, do and say (at least, on-line) there ought to be a way to enforce one consistent set of laws without starting over from scratch. I'm guessing that it would require more resources in both processing applications and border enforcement. And in analyzing the economic and human impacts of labor flows. How tough can it be?

Even Mr. Churchill would think that we'll eventually get it right. He once also said this...
“The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”
In the mean time, the good folks of State College, Pennsylvania will have to do without our Chinese food.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wood Science 101 (15) - What Houses are Made Of

This video really impresses on the viewer is how much wood actually goes in a typical American home. Most folks think kitchen cabinets, wood floors, and decks when they are asked about wood in their homes...but as this video shows, there is much, much more wood that they don't see. Wall plates and studs, floor and ceiling joists, door and window headers, floor and wall panels, roof trusses, fascia boards, stair wells and treads...the list goes on and on. And none of this lumber is ever seen by most folks, except when they crawl into their attic.



Some fact checking reminded me that one 2400 square foot home may typically use 16,000 board feet of lumber, and 14,000 square feet of other wood products. And that's a good thing, as the USDA discovered and admitted in 2011.
USDA Leads the Way on Green Buildings, Use of Wood Products
 WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today USDA's strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material. At an event this evening to launch the International Year of the Forest, Secretary Vilsack will lay out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service's and USDA's current green building practices.
"Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials. Forest Service studies show that wood compares favorably to competing materials," said Vilsack. "In keeping with the Obama Administration's America's Great Outdoors conservation agenda, USDA has made a strong commitment to conserving and restoring our forests to protect watersheds, recreation, and rural jobs."
The strategy includes the following parts:
1. The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama's executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
2. The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials.
3. The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.
In carrying out this initiative, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell issued a directive to all units this week calling for increased use of locally milled timber in all new agency buildings and facilities. Secretary Vilsack also directed the heads of all other USDA agencies to incorporate the Forest Service policy of using domestic sustainable wood products as the preferred green building material for all USDA facilities and buildings.
"Our country has the resources, the work force and the innovative spirit to reintroduce wood products into all aspects of the next generation of buildings," Tidwell said. "As we move forward with restoring America's forests, we are getting smarter and more efficient in how we use wood products as both an energy and green building source, which will help maintain rural jobs."
A recent Forest Service lifecycle analysis found that harvesting, transporting, manufacturing and using wood in lumber and panel products in building yields fewer air emissions – including greenhouse gases – than resource extraction, manufacturing and using other commonly-used building materials. In fact, wood –based wall systems can require significantly less total energy for manufacturing than thermally comparable houses using other common material systems.
Research arms of the U.S. Forest Service are also experimenting with new and innovative ways to use smaller diameter timber and leftover branches and limbs for wood products, which includes nanotechnology advancements and the use of laminate technologies.
- US Department of Agriculture, March 30, 2011 
Some folks still haven't gotten the message, though. For instance, the Resource Conservation Alliance, formerly known as WoodConsumption.Org, is on a mission to reduce wood usage under the assumption that wood consumption is a bad thing. In a section on their website entitled 'Is There Really A Shortage of Wood?', they say,
"The U.S. timber products industry spends millions of dollars each year promoting the idea that building with wood is an environmentally sound choice. Their ads claim that there are more trees in America today than ever before. The subtle trap is that these statistics do not differentiate between young sapwood trees and high-quality heartwood, or between diverse natural forests and single-species tree farms.
In the U.S. today, less than five percent of our original forest cover remains, and the clearcutting of old-growth forests continues. Intact forests support indigenous peoples, shelter wildlife, maintain the quality of fisheries and watersheds, conserve soil, moderate the global climate, and store much of the planet's genetic material. They may be our most important natural resource.
The construction industry uses 46 percent of the softwoods harvested in the U.S., for framing lumber and plywood, most of which comes from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The U.S. Forest Service predicts that harvests from the Pacific Northwest have peaked and will fall steadily over the next ten years (Adams, 1994). Present demand has exceeded our forests' ability to supply lumber, even with the industry's prevailing unsustainable practices. British Columbia, however, now has one of the highest logging rates in the world: an acre of old-growth forest is clearcut every 66 seconds (Rainforest Action Network, 1995). It is imperative that we reverse this trend.
Changing the way we use wood in construction can alter the course of forest destruction, allowing us to save some forests from being turned into tree farms and preserving forest ecosystems for future generations."
The astute reader will note that the question put forward by the title of the section is never answered. Rather, there is sentence after sentence of somewhat related, and entirely misleading, statements that, if taken together, may lead some to think that...Yes, there really is a shortage of wood! When nothing could be further from the truth. North American forests are growing as wood consumption declines and rural development slows. And recent increases in lumber prices have much more to do with new regulatory costs, alternative uses and oil price increases than they do with timber supply.

