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With IWF 2018 in sight,  the show rollout begins

Tod Riggio

Tod Riggio

To my fellow procrastinators, it’s time to register, book a flight and find a hotel for the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. It’s only a few months away on Aug. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

There’s a show preview story on Page 8 predicting significant increases in show square footage, exhibitor count and attendance over IWF 2016. With the economy humming along, hopes are high for a bigger and better show that promises lots of innovation.

Once again, we’re partnering with the IWF to produce WoodTech News, a weekly e-newsletter full of show and exhibitor information that will run for approximately 15 weeks. If you find that you’re not getting WoodTech News, simply sign up at

To begin the blitz, I want to call your attention to a free seminar on the urban wood movement at IWF, scheduled for Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. (EST).

“The urban wood movement is preparing to charge into Atlanta for an encore performance at the International Woodworking Fair,” says Rich Christianson, the session’s moderator and communications director for the Illinois Wood Utilization Team.

The seminar will highlight the national momentum of the urban wood movement by bringing together representatives of newly formed groups in the Southeast, Midwest and West Coast.

The urban wood movement is essentially an effort to use city trees -felled by storms, death or other circumstances – as a renewable resource. It’s estimated that the U.S. could produce nearly 4 billion bf of urban wood annually to cushion local economies, reduce a municipality’s cleanup and landfill expenses, and provide a sustainable resource to beautify homes and neighborhoods.

There’s a story on Page 12 that chronicles the process. In this example, a village forester, woodworker and sawyer teamed up to turn a downed tree into three custom desks for the community. It wasn’t exactly a financial success, but more of a goodwill gesture that will reward the participants and community for years to come.

The seminar’s presenters will shed light on opportunities to repurpose urban wood otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill to make high-quality lumber, slabs, furniture, flooring and other wood products.

Specifically, attendees will learn about:

  • The marketing appeal of urban wood products. 
  • The environmental advantages of utilizing urban wood. 
  • How to find local sources of urban wood. 
  • How to join or start a local urban wood network.  

Panelists include Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products of Sheridan, Calif., and president of Urban Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods Inc., the West Coast’s first urban lumber trade network; Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products of Milwaukee, and founding partner of Wisconsin Urban Wood, a nonprofit focused on building networks of people and businesses that links material streams and availability of quality urban wood products and services across the state, and a representative of the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Attendees must register to guarantee a seat at the program. For more, visit

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue.

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