Behind the Wood Blog

downloadOur Columbia Forest Products, Klamath Falls, OR location is off to a great start with the kick-off of their 2014 United Way Campaign. Our local EPC teams held two days of meetings with speakers from local agencies and handed out pledge cards to each Columbia employee to get them started.

The campaign goal for 2014 is $25,000 and we are sure that our Columbia employee’s will rise to the challenge and make that goal…this is a 6% increase over last year’s goal!!! And as in the past, if our Klamath Falls location makes the $25,000 goal, they will receive a mill wide BBQ as a ‘thank you’ for their participation and hard work!!!!

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ftf-facebook-superboyColumbia Forest Products is gearing-up for the Rainforest Alliance’s annual campaign, Follow the Frog Week, September 16th through 20th, that is dedicated to raising consumer awareness, highlighting achievements and celebrating sustainability!!! During Follow the Frog Week, the ftf-facebook-earringgirlRainforest Alliance is tasking companies they work with (Columbia Forest Products is one of these) to encourage our employee awareness of the Rainforest Alliance and to discuss the company’s relationship with the Rainforest Alliance. So, this will be the first of many posting and tweetings as we get an early start by are encouraging all our Columbia employees to get ready to follow the Rainforest Alliance on Facebook and Twitter during the Follow the Frog week!!!!

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77Check out this time-lapse video from Those Architects one of our International customers who hail from Redfern, New South Wales. In this interesting and short video (about 5 minutes) they show rapid construction of some office space where they used some of out Columbia Forest Products materials…PureBond maple hardwood plywood to be specific in their project! Click here to check out the video!

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11 May 2013- Cory Wehrbein's home is photographed for Doug Kiser in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

11 May 2013- Cory Wehrbein’s home is photographed for Doug Kiser in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

Columbia Forest Products and we have seen quite a bit of really great positive press recently with the announcement of the winners of our 2013 PureBond Quality Awards which showcases works from members of our PureBond Fabricator Network (PFN) we have seen quite a bit of it!  For example check out this really nice article that has been appearing in the Woodworking Network online, click here for the full article!

As a bit of background, the PFN group was established as a network of fabricators a couple of years ago by Columbia in order to fulfill a need to connect and showcase fabricators who design and build “green” products for residential and commercial projects. Today our network now offers a database of over 1000 members from the East coast to the West coast including not only the US but Canada as well! If you are looking for a fabricator in your area you can easily find one online, click here!

We’re looking forward to the 2014 contest which will start on March 1st of 2014!

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Columbia Forest Products announces the winners of the second annual PureBond® Quality Awards competition. Twelve winning projects in four project categories – Residential Kitchen, Residential BathResidential Other, and Commercial – were chosen by a team of expert judges. 

The winning selections were made based on the use of PureBond® hardwood plywood in a project that led to a quality finished project.  Fabricators competed for gift card prizes valued at up to $1,000 in each category.

PureBond Pledge Mockups“The PureBond Quality Awards is a way for Columbia Forest Products to recognize the world-class work being produced by our PureBond Fabricator Network members,” Todd Vogelsinger, Director of Marketing, stated.  “We’ve created a partnership with craftspeople who build quality custom woodwork for residential and commercial clients using our flagship PureBond brand of hardwood plywood.”

Now in its second year, the PureBond Quality Awards competition has become an important way to spotlight the accomplishments of woodworking specialists.  The 2013 winners represented nine PFN fabricators, as follows:

 Residential Kitchen Category

  • First Place: Fitucci Cabinets
  • Second Place: Fairfield County Millwork
  • Third Place: Rivendell Woodworks, Inc.

Residential Bath Category

  • First Place: Lewis & Weldon Custom Cabinetry, LLC
  • Second Place: Wm. H. Fry Construction
  • Third Place: Fitucci Cabinets

Residential Other Category

  • First Place: d. KISER design.construct, inc.
  • Second Place: NR Hiller Design, Inc.
  • Third Place: Fairfield County Millwork

Commercial Category

  • First Place: Fairfield County Millwork
  • Second Place: Bradco Kitchens
  • Third Place: K&Z Cabinet Co., Inc.

