American Hardwoods: An Environmentally Friendly Resource

Written By: Bob Miller

Last month, I wrote about creating a healthy environment in your home for your family and pets by using products made from American Hardwoods. This month I will explain why these products come from one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly resources. 

Hardwood forests are prevalent in every state, in the U.S. mainland.  However, the eastern half of the U.S. grows the majority of hardwoods.  This region extends from Minnesota down to Texas, all the way over to Florida, up to Maine, and all states in between.     

The hardwood forests in the U.S. are very sustainable.  Sustainability occurs when there is an ecological balance when a resource is removed yet that resource is not being depleted for future generations.  Each year we have more growth in our forests than what is removed through timber harvests.  The American Hardwood Export Council has done an excellent job representing the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture’s data, by state.  Indiana is growing almost twice the volume than is harvested.   The U.S. is growing two and a half times more volume than is harvested.  Refer to www.americanhardwood.org/environmental-profile/interactive-forest-map to see this data.

Hardwood forests and the products manufactured from the hardwood trees are environmentally friendly.  Hardwood trees are constantly consuming carbon dioxide (CO2) to assist with the production of a glucose substance that trees use as food.  The tree will break the carbon dioxide compound down, utilizing the carbon molecule to produce the glucose substance, and emit the oxygen molecules into the atmosphere.  Carbon is a greenhouse gas that negatively impacts the environment; therefore, trees are essentially improving our world. 

Hardwood trees have a life cycle, and that life cycle is dependent on the tree species.  Typically, most tree species can live to be approximately 150 years old.  Disease (viruses and fungi), weather (lightning and wind), fire, or insect infestations will eventually take the life of the tree.  When a tree dies and begins decomposing in the forest, it will release the unused carbon back into the atmosphere, further contributing to negatively impacting our environment.  Forest management is the practice where timber, wildlife, and plant life are managed to maintain or improve the overall forest ecosystem.  When a tree is at the end of its life cycle, it will be harvested to open the canopy to get sunlight to the forest floor.  Tree saplings grow close to the forest floor and need sunlight to grow.  Sunlight gives saplings the opportunity to become bigger trees. 

The tree that was harvested in the prior example will also produce income to the landowner since it has value to the lumber industry.  The value in that tree will disappear once the tree falls and begins to decompose in the forest.  In addition, forest management creates jobs.  Jobs are created when the trees are manufactured into lumber, and when that lumber is utilized to manufacture furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and millwork.  In 2016, an economic impact study was completed that showed the economic output of the hardwood industry in Indiana was over $10 billion and that industry employed over 61,000 people.  Refer to http://hardwoodfederation.com/Hardwood-Industry-Economic-Impact to see this data.   

Let us circle back to the carbon stored in the tree, which is now in the lumber that was used to produce the furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and millwork.  That carbon will always be stored in those products while those products are in use.  Did you know 50% of the wood’s weight in the furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and millwork is the stored carbon? Be a part of positively impacting our environment by purchasing products made from American Hardwoods.

We have been blessed with a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource when it comes to the hardwood forests in the U.S.  Forest management will keep our forests healthy, reduce our carbon emissions, and improve the forest ecosystems.  The products manufactured from these trees are beautiful, resilient, environmentally friendly, and can be enjoyed for generations.     

Steve James headshot

Is Talent a Nemesis of Leadership?

An important lesson learned from President & CEO, Steve James

 Is talent a nemesis of leadership?  The answer is yes, or it could be.

Leadership is influencing others to be a better person than they were yesterday. It takes humility to be a great leader. Trying to advance others without a hidden agenda to better yourself is a desired leadership characteristic. Talent on the other hand, builds ego. Typically, you think of talent as either artistic or athletic, but talent also arises when you practice or gain enough hands-on experience. As I have told my team, I am going to write a book on how to become a CEO on mediocre talent. As I look back at my career, the times when I did not show humility and let my talent take over is when the team suffered.

A few months ago, we hired an individual that we had previously let go. I was angry and disappointed that I was not informed about the rehire. I immediately inserted a policy that required my approval prior to rehiring an employee.  This is an example of bad leadership. I let my talent get in the way of having a discussion with the team on what safeguards we needed to insert to protect fellow employees and the company. Inserting a policy that required my approval gave the team the impression that I didn’t trust them, which is far from the truth.

