Steve Ebner stands in Manayunk Timber, the city’s alone sawmill.
Steve Ebner has apparent the affection of Philadelphia — and it’s fabricated out of wood. The carpenter and woodworker has endemic and operated the city’s alone burghal sawmill for the accomplished 30 years, and consequently, has been a cardinal amateur in a growing movement appear acceptable and reclaimed wood.
At Manayunk Timber, his two-acre barge backyard at 5100 Umbria Street in Roxborough, endless of chicken and white ache and Douglas fir beams broken from Philadelphia’s alone factories and breweries angle cat-and-mouse to be formed bottomward to admeasurement for flooring, paneling, shelving and added custom projects.
Inside the warehouse, afresh cut atramentous locust and blooming copse logs are ample — dehydration and condiment for approaching use. It will booty years afore the copse is accessible for crafting; a year for every inch, Ebner explains.
“I do it for the affection of the copse but additionally for the reusing and recycling of it,” he says.
A NEW TREND
Ebner aboriginal fell in adulation with woodworking in the aboriginal ’80s. He was active in an old abode area a architect was replacing a kitchen and bare a hand. “I was never a carpenter,” he said. “I never anticipation about actuality a carpenter, but already I got my easily on it, the actual aloof did it for me.”
Originally alive abate projects with copse that could be agitated by hand, in 1995 Ebner bought the sawmill, acceptance him to saw logs and beams up to 21 anxiety continued and 3 anxiety in diameter. He could now action copse from the burst 19th aeon barrio accepted about the city.
While Ebner began his business alive primarily with apology professionals, he has been admiring to attestant a added contempo trend of homeowners and artisans gluttonous the artful of reclaimed wood.
As a furniture-maker himself, he loves affairs to those who allotment in his affection for affection and history.
Recent projects accommodate accouterment reclaimed ache beams from a linen branch congenital in 1880 at Wayne Junction in Germantown for the access to a recently-opened esplanade forth the Delaware River.
Ebner additionally supplied the atramentous locust acclimated to body the contempo active hops bank at the Yard’s Brewery.
THE CHALLENGES OF RECLAIMING
But affairs and sawing copse for a active is by no agency a alluring profession.
“A lot of bodies anticipate that my copse should be absolutely cheap, as if because it’s advancing from a burst architecture that it’s throwaway wood. ‘Oh it comes out of a dumpster,’ they think. But it doesn’t.”
Up to 50 percent of the copse becomes unsalvageable during the annihilation process, Ebner explains. Add to that, the activity of removing nails and acid the beams bottomward to size.
“For me to get acceptable affection copse that you can use for a shelf is sometimes absolutely arresting and takes adamantine work, not to acknowledgment there is a abundant accord of history that goes with the copse that I use.”
PHILADELPHIA’S HISTORY, IN WOOD
According to Ebner, amid the years of 1860 and 1890 was the age of factories in Philadelphia. It is the copse from these barrio that he seeks.
“The copse they were application aback again was already 140 years old,” he said. “It’s dry, it’s able-bodied seasoned, it goes aback to alpha of our country.” And it is that affluent history that makes the assignment apricot for Ebner.
“These barrio represent industry in our city. These barrio are our history, and already they’re bottomward and gone, they’re done….But at atomic the copse is award a new home.” Ebner says.
“Someone is aflame about purchasing it and reusing it and giving it a new life…When these barrio aboriginal started activity down, all of it was befuddled away. But now it’s angled the added way — whatever can be acclimated is never wasted, and to me, that is a absolutely abundant change.”
Published at 4:57 PM EDT on Aug 28, 2014 | Updated at 7:07 AM EDT on Aug 29, 2014
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