ReSawn Timber Co
Telford, PA

Living bamboo and dead/processed bamboo are both bamboo; living wood is a tree, and a dead/processed tree is wood. This fundamental difference in the way we relate to these materials signals a familiarity between the American Empire and wood, and the foreignness of bamboo to that same Empire. Those big brick houses down the street, the stone mansions, the Hardie-clad townhouses, are all framed in one of a dozen different types of wood, depending on where you’re building. But there are other worlds of wood too—the furniture-makers wood, the cabinet-maker’s wood, the wood used by the master carpenter to make the sacred temple. Why shouldn’t our houses be crafted like a fine wooden wardrobe? The benefits of living in wood are well-documented, and it doesn’t take Mass Timber to build a wood house. 2x’s, glulams, and plywood are readily available, installed by hand, and, despite their ubiquity, are totally under-considered as design elements. ReSawn Timber Co is rethinking the ways wood can relate to time, systematizing and advancing traditional techniques like charring, UV weathering, and applied chemical washes. Rather than manipulate the wood, sawmills take the right-tool-for-right-job approach. Believing hardwoods are underutilized in the US, ReSawn and other sawmills are making readily available conventional lumber from versatile but fringe hardwoods like black locust, sassafras and walnut—hardwoods that have the potential to reduce our dependence on exotic species like ipe and mahogany. With these small sustainably minded companies committed to contributing cost-competitive alternatives to the market, there may never have been a better time to use wood in American architecture.