Nature is in charge of our inventory around here. Nature determines the varying levels of character in each board of urban wood lumber, and it determines the supply volume we have for each species at any given time. When I first engage with clients, more often than not they ask for a specific species – most often oak – because of a grain pattern or color they are trying to achieve in their design.
The inherent beauty of working with urban wood is in the story of where it grew, why it was removed, and now, how it is being put to its highest use. It’s why most people want sustainably-sourced and locally-grown materials. So if at times, when an urban wood species you are looking for is unavailable, there may be an abundant amount of another species that has a similar grain pattern and can be stained to match. I recently worked with General Finishes to help me demonstrate this.
A Local Finishes Resource
General Finishes is a wood finishing manufacturer based in East Troy, Wisconsin. They specialize in pigmented stains, dye stains, colored acrylics, glazes, exterior stains, and wood coatings, acrylics, pre-catalyzed urethanes, and sanding sealers. They use some of the most innovative stain technology on the market today.
Take their water-based flooring system alone, for example, which is made up of high performance UV stable pigments. They offer 18 intermixable stock colors and 144 custom colors so customers can get exactly what they want. General Finishes products also are environmentally friendly – VOC compliant throughout the U.S., no lingering odors, no combustion concern, and easy water cleanup.
The Sample Project
We took seven sample boards of ash wood and applied seven different finishes to them. Ash wood lumber is available in abundance as Wisconsin communities remove their ash trees to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer beetle. EAB kills ash trees by eating tissues under the bark, putting Wisconsin’s 770 million ash trees in danger, of which 5.2 million are located in urban areas.
Ash wood is harder than oak, and offers more grain consistency, so depending on the finish someone chooses, they can achieve what they like about oak from ash wood. This stain demonstration applies to any wood species, not just ash and oak.
Check out the results below. Also pictured are Tom Monahan and George Adams of General Finishes and Scott Lyon, a forest products specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Interested in exploring what you can accomplish with different species and grains? Contact me today to learn more.