 Fortunately, I realized my mistake quickly. The team knows I trust them to make the correct decisions, however we are still dealing with some of the repercussions. As a leader, you always need to keep your talent in check. Uncontrolled, it can devastate your team. Luckily for me, my team rises above my talent and allows all of us to become better. Maybe one day I will write that book, I’m getting closer every day.

Creating a Healthy Environment for your Family

Written By: Bob Miller – Director of Strategic Planning

The pandemic has changed our lives dramatically.  More people are working at home in spare rooms functioning as office space, hybrid school models have turned dining rooms into classrooms, and for many, vacations are being spent grilling, chilling, and playing in the back yard.  All this at-home time has led to a home remodeling frenzy. 

And just like the rest of the world, my wife and I are looking to upgrade many of the rooms in our home – from the features and materials to the room’s functionality.  We have determined our number one priority is the health of our family – just how healthy and environmentally sound are the product choices we make?

Although cost is important, we will not sacrifice our health, or the health of the environment for a less expensive product. 

I am sure you are asking yourself; what products are unhealthy choices for my family, which also includes my pets?  First consider floor coverings.  Hardwood floors do not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), they do not trap allergens, or contain unwanted chemicals. Hardwoods are essentially organic! Other flooring options trap mold which enhances allergies, emit VOCs, and require harsh cleaning solutions to maintain.  It is important to do your own research on the many flooring options before making the purchase.  Do not limit your research – become knowledgeable about the adhesives used to install the product, as well as any underlayment/moisture barrier materials.  Choose low-VOC or no-VOC products for the health and well-being of your family!

As a family member of Frank Miller Lumber Company, I have grown-up surrounded by hardwood products in both my home and work environment.  I love the warmth and beauty of hardwoods in my home, and I enjoy the calming environment it creates in our offices.

I have found great information to help me with my healthy material choice selections on the internet and through various social media sources.  Visit www.HardwoodInfo.com  specifically https://www.hardwoodinfo.com/consumer/treasured-for-generations/creating-a-naturally-healthy-home/ ) to learn more about the benefits of using Real American Hardwood products. You can search Instagram and Facebook for #RealAmericanHardwood and #AmericanHardwoods to find many home remodeling ideas.  Your family will thank you and so will Mother Earth!

You can be confident knowing American hardwood products are one of the healthiest material choices for flooring, cabinetry, millwork, and furniture.  They are extremely easy to maintain and will last for generations.  Next month, I’ll explain why they are also one of the most environmentally friendly resources.

Washington DC

Hardwood Federation

The Hardwood Industry’s Voice in Washington D.C.

A note from the Director of Strategic Planning – Bob Miller

It was about 5 years ago when I was given the opportunity to be a board member on the Hardwood Federation (HF).  The HF is a coalition of hardwood industry associations, whose association members visit Washington D.C. each year, to meet with their U.S. Senators and U.S. House of Representatives to advocate for policy that directly impacts the hardwood industry.  The HF is a bipartisan association.  It supports all political parties and has a political action committee (PAC) that is funded by the members of the coalition of associations.  These PAC monies are used to help fund campaigns to keep our loyal advocates in office.

The hardwood industry is dependent on federal legislation.  We need to make sure all proposed legislation is good for our environment and for our industry.  This proposed legislation could affect forest management in our private and public forestlands where we are focused on producing better plant and wildlife habitat while reducing the chance of wildfires by removing excess forest fuel loads, environmental regulations when we utilize sawdust as a substitute fuel source to fossil fuels when drying our lumber and heating our buildings in the winter months, or when we are transporting our products on the state highway and interstate highway road systems and when those regulations differ between the two road systems.  Regardless, we must have a presence in Washington D.C., and I am privileged to be one of many in our industry given the opportunity to be an advocate for our industry associations, Frank Miller Lumber Company, and for the hardwood industry.    

Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

The hardwood industry’s voice would be ineffective and powerless in D.C. if we did not have advocates for our industry, our U.S. Senators and U.S. House of Representatives.  If it were not for these elected officials and their willingness to learn more about forest management and about our industry, the hardwood industry and our forest ecosystems would not be what they are today.  These Congressional leaders are the ones who carry our message on Capitol Hill.  As previously mentioned, we want to make sure these men and women remain in office, and the perfect vessel to help ensure that is with the HF PAC.  Last year I was given the opportunity to serve as the HF PAC Chair.  I have enjoyed that opportunity!        

Kauffman Center for Performing Arts: Helzberg Hall

The Truth About Quartersawn Red Oak!

Quartersawn Red Oak has increasingly found its place as a premium hardwood choice for flooring, cabinetry, millwork and furniture. It is readily available and affordable.

The straight grain of quartersawn Red Oak will restrict its shrinkage to the thickness of the board as opposed to width.

Our forest has an abundant supply of Red Oak, which has a stronger growth trajectory than popular alternatives.

Medullary rays are shorter in Red Oak resulting in subtly figured “quartered” boards and “rift” boards that display straight grain with minimal flake.

This also minimizes warping and cupping. Its inherent qualities of stability, beauty, and durability places Red Oak in the company of other premium American hardwoods.

Why Forest Management is Important to the Environment.

Are you concerned about our climate? This is what Frank Miller Lumber is doing to ease your concerns.

Most people have heard trees are the best asset when it comes to protecting our environment from changes in the climate.  Climate change is often debated.  Some say we are not experiencing a change in our climate and that we are going through historical weather cycles we once experienced; others tend to say the opposite.  Regardless of your position on climate change, maintaining healthy forests is key to improving the world we live in.  Trees consume carbon dioxide to convert that compound into a food source for the tree.  Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.  As trees consume and convert this compound using the carbon to help create its food, the trees respire the oxygen molecules for us to breath. 

Trees have a life cycle. 

A life cycle is nothing more than the number of years something is expected to live, be present, or exist before it dies, decomposes, or breaks down.  Through forest management, we remove the trees that are close to the end of their life cycle.  These trees will be manufactured into lumber to produce furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and millwork.  Better yet, you remember the carbon in these trees.  This carbon will be stored in these products indefinitely as long as these products are in use.  If a tree falls over and decomposes in the forest, it will release the unused carbon that it once stored.  That carbon will go back into the atmosphere.       

Not only do trees help us by taking a greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere and provide us with oxygen, but did you know trees are also a renewable resource?  A renewable resource is anything that can replenish itself.  So, when forest management is performed where trees are removed, new trees will grow from the stumps and root systems that remain in the forest.

Our nation has been truly blessed with some of the best forests in the world.  For these forests to be enjoyed on into the future and for us to have a better environment to live in, we must understand that forest management is essential in these forests.                           

Learn more about FSC-certified Hardwood.

Growth and Expansion Coming to Union City

Plant 2 in Union City, Indiana
Plant 2 – Union City, Indiana

UNION CITY, IND. (Tuesday, June 4, 2019) – Frank Miller Lumber is delighted to announce the start of a potential $3.4 million investment at the headquarters in Union City, Indiana. The project that will bring growth and expansion to the local community is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.

The investment will have multiple phases that will involve transferring the Salem, Indiana operations to Union City and listing the concentration yard for sale. Relocating the Memphis, Tennessee brokerage facility to be in-house, adding a walnut steamer, upgrading the 300 Hurst Boiler to accommodate additional steam required, and adding extra capacity for the kilns.

“We are excited about these new endeavors within our Company, and we are confident this will strengthen the Union City facility and allow us to continue to be a leader in the lumber industry,” stated Frank Miller Lumber’s President and CEO, Steve James.

 “As we continue to make plans to improve our efficiencies, there is an opportunity for future improvements and growth,” commented James. After the phases are completed, an additional 15 employees will be required.

For more information regarding Frank Miller Lumber, visit www.frankmiller.com or contact Steve James at (765) 964 – 3196.

Frank Miller Lumber (www.frankmiller.com), established in 1903 in Union City, Indiana, produces premium quartersawn and plainsawn hardwoods for manufacturers of fine furniture, cabinets, architectural millwork and flooring. Frank Miller Lumber’s quartersawn products are used in high-end commercial and residential construction around the world. 

Reasons Why You Should Consider Hardwood Flooring Exposed.