Even more disturbing in the misinformation treadmill is the tendency by some local and state governments to take anti-wood stances in their definition of "green" development. Somehow, the folks in the Nebraska statehouse didn't get the memo from Mr. Vilsack. On the "Official Nebraska Government Website", we find these badly slanted talking points in a "factsheet" entitled "Minimizing the Use of Lumber Products in Residential Construction":
  • Although the U.S. is home to only 5 percent of the global population, it is responsible for over 15 percent of the world's consumption of wood.
  • A typical 1700 square foot wood framed home requires the equivalent of clear cutting one acre of forest.
  • Within U.S. national forests alone, at least 70,000 acres of old-growth timber have been harvested each year since the mid-1980s.
  • Tropical hardwood is especially vulnerable: 42 million acres of tropical hardwood were cleared in 1990, a 40 percent increase from 1980.
  • The traditional building method of stick-built framing has declined from approximately 86 percent in 1995 to 78 percent in 2000. By 2005, the forecast is for stick-built framing to decline further to around 71 percent.
- http://www.neo.ne.gov/home_const/factsheets/min_use_lumber.htm
 Let's take these point by point -

  • Although the U.S. is home to only 5 percent of the global population, it is responsible for over 15 percent of the world's consumption of wood.
Is that a bad thing? In other words, it's wrong that we consume more wood per capita than the folks in Iceland, or Greece, or South Africa? Could the reason be, perhaps, that we also produce 25% of the world's wood? 


  • A typical 1700 square foot wood framed home requires the equivalent of clear cutting one acre of forest.
Well, that sounds terrible, doesn't it? Of course, when one considers that the size of the forest in the United States has remained stable at around 750 million acres for the last 100 years, then a truer picture of the situation emerges. Let's say our economy booms again, and we get back up to two million housing starts per year. That's two million acres of forest, right? But two million acres is only 1/375th of U.S. forestland harvested in that year...in other words, it would take 375 years to harvest all the forest. But since typical forests in North America regenerate themselves every 50 to 100 years, that means...that's right, we'll never harvest it all. It's growing back much faster than we harvest it.
  • Within U.S. national forests alone, at least 70,000 acres of old-growth timber have been harvested each year since the mid-1980s.
What is old-growth timber? 100 years old, 200 years old, maybe 375 years old? Or perhaps old-growth timber is that lot across the road that has been there since you were a kid. Of course, old-growth timber will be harvested...and more is produced every day of every year of every decade. Today's 20-year old stand will be the old-growth timber of 2114.
  • Tropical hardwood is especially vulnerable: 42 million acres of tropical hardwood were cleared in 1990, a 40 percent increase from 1980.
Here's a hot-button issue. More tropical hardwood is being harvested. That's definitely a bad thing...unless you're a logging, sawmilling, or transportation family in Indonesia, Brazil, or the Congo. Then, the increase in international trade of your region's beautiful wood is bringing food to your table and prosperity to your country. Funny how that works.
  • The traditional building method of stick-built framing has declined from approximately 86 percent in 1995 to 78 percent in 2000. By 2005, the forecast is for stick-built framing to decline further to around 71 percent.
And the point is what, exactly? That home construction is getting more efficient? Why is that a case for using less wood in construction?

Come on, Nebraska. Get with it, and Go Wood. Remove or revise that silly fact sheet, and join the growing numbers of people in the world that understand wood is the best, most renewable and sustainable, building product Earth has to offer.





Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Designs in Wood (52) - The Kerf I-Phone Case

In writing this blog, I've discovered that there are very few things in the world that can't be made in wood...and made better.

Case in point...the wooden cell phone case.

The Kerf case...in quartersawn cherry.


"KERF, founded in 2013 by Ben Saks, is rooted in a passion for craft and an exacting attention to fine details. Ben, a designer passionate about precision, fine craftsmanship, and natural materials was unsatisfied with existing wood iPhone cases. While working at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture, he spent an evening in the wood shop and created the first KERF case.  Over the course of six months, the KERF design was revised, tested, and revised again.    
"Kerf" is the thickness of material removed from a saw blade, usually measured in 1/1000 of an inch. This standard wood working term is important to KERF’s philosophy, as it represents the precision needed to make our cases. KERF Cases use a patent-pending technology to hold your phone inside the case using only friction. This leaves no part of the front of your phone obscured, no snapping your phone into a case, and no parts to assemble. Just press your phone in, or press it out. It's that simple.
Made from 100% wood, by their nature every case is unique."
- kerfcase.com 

And perhaps the greatest thing about this design - is where the wood comes from.

"Our story starts in the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania, carpeted in a mixed deciduous forest. KERF wood products are designed, machined, finished, and shipped from Pittsburgh, PA. Once the center of American steel production, Pittsburgh has transformed into a technology-centered city nestled in an urban forest. Our forest is comprised of Oak, Maple, Walnut,Cherry, Ash, Sycamore, and many other species of  hardwood trees. Every piece of wood has a story. A piece of reclaimed flooring, or beautiful burl wood from a locally harvested tree which was damaged in a storm. 
KERF wood is sourced locally and sustainably. Most of our wood comes from our friend Jason Boone at Urban Tree. Jason works with Tree Pittsburgh to reclaim sick and damaged street trees and local trees. Jason and his team of arborists safely fells, and mills trees which would otherwise end up as mulch.
What will be the story behind your iPhone case?"
Right here in Pennsylvania, wood from the streets of Pittsburgh ends up in cell phone cases going all over the world. Great idea, great design, great story.

Now, if they could make a sycamore case for a Samsung Note...

Beautiful sycamore.

If you're an I-Phone user, or know someone who is, why not Go Wood, and replace that silly piece of plastic that everyone else carries? Check out their many great woody options at their website, Kerf Collections...