Local Materials -- our take on this  

Posted by Gabel in

It's pretty amazing how we have items from all over the world available to us. Right here in Monroe (and I'm sure it's no different wherever you are) you can buy food that was grown in Florida or California or even Chile or New Zealand. You can buy clothes or shoes made in places I would have trouble finding on a map. It's not really a surprise that we've grown used to our things coming from "somewhere else".

Does it matter where our stuff comes from? I think so. It's pretty wasteful to ship and truck materials from all over the world in to build a house while we are blessed with tremendous resources in our area with which to build beautiful, durable, and healthy homes.

So how does this relate to traditional timber framing? People often ask us what kind of timber we use. I love this question because my answer is not exactly what people are expecting. "We use local timber." Then I get to explain that with all the high quality timber grown within 30 miles of us here, we don't see any good reason to buy wood from somewhere else. So we use mostly pine and oak, with some poplar, eastern red cedar, and miscellaneous hardwoods thrown in from time to time. I love it when the woodlot where the trees are grown, our shop, and the project we are building are all situated within 30 miles or less. Even better is when we can take some of the trees standing right on the building site and mill them into timbers, flooring, millwork, cabinets, and other parts of the houes. It doesn't get any more local than that.

Here's a picture of a recent project - a set of 35' trusses for a building in Athens. The trees that we got these timbers out of were growing less than 5 miles from the shop. One of our favorite local loggers went into this property and sustainably harvested these trees using small equipment, leaving the woods in better shape than when he got there. In 15 or 20 years, I'm expecting to get some more clear, straight logs from this beautiful stand of loblolly pine.