Archive for February, 2013

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Crew from Armster Reclaimed Lumber Co. begins dismantling work on the Rockaway boardwalk. A frigid day for a small battalion on the front lines of global warming. 

photoWork continues under Armster Reclaimed Lumber Co. with five employees. The first version of the Rockaway Wrecker proves too soft, using soft steel that bent under the stress of dense tropical hardwoods screwed with three inch bolts to the sub-structure. The boards are then piled in about forty piece lots on pallets along the boardwalk, waiting to be moved by a pallet jack to another area where they will be loaded into containers. The process seems to work best with two people prying up boards together on opposite sides. The work was difficult, even for people used to physical labor, as it used new muscles. Plywood was placed across areas where joists were removed to provide a stable surface for workers. The beach was quiet except for the occasional dog walker, with the beautiful views – the ocean going to the horizon with southern Long Island seen in the distance. The sea gulls were frequent, but the piping plover must have migrated for the winter. plenty of litter under the boardwalk – an intimate but rank type of housing, the beaches version of a cellar. 

photo copy 2The Rockaway Wrecker, designed by Klaas Armster – for decking removal at the site. Hurricane Sandy removed the boardwalk (from it’s piers), the Army COR of engineers lead troops in hauling it to the landfill. A custom welded hand tool was prepared to picked up what remained. 

photoThe Army COR called to say that they ‘…want to support our efforts’ and are willing to provide container service of the lumber at the site. So we needed to drop D Daniels hauling at 200.00 per container. Encountered strong resistance of the boardwalk decking within one section, approx. 1800 sf – moved through it, though at a time cost. Canvased for space in the area. More bitter winds. Rockaway still seeming half alive. Stopped off at Madeline Chocolates, where I was previously reprimanded by police for taking a handful of wooden pallets from the sidewalk. The building has no windows and when I entered (two guys were coming out a side door with garbage), there was room after sprawling room of machinery. Finally reached one of the managers that said (about the wooden pallets)…”take all you want”. 

photoMore chilly winds through the day, as the crew worked to finish removal of boards at B 86th. Six people from Armster Reclaimed and three hired through Craigs List (among close to 300 people that responded to the ad for post-hurricane clean-up). A lot learned in the first week – the pallet jack on day one and the reality of how long the work can reasonably take – in time. Klaas visited the site with his brother Sven to assess the strategy for the B 106th site. Prospects for working with an excavator at B 96th St. NYC Parks seems to be going along with our plans, even if the process has been more prolonged than expected. Ashnu Int’l staff person was said to have hostile approach to workers. Unions starting to circle around the job. Hoping to finish the three sections before a more difficult encounter happens. Decision to start sending loads to Riis Park – we’ll just need to meet safety standards. End of the day, Klaas and I stopped by a lot in the area, where a few truckloads of boardwalk was being stored – how it was acquired is still a mystery. Can the woods be purchased? The project is about 33% closer to 100% recovery – of the boardwalk decking.   


This years choice for the Times Square Valentine’s Heart Design went to Heartwalk, by Brooklyn based Situ Studio. The salvaged lumber for the heart shaped installation – some of it supplied by Sawkill Lumber Co. – was salvaged from storm damaged boardwalks at Atlantic City, Long Beach and the Rockaways. 

Heartwalk, was unveiled on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, and will remain on view until March 8, 2013. The jury included Barry Bergdoll, The Museum of Modern Art; Susan Chin, Design Trust for Public Space; Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Alliance and others.

Situ Studio took inspiration from the collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times. Heartwalk begins as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square. Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city.

“This heart is a frame for lovers and a great civic gesture commemorating the outpouring of support and help in the wake of Sandy. said Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and jury member. Heartwalk is a heartwarming stage on which to pause for a moment in the heart of the world’s busiest intersection—a swell of emotions that can dialogue with the TKTS pavilion and the great cacophony of Times Square.”

The dialogue may also bridge any remaining split in our thoughts about global warming. The lumber for the design was originally logged in the South American Rainforests and includes exotic tree species such as Ipe, Cumaru and Angelique – woods that are three times harder than Oak and prized for nearly supernatural resistance to rot and insects. Controversy over their use led New York City, the largest consumer of tropical woods, to essentially ban their use for boardwalks and other parks uses. The Heartwalk installation is also a hopeful response to Rainforest destruction, an expression of love and it’s powers of transformation.

Bradley Samuels, Situ Studio partner, said, “We were interested in creating a room within the city—a public space that was simultaneously interior and exterior. Taking inspiration from the collective experience of Sandy, Heartwalk is a reflection on the things that bind us together, ephemeral and permanent.”

Cheerios is the official sponsor of Heartwalk. Additional Support has been provided by Arup Acoustics, Renfro Design Group Inc., Two Trees Management, HD MADE, JPR Lighting Group, Electrical Lighting Agencies and Sawkill Lumber.

Visit these sites for more information and public images.







Situ Studio of Brooklyn will drop a love bomb into Times Square in the form of a giant illuminated heart, constructed from the salvaged lumber of hurricane ravaged coastline areas. When the project was short of the required material, Sawkill Lumber Co. supplied the balance. 


IMG_7895Six of the twelve hand crafted furniture pieces that stretched the possibilities of reclaimed antique wood as modern design, are now available. The works include a see-saw from the lumber of a Meatpacking District warehouse, Curly Pine shelving from a WWII Harlem shock absorber factory, the classic Emerson writing + drafting table, distillery Oak finds new task as liquor shelf, an endless bench from a Bronx warehouse and an Agnostic Confessional. To feel even better about the furniture, proceeds benefit the not-for-profit Brooklyn Woods and their innovative programs in wood shop job training. Check out the one of a kind works at


heartwoodsofnyc_logo 2Regularly in stock — antique Eastern White Pine, Longleaf Pine, Black Spruce and Douglas Fir – originally harvested in the 1800’s to early 1900’s, and representing successive eras of historical use – as structural lumber and timber – throughout the region. Reach us with questions or for sample requests.   


SUPER CITY MEATS, INC. Established: Jun 12, 1979 Demolished: December, 2012.


Mcsweeney’s writer on trees, literature and modern football. Go Trees! 

“A lot has changed in King’s County since Betty Smith penned her first novel in 1943. In those days, only a single tree grew in Brooklyn, now there are four.” The full story at – Timothy Leo Taranto

Occasionally we find barns that were sided with oak and never painted.  These barns have gone to a nice silver grey color and the wood is highly desirable for rustic paneling applications.  Supply is always tight, but we usually can come up with some.  Roughly 3/4″ thick, random width and 4-12′ long.

Maple is not an especially common reclaimed wood and when we do find it we usually stay away from it because it is often buggy and not very attractive.  This lot is unique in that is came from a house and there were no bugs.  It is very clean stock and combined with the wide widths it makes for a very unique batch of material.  Not much available but should make some nice furniture.