Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates
December 8, 2021 | Issue-10
The Final Push

Welcome to the tenth edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter! Our planned schedule is to offer this newsletter every other month.

So, I was wrong. Last edition I hinted that the COVID crisis may finally be under control and then all of a sudden two more variants, Delta & Omicron appeared and once again we are dealing with increasing COVID cases. The big difference from last year though is that most of the population is vaccinated and so life seems a bit more "normal".

The final push to the end of the year is upon us - are you ready?! Over the past few weeks there has been a hint of winter in the air and in some places the flurries were flying! Fall brings more activity such as sawmilling and people ordering hand-crafted holiday presents. So are you ready for more tree felling, more milling, more making, more deliveries?

We hope that you find this newsletter useful and enjoyable, wishing all a wonderful Holiday Season!

Joe Lehnen
VA Dept of Forestry
Urban Wood Program Coordinator
Beyond the Board
Looking Beyond the Trunk

Many people, foresters included, tend to look at the trunk of the tree and marvel at it's size, straightness, its majestic presence. Yet as all wood workers know, there is much more good and interesting wood beyond the trunk. Even though the wood within the trunk may provide you with some of the finest tables, cabinets and shelving that you ever created, it is the other parts of the tree that will both test, and show-off your true artistic talents. So in this month's feature story, we look "beyond the trunk" at how some very creative crafters use parts of the tree that at one time may not have even been considered worthy of firewood!
Brad Wroblewski includes character features in some of the tables
Ryan Penner's innovative use of black walnut stumps!
Brad Wroblewski
Knoched VA
Harrisonburg, VA
Over the years I have used limbs and branches of trees for backing of bed swings, decorative fencing, corbels/brackets for shelving, stumps for bench and table bases and of course furniture. I have always enjoyed incorporating the twists and bends and turns of branches and limbs into my pieces, truly bringing nature inside the home.
I use flap discs, sanding discs and other sculpting tools along with a lot of elbow grease to remove all of the dead and pulpy wood. I finished the stump inside and out with a handful of coats of polyurethane.
As long as the wood has some integrity left to it, it’s always usable for me.

For more information about Brad Wroblewski's business or to contact him with questions, please visit the website:


Ryan Penner
RST Timberworks
Gloucester, VA

Ryan Penner of RST Timberworks is among our many veteran-owned urban/local wood businesses. Located in Gloucester VA, Ryan specializes in custom sawmilling, woodworking, live-edge lumber sales and kiln drying.

One of Ryan's more unique projects is the use of stump wood. "We literally rescued these black walnut stumps from the burn pile. We pressure washed off all the dirt and rocks and then trimmed all of the small roots with a chainsaw. Once we get it down to just the main root system we mill it out to roughly 3”x7” blocks at whatever length we can get from the stumps. This stump wood provides some beautiful grain patterns!" Further proof that with some vision and ingenuity all parts of the tree can be a usable urban forest resource!

Check out the RST Timberworks website to learn more about Ryan's business >>



Many thanks to Trees Virginia (Virginia's Urban Forest Council) for hosting this newsletter and allowing access to their Constant Contact platform!
The Virginia Urban Wood Program is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry and a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region.

The Marketing Corner

Take a Pic!

Are you about to work on a project that involves a tree removal? Before that tree comes down, take a photo, or request your client take one for you!

One of the best marketing tools for wood crafters is to have a photo of the tree from which their products come. This is especially important if the tree has sentimental value to the family, or if the tree is of historical significance. Having a photo of that special tree increases your marketing potential for all of the products it produces. Reminding folks what the tree looked like, where it was located, why it was an important part to the landscape upon which it was located, leads to more customer clicks saying YES, I want a piece of that history!

There is nothing more meaningful to a family on delivery day, that you not only leave them with a beautiful wooden creation, but also a framed pic of the tree from whence the wood came. Make sure that you make the frame from some of the wood that came from the tree. Trust me, they will always remember this extra special step and will be lifelong customers!