Residential Kitchen Category Winners

Winners2013_KitchenThe first place winner of the Residential Kitchen category is Fitucci Cabinets of Van Nuys, CA.  The winning design was created for an oceanfront contemporary residence.  The project highlighted an open floor plan that used natural surfaces such as walnut cabinetry and PureBond cases throughout the home to complement stunning ocean views and create a functional-yet-beautiful living space.

“Awareness of green products for the construction industry has been on the rise.  For me as a cabinetmaker who uses only PureBond panels for my box construction, this is a very important sales point.  I found it to be a very important tool in the presentation of my product, and this project was no different,” said Eric Fitucci of Fitucci Cabinets.

The second place winner was Fairfield County Millwork of Bethany, CT with an impressive kitchen featuring knotty pine cabinets, paneling and trim that used PureBond Maple hardwood plywood. The third place prize in the Residential Kitchen category went to Rivendell Woodworks, Inc. of Concord, CA with a stately and inviting kitchen created using prefinished PureBond hardwood plywood.

Residential Bath Category Winners

Winners2013_BathThe first place winner of the Residential Bath category is Lewis & Weldon Custom Cabinetry, LLC of Hyannis, MA.  The winning design was for a new construction project located near the water.  With this in mind, a stunning bath was created that not only provided the functional space the family desired, but also offered a moisture-resistant environment through the use of White Maple PureBond hardwood plywood.

According to a Lewis & Weldon company spokesperson, the customer desired an all-wood product that was moisture-resistant and created formaldehyde-free, in addition to being made in the USA.  “With the widest variety of American-made quality veneers and reliable cores to be found anywhere, why would we choose anything other than PureBond?”

The second place winner was Wm. H. Fry Construction of Cupertino, CA with a luxurious guest bath featuring PureBond hardwood plywood backed with Maple. The third place prize in the Residential Bath category was awarded to Fitucci Cabinets of Van Nuys, CA with a striking contemporary bath featuring cabinetry made with PureBond hardwood plywood panels.

Residential Other Category Winners

Winners2013_OtherThe Residential Other category which was open to projects such built-in furnishings, furniture and closet systems, was won for the second year in a row by d.KISER design.construct, inc. of Omaha, NE, a highly specialized custom studio.

The winning entry is one in which d.KISER assisted an architectural firm in designing many of the home’s special features in addition to the cabinetry. The pièce de resistance (and the winning entry) is a fireplace made with Hickory PureBond panels that also houses an entertainment center and functions as a hallway blocking the public space from the private.

Commenting on the winning project, Doug Kiser of d.KISER said, “The PureBond product we used met the needs of our clients by being low VOC and having no added formaldehyde.  This was a concern because they have two young children.  In addition, when people see the space and the talk becomes technical, it’s a nice point to say that the soy-based adhesive used in the panels was inspired by mussels sticking to rocks in the Pacific Ocean!”

The second place winner, with a wonderfully creative furniture submission of a “sneaky bar,” was NR Hiller Design, Inc. of Bloomington, IN. Third place in the Residential Other category was awarded to Fairfield County Millwork of Bethany, CT for an elegant knotty pine trophy room.

Commercial Category Winners

Winners2013_CommercialThe Commercial category was open to any type of commercial application.  The first place submission came from Fairfield County Millwork of Bethany, CT.  The winning entry was created for the corporate headquarters for Peoples Bank in Bridgeport, CT.  It features a sleek radius teller line and a custom round circulation desk using Santos Rosewood and Wenge veneer over a pre-finished Maple PureBond core.

A spokesperson for Fairfield noted that “air quality and sustainable resources are a recurring theme as to what matters most to our clients.  PureBond panel products with no VOC’s offers the best of both worlds:  a quality product that is environmentally friendly and managed from sustainable renewable resources.”

The second place winning entry was from Bradco Kitchens of Los Angeles, CA with a working kitchen for Sur La Table, a major retailer of high-end cookware, bake-ware utensils and small appliances. Third place in the Commercial Category went to K&Z Cabinet Co., Inc. of Ontario, CA for a lab room project completed for the Science Complex at Los Angeles Harbor College – a striking example of “form following function” with no sacrifice in visual appeal.