Since the dawn of time, humans have argued over a very pressing issue: hardwood or carpet flooring? The debate continues to this day – some will praise the comfort a carpet provides while others prefer the more polished look of hardwood floors. But we hold a firm belief that, no matter what, hardwood floors are the way to go. Below is a list of reasons why you should consider hardwood flooring exposed.

1. Hardwood floors are easier to clean and maintain.

Carpets are prone to holding dust, skin, and hair. To get rid of these stomach-churning particles, you’ll need to vacuum. If you want them eliminated almost entirely, a professional carpet cleaning service might be necessary. Luckily, hardwood floors don’t hold on to these particles. A quick sweep or mop will do the trick to keep your floor clean. We also all know the dreaded feeling of spilling a drink on carpet – it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the whole stain. With hardwood floors, just grab a paper towel or rag, and you’re good!

Hardwood Flooring Exposed.

2. Hardwood floors are more durable and longer lasting.

As long as your hardwood floor is properly maintained, it can last for decades. Even a dent in the floor can be alleviated easily with a minor repair. They can be refined and polished to keep fresh and clean. Hardwood floors also take much longer to go out of style – remember shag carpets? Yeah, we’d like to forget that, too.

3. Hardwood floors are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

While carpeting is usually manufactured with synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester, hardwood floors come from nature’s greatest gift: trees. They are produced naturally and created using the most abundant renewable resource in the world. You also have the option to research how sustainable your hardwood flooring really is using industry standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council and other like-minded organizations.

4. Hardwood floors can help you save energy.

Since wood is a conductor, hardwood floors allow the heat to pass through and circulate in your home, unlike carpet which acts as a barrier for hot air. This means longer-lasting heat, and consequently, less work from your furnace, and most importantly, lower heating bills.

5. Hardwood floors simply look more stylish.

Hardwood flooring is becoming trendier as the years go on. There is a seemingly endless amount of wood types, colors, and designs you can choose from that can bring out your inner interior designer. Different stains and polishes can help make your floors even more unique. Plus, a rug can really tie a room together.

Let’s face it: carpets are losing their popularity. If you want to keep current, hardwood flooring is the most logical option. For environmentally-conscious folk, there is nothing better for a home than a nature-friendly material like hardwood. And for those who love interior design, there are more opportunities to use your creativity and imagination, enabling you to put together a perfectly styled home. If you are currently building or planning on building a home, definitely think about installing hardwood instead of carpet – maybe, soon enough, this debate will end for good.

Unusual Myths about the Lumber Industry.

When pondering over the current state of our environment, many people begin to envision a futuristic world consisting of chrome and steel. In this version of a future reality (often seen in post-apocalyptic films and TV shows), humanity has wiped out forests in their entirety. Land that was once full of life is now a desolate wasteland. Natural geography is vastly unrecognizable from what it was long ago. Construction and development needs are put above the ecosystem but now, it’s too late to go back and warn everyone of the dark path ahead. Learn more about the unusual myths about the lumber industry below. 

We understand it is not easy to be optimistic. But remain calm! In reality, the forests of the world, especially in the United States, have proven to remain sustainable and usable for the foreseeable future. Specifically, the lumber industry though seemingly contradictory has created clear initiatives to ensure that this haunting vision of a post-apocalyptic world won’t happen.

Still, many misconceptions remain. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest myths about forest management and the lumber industry’s impact on our environment. We hope that by the time you’ve finished reading, your perception of the future will change for the better.

Unusual Myths about the Lumber IndustryMyth: Cities and urban areas are taking over forests and trees

Fact: The volume of U.S. hardwoods has actually increased by more than 90 percent in the last half-century while forest acreage has increased by 18 percent. And despite a 165 percent growth in population since 1920, U.S. forest acreage has continued to remain stable.

Myth: The only easy way to obtain wood is through clear-cutting entire forests

Fact: The preferred method of harvesting hardwoods is in fact single-tree selection, as opposed to clear-cutting. With single-tree selection, trees are carefully selected for harvest, most of them aged to maturity. This careful removal of selected trees creates openings in the forest canopy, allowing more precipitation, nutrients and sunlight to reach the forest floor. Seedlings are then free to sprout and grow naturally. This results in a much more sustainable outcome than solely using the clear-cutting method.

