Skip to content

Furniture For Keeps: A New Approach to Sustainable Furniture Fabrication

During Autumn 2023, the Furniture Studio took a new approach to furniture fabrication. Rather than the traditional approach of having students purchase virgin lumber, UW Landscape Architecture chose to source lumber from the UW Salvage Wood Program for this year’s Furniture Studio cohort. This approach not only reduces the financial obligations of the students, but also reduces the environmental cost of creating furniture while building interdisciplinary relations across campus. To learn more about our furniture studio course and this unprecedented practice of utilizing salvaged wood, check out our StoryMap created by MLA student Joanna Chen!

Students Joey Hughes and Hanbeom Lee hand planing planks of maple (Photo: Steve Withycombe)

Early quarter design reviews on the salvaged wood furniture outside Architecture Hall (Photo: Steve Withycombe)

The Salvage Wood Program

Since 2009, the UW Salvage Wood Program has been reclaiming felled campus trees that would have otherwise been destined for disposal. The program is managed by UW Facilities Management, and operates several facilities across campus to mill, process, and store salvaged wood. Students in furniture studio were granted backstage access to these facilities to witness the lifecycle of salvage wood firsthand. Morgan Holtz, a UW Facilities worker and manager of the Salvage Wood Program, led a tour of the salvage yard in late September to show students how salvaged wood is milled and then laid out to dry in a wood kiln. In October, he gave another tour of the wood shop to show students where salvaged wood is stored and where custom salvaged wood projects are fabricated.

Furniture Studio Students Touring the Salvage Yard on 9/29/2023 (Photo: Steve Withycombe)

Furniture Studio Students Touring the Wood Shop on 9/29/2023 (Photo: Steve Withycombe)

Student Work

Following 10 weeks of instruction, the resulting products of furniture studio attest to the success of incorporating salvaged wood into the curriculum.

(Click on each image to expand it)

Special Thanks To:

Steve Withycombe and Marcus Crider (Teaching Staff)

Ken Yocom (Department Chair)

Rae Moore and Jack Bowen (Fabrication Lab)

Students of Fall 2023 Furniture Studio