Judging the Competition

The panel of judges assembled for the 2013 PureBond Quality Awards competition included William Sampson, editor of CabinetMaker+FDM Magazine, with a lengthy history in publishing, woodworking and business; Eric Pfeiffer, an award-winning product designer and co-author of “Bent Ply: The Art of Plywood Furniture,“; Whitney Gainer and Ashley Turner, the two sisters behind the Shanty2Chic blog which teaches followers how to transform their homes on a budget with DIY projects and How-To Tutorials; and Kiersten Hathcock, the creator and creative mind behind the popular and eco-friendly Mod Mom Furniture line.

The criterion for the winners was simply demonstrating “quality” use of PureBond hardwood plywood.  “The contest has grown dramatically between our first and second year,” Vogelsinger noted.  “In fact, we received nearly twice as many entries this year.  Every single one was impressive and instructive,” he added.

About PureBond Technology

Columbia’s formaldehyde-free PureBond® technology was a major breakthrough in the engineered wood panel market. Developed by Columbia Forest Products in conjunction with scientists at Oregon State University, the first PureBond hardwood plywood panels were produced in 2005. Since then, more than 50 million have been shipped.

PureBond formaldehyde-free technology continues to be a market differentiator for woodshops that cater to a health-conscious clientele. Over 850 fabricators have joined the PureBond Fabricator Network to identify themselves as leading-edge suppliers who are thoughtful about the materials they use and the concern customers have with good indoor air quality and home resale value.

The PureBond Quality Awards competition will be held again in 2014.  “We are very pleased with the participation among the members of the PureBond Fabricators Network, and hope for even more entries next year,” Vogelsinger stated.

To join the PureBond Fabricator Network and become eligible to compete in the PureBond Quality Awards, click here.

About Columbia Forest Products

Established in 1957, Columbia Forest Products is America’s largest manufacturer of decorative hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer.  An employee-owned company, it operates facilities throughout North America.  It is a leader in sustainable forestry, as well as developing innovative and environmentally friendly technologies and products for healthy indoor living.

Columbia Forest Products has provided fine decorative hardwood plywood veneer panels to North American fabricators for 55 years. The company is committed to offering the industry’s widest product selection, manufactured in efficient, technologically advanced mills, and backed by exceptional service and product support.

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_splash (1)Want to kind of “test drive” one of our products and see how they might appear on finished projects? If so then check out our rather cool Product Visualizer at Columbia Forest Products…it’s simple to use, all you do is use the three selection options to specify a panel species, orientation, and environment and voila you can get a pretty good of our our various products can look on a completed job! Want a closer look, just move your mouse over the image to magnify sections…fabulous way to see the wood grain! Click here for the visualizer!

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What’s in a Name?

122Recently, while rummaging through a whole pile of aging stuff looking for something else, I came across a leaf collection I prepared for a 9th grade vocational agriculture class some 35 years back.  There are 50 entries in the book, each with the trade or common name of each species, along with a list of possible uses.  Directly under each trade name, I had meticulously scribed in parentheses the Latin name for each.  Since I couldn’t see where I had gotten extra credit for that monumental effort, I am guessing it was required!  At any rate, it reminded me that in our industry, we are beginning to see more and more references to species in binomial nomenclature.

Taxonomy on the Rise

Sounds like an announcement from the IRS, but actually, taxonomy is the science of classification of all living things, with specific reference in this context to the binomial nomenclature assigned to trees.  Historically, most folks in our industry have shown little interest in scientific names for decorative species of faces or solid lumber, preferring instead to use the more common trade names.  While this line of thinking has actually caused us little grief, there has always been some level of confusion and potential for misinterpretation and even downright deception on occasion.  The use of scientific names greatly reduces and should actually eliminate the margin of error.  Now, with the maturing of certified wood standards and the advent of controlled wood in support of world wide conservation laws, this system will become very important for all of us in the trade

So What IS in a name?

123“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  This line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is often misquoted as, “a rose by any other name is still a rose” as a matter of convenience when meaningful.  Now, that statement in reverse would be meaningless, wouldn’t it?  Calling something a rose does not make it a rose unless it is a rose!  In that light, calling something Brazilian cherry doesn’t make it cherryCalling it royal or even Philippine mahogany doesn’t make it mahogany.  And calling it Tasmanian oak doesn’t make it oak.  Of course there are cases where the rose has other names, such as breu and almecega, lapuna and fuma, and purpleheart and amaranth.  In our world, we often find such trade names confusing.

