January 26, 2016— When Beneficial State Bank1 needed table tops for their headquarters near San Francisco, they ensured that the project remained synonymous with their company mission. As Green Furniture Solutions partnered with their staff and an architect firm, they successfully developed a plan for producing the tables in a sustainable way. The materials were sourced in cooperation with local organizations who follow FSC® guidelines to responsibly procure salvaged wood slabs. Finally, the table tops were built and finished in such a way that the long-term impact to the environment was nominal.
Upon learning about Beneficial State Bank’s interest in using live edge tables for the corporate headquarters remodel, the manager at the Portland branch recommended Green Furniture Solutions as a sustainable source for that project. As their customer, James Lohman at Green Furniture Solutions2 found it very refreshing to have Beneficial State Bank’s staff not only take note of his service offerings, but also take the time to endorse them.
The proposal submitted to Beneficial State Bank and Gelfand Partners Architects3 outlined the information pertaining to how the salvaged maple slabs were sourced. Green Furniture Solutions acquires the slabs from Sustainable Northwest Wood4 in Portland Oregon. Sustainable Northwest Wood is a lumberyard that acquires maple slabs from mills who follow FSC® guidelines when harvesting the wood.
These maple logs were procured from the Columbia Land Trust5. To balance the demand on the land and water resources caused by population growth, the Columbia Land Trust works with landowners to increase land designated for conservation. This organization has been successful in protecting over 13,760 square miles along the Columbia River that covers an area from The Dalles to the Pacific Ocean. As part of their effort to preserve wetlands and woodlands along the Columbia River tributaries and shores, these are maple trees that fell naturally or were removed responsibly at the end of their lives.
Rod Jacobs processed the maple logs at Unique Woods6 in Elmira, Oregon. As a skilled sawyer, he is able to cut the logs into the maximum amount of usable, stunning vertical slabs. Over a period of years, the slabs are then aged and finally kiln dried. This allows the wood to settle so that it will be resistant to warping and cracking, providing an heirloom quality material. No two slabs are identical, each with unique coloration and grain patterns.
For each project, James Lohman of Green Furniture Solutions peruses through hundreds of dried slabs that are transported from the mill to the lumberyard at Sustainable Northwest Wood. It takes a trained eye to see the hidden beauty of the unfinished slabs and hand select the pieces that will fit the needs of each client.
Once selected, each slab is put through a large machine planer to sand it down to a straight surface. From there, the slabs are oiled and the live edges sanded by hand. The process of sanding and oiling the slab is repeated multiple times. The result is finished pieces of maple with a striking sheen and a silky feel. Green Furniture Solutions uses a combination of natural oils and bees wax when oiling the slabs. This helps to protect not only the wood, but also the air environment. This natural finish is also easily maintained by the end user.
The finished maple slabs for Beneficial Bank were then matched and assembled into table tops. The highly skilled craftsman on this project endeavor to build sustainable pieces that will last. They use low VOC glues, finishes and long-lasting joining techniques to construct the table tops according to the specifications requested by Gelfand Partners Architects. Finally, table leg inserts were placed on the underside further prolonging the life of the tables. These inserts allow the table legs to be removed and replaced without damaging the wood.
All of the parties involved in this project for Beneficial State Bank are unified in their missions to conduct business in such a way that lessens the impact on our environment. In order to preserve the earth’s resources for future generations, businesses must constantly and consistently strive to improve their efforts to source sustainable furnishings. As you can see from this example, it is within easy reach to find services that you can feel good about.
1. Beneficial State Bank
Beneficial State Bank, headquartered in Oakland California, seeks to provide financial services to the “traditionally underserved” in order to empower those who have the interests of their community and the environment at heart.
2. Green Furniture Solutions LLC
Located in Portland, Oregon, Green Furniture Solutions, LLC specializes in environmentally-friendly office and commercial furnishings. Our salvaged and reclaimed wood furniture is custom-made using materials locally and sustainably sourced.
3. Gelfand Partners Architects
A progressive full service design firm in San Francisco who sets a powerful benchmark by implementing sustainable strategies such as utilizing Low-VOC paints and adhesives, reusing existing structures and materials, purchasing energy-efficient appliances and lighting and giving preference to local, sustainable and/or fair trade suppliers.
4. Sustainable Northwest Wood
A lumberyard owned by a non-profit organization whose mission is to support local small mills who harvest wood products sustainably. 100% of
5. Columbia Land Trust
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified Columbia Land Trust parcel near Rainier, Oregon. It is part of a Land Trust effort to restore salmon habitat along the Columbia River.
6. Unique Woods
Mill that is located in Elmira Oregon. Rod Jacobs of Unique Wood has been salvaging logs from pulp yards all over the Northwest for over 30 years. FSC ® Certified member with a group certification from Sustainable Northwest, certificate code: SA-COC-002372-54.