Family-owned business, and NWFA member, Old Wood, LLC has seen promising growth since venturing into a new business opportunity utilizing wood salvaged from fires, floods, and other reclamation efforts. “We’ve grown about 50 percent in the last eight months,” says Shiloh Old, VP, International Operations. “We are now exporting all over the world, most recently to Singapore, China, where we just shipped a white oak end grain floor for the lobby of a well-known hotel.”
Old Wood is an established maker of large-scale innovative flooring. With this new business initiative, they will finalize market-ready, fully finished flooring products in both end grain and 3/8” plank flooring. As a national and global leader in end grain flooring, Old Wood will introduce new methods and designs in end grain panelized and mesh-backed products.
Wood for this purpose is sourced from Old Wood’s family ranch, Native American lands, and National Forest lands. “Most of the products we make come from forest fire reclamation or pre-fire thinning in the American West. Pre-fire thinning of small diameter timber (8-10 inches in diameter) is beneficial because it helps to remove trees that have a high risk of feeding wildfires,” says Shiloh. “We are able to make use of timber from small diameter trees that don’t really have a use in sawmills, which makes us an attractive candidate for the Wood Innovations Grant.”
Old Wood applied for the Wood Innovations Grant, funded by the U.S. Forest Service, in early January. The grant supports traditional wood utilization projects, expands wood energy markets, and promotes using wood as a construction material in commercial buildings. Old Wood is a great contender for the Wood Innovations Grant because they can source wood from post-fire salvage and pre-fire thinning as well as make use of small timber.
“The grant would help us to develop new products that come from small diameter timbers, before or after forest fires and to create a better fully finished, panelized end grain product. The money would aid in our efforts to run tests and potentially build a production method for a fully finished end grain floor,” says Shiloh. “From a sales perspective, the grant would allow us to attend international shows where we could sell to hotels, restaurants, and commercial buildings. These outlets provide a strong market for end grain flooring because it is so durable.”
Worldwide, wood sourced from sustainable and renewable sources, including salvaged and reclaimed wood, is gaining market share. Consumers spanning the globe are selecting products such as those manufactured by Old Wood that are responsibly sourced and that contribute to preserving and protecting the environment.
“We have high hopes that the pull of our effort will create long-term, sustainable jobs in rural areas in a higher paying industry than traditional sawmill work,” says David Old, Owner of Old Wood. “This will, in turn, create renewed vigor and demand for projects that are in need of real world material sales.”
“Our expectation is to see end grain become a significant market segment occupying a place between carpet, tile, stone, and other woods,” says David. “We look forward to showing and selling our products at national design shows, such as NWFA’s Wood Flooring Expo and TISE (The International Surface Event), and to seeing where this business venture takes us in years to come.”
More details on the Wood Innovations Grant can be found at fs.fed.us/science-technology/energy-forest-products/wood-innovations-grants.