Enter Carl Linnaeus

It was Linnaeus who in 1735 determined that in order to avoid confusion it was necessary to assign every living thing to a natural classification ending with a double name that would be unique to the individual organism to which it was assigned.  His original system broke every plant or animal into categories beginning with the most general classification and ending with a very specific designation.  This system included Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.  That system has remained in tact through modern times with the exception that the categories are now called Kingdom, Division, Subdivision, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.  Some listings show sub classes, sub-orders, and a number of other aberrations, but essentially, you get the point.  Under this system, the full classification for American black cherry would be:

121Kingdom: Plant                     
Division: Spermatophyta; 
Subdivision: Angiospermae         
Order: Dicotyledonous; 
Family: Rosaceae; 
Genus: Prunus 
Species: serotina Ehrh. 

For most purposes, the binomial nomenclature, or the last two names in the sequence, consisting of the genus and species is all that concerns us.  In this case, American black cherry, or what we call simply “cherry” isPrunus serotina.  The component names are typically derived from ancient Latin or Greek, and are normally italicized.  Only the genus is capitalized.  Any abbreviation such as Ehrh stands for the name of the botanist who first authored the taxonomy of that particular species, and in this illustration represents Jakob Ehrhart, a German botanist and student of Linnaeus.   When a species can be part of a grouping of species which are commercially indistinct in veneer or lumber from the same genus, the name of that genus may be followed by the abbreviation “spp.” in italics.  For example, red oak, which actually comprises about 15 different species of oak trees, would be commonly writtenQuercus spp. if no exact species is identified.  If, on the other hand, we know with no uncertainty that the species is swamp chestnut oak, the binomial nomenclature would be Quercus michauxii Nutt.  If a species is one of a list of species within a given genera, that genus need be spelled out only once, followed by the first letter capitalized, a period, then the name of the species. For example, American black cherry and European cherry would be listed as Prunus serotina and P. avium respectively. 

OK…so why is this important to me?

77With the growing interest in protecting our forest resources from illegal logging and our industry from unscrupulous practices comes more and more scrutiny on the part of both government and non-government organizations.  The Lacey Act is a US law that makes it illegal to harvest, possess, or transport listed species.  The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) requires meticulous documentation for harvesting and trade in protected species.  The United States Green Building Council’s LEED program provides for credit for use of certified wood.  Where species and silvicultural practices do not meet certification criteria, the demand for Controlled Wood with applicable documentation is growing.  In each example, to avoid confusion and to clearly identify the species in question, use of the binomial nomenclature classification ensures accuracy.

For a link to one list of botanical names click here.

And in closing…

I am not suggesting that everyone who reads this immediately commit to memory the binomial nomenclature for hundreds of different species of commercially viable veneer.  I just want us to realize it is to our advantage to be familiar with this valuable tool designed to avoid confusion and ensure accuracy.



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_splashLooking for some continuing education? Check out Columbia Forest Products newest webinar that can earn you: 1 AIA HSW CE Hour | 1 GCBI CE Hour.

  • Provider: InfoSpec, Inc.
  • Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
  • Course Title: Decorative Hardwood Plywood & Veneer: Beautiful by Nature – WEBINAR
  • AIA Course Number: ICF06C
  • GBCI Course ID: 0090009896

Course Description:
This course will better inform the architect and designer about decorative hardwood plywood in terms of its manufacture, uses, types, and sustainable attributes. The architect and the designer will gain an understanding of the different adhesives and core material options available, which options are more sustainable, and which options are most commonly used. Participants will also know what to look for in order to successfully specify decorative hardwood plywood and how the material can contribute to LEED projects. To sign up for this free class, click here.

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Columbia Forest Products newest “Must Watch” video is an interesting time-lapse narrative of the installation of the Meinan lathe at the new Columbia Forest Products, Boardman, OR facility which recently opened!! Click here to check out the video!

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Check our newest informational and really visually appealing video that showcases and illustrates Columbia Forest Products hardwood plywood production process from the forest of the Greenwood Tree Plantation, to peeling the veneers at our new Boardman, OR facility , to our plywood creation at our Klamath Falls plant, to distribution with one of our distributor partners, to a fabricator partner…all to cumulate into a finished product!

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