Myth: Using steel, aluminum, and concrete for construction is better for the environment

Fact: Wood represents 47 percent of all raw materials used in the US, but the energy to produce wood products accounts for just 4 percent of the energy used to make all manufactured materials. In fact, using materials like steel, aluminum, and concrete require significantly more energy to produce, install and dispose of at the end of their natural life cycles as compared to American hardwoods.

Unusual Myths about the Lumber Industry

Myth: Wood may have been a great choice in the past, but we’re in the future now

Fact: Sometimes, the oldest way is the best way. To this day, wood proves to be the best material for construction. Of course, we don’t use the same old tricks anymore — modern wood manufacturing processes have become extraordinarily efficient. Virtually every part of the log is used as lumber or valuable by-products, while finished wood products are reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. Forest sustainability organizations now reach far and wide.

The Verdict

American hardwood harvesting is efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. We know it sounds contradictory, but it is the truth using lumber from America’s lively forests can actually help save the world as a whole.

Frank Miller Lumber is dedicated to this idea of sustainable forest management. Our FSC-certified lumber is used in many projects that meet LEED standards and we continue to run a “zero-waste facility” at our sawmill. Not only does our lumber come out beautiful, authentic, and durable, it also adds to our mission of sustainability.

Hopefully, this cleared up a few misconceptions about the lumber industry and the use of wood products. Next time you build a new home or simply buy a new desk for your study, remember: you could have a role in saving the environment.

For more information on sustainability initiatives within Frank Miller Lumber and the American hardwood industry, go to our Sustainability page.

Customer and Community Projects: User-submitted woodworking projects we feature on our social media!

Frank Miller Lumber social media followers who have been with us for the last year might have noticed some major changes in our activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We are now more committed than ever to engaging more often with the community and Frank Miller Lumber customers across the nation and around the world. Something we did not expect to do was discover an extremely creative group of people who have a deep passion for woodworking.

Woodwork Wednesday was met with immediate popularity when we began the push for submissions earlier this year. We started by calling on our followers to send in their woodworking projects which, as of today, has given us a wide range of results: nightstands, bed frames, tables, chairs, and even a Star Wars lightsaber replica. Tapping into this woodworking community has also showed how important our lumber is for handmade furniture, decor, and passion projects, in addition to the large architectural projects for which we are known. It showed us that Frank Miller Lumber can be used from the smallest of projects (like a bunk bed set for grandchildren), to the largest, (like the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia).

All of us are amazed by the hard work our friends and customers from the Frank Miller Lumber community have put into these passion projects. It’s our goal to create an entire page on our website dedicated to all of the Woodwork Wednesday submissions and the stories behind each piece. For the remainder of this blog, we’d like to share some of our favorites so far.

The first Woodwork Wednesday submission we received blew us away and exceeded all expectations. Matt Carter from our own Union City, IN, created this unbelievable replica of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber using our retail store’s cherry hardwood. (See image above).

Bernie Spencer sent us a red oak constructed round etagere perfect for displaying decorations in any setting ― made with Frank Miller Lumber hardwood.

 

 

Ralph Walker from Columbus, Ohio, was featured for his folding chairs made with Frank Miller Lumber’s quartersawn white oak. Ralph built 16 of these at the time of this submission, with a plan to build 14 more. Not only were the chairs remarkable, but the photos looked equally spectacular!

 

 

One of the more endearing feats of construction that we showcased were Keith Mealy’s bunk beds built for his twin granddaughters, which could also be unbunked and used as single beds!

 

 

These are just a few examples we have showcased over the course of the last few months, which you can see through our weekly social media posts. It has been an inspirational experience seeing how much Frank Miller Lumber impacts the community with our wood in home projects,  and woodworking businesses.

Please send us your work via a Facebook message or our email (frankmillerlumber@gmail.com). We love hearing the stories behind some of them, so remember to include a quick description of the piece along with where the lumber was bought (which we hope is from Frank Miller Lumber!). Stay tuned in the coming months for a new web page including all past, present, and future submissions ― your work could be showcased and archived on the official Frank Miller Lumber website!

Keep on woodworking ― you continue to amaze us.