Small Diameter Wood Applications
Sierra Forest Legacy's Community Forestry program (2005-2011) worked to facilitate and nurture development of new business model for utilization of forest products that the mainstream forest products industry had not been utilizing. Through our Sierra Green Working Circle Partnership and demonstration projects, we were able to show small diameter wood products are a viable source of sustainable material for local and small scale furniture builders.
One such demonstration project is the Sierra Chair. We contracted with a cottage-scale roundwood furniture maker, Wildwood Baru, to develop a roundwood chair made from wood recovered from forest thinning projects that would otherwise have been chipped or pile burned.
We conducted a forestry training program with the Calaveras Healthy Impacts Product Solutions (CHIPS) group to help them operate in a sustainable fashion and to be able to identify the types of small diameter material that is useful to roundwood furniture makers so that they can begin to develop additional value-added products from the forest thinning work. The Sierra Chair is our symbol of what it means to have a community-scaled industry. It demonstrates how community scale can compete with industrial scale by adding value to every piece of material that is processed.
Other demonstration products are highlighted each year at the Calaveras Home and Garden Show. In 2009, there were over 15 different products on display at our booth. SFL also worked with the Central Sierra Environmental Building Association (CSEBA), a sustainable builders group.
Roundwood and Dimensional Lumber
Sierran forests could provide a reliable supply of small post and pole material, but they are under utilized in the Sierra Nevada. They can be easily mass produced with relatively low-cost equipment, and can be treated with a process that injects borax to prevent decay. Such treatments are a safe alternative to more toxic, chemically pressure treated poles. Their uses are endless, ranging from farm and ranch applications to alternative pole construction building applications, such as the sturdy pole trusses in the pictures below, and roundwood rustic furniture.