Creating Complex Designs from Wood Products

Sep 09, 2014

 By Dianne Peck
 Senior Director, Office Services & IT Support

 One of the most striking components in the design of our lobby is the
 contrast created by the use of dark and light woods.

 We wanted our logo to be prominently displayed.  Since AF&PA
 represents the paper and wood products industry, it was decided that
 our logo should be made of member product, and wood was chosen.

The task was turned over to a craftsman (the mill-working subcontractor), who had no idea what challenges we were sending his way.

First, look at the final product. The dark wood behind our name is reclaimed Granary Oak, and Walnut provides the background for the tree.  The lighter wood used for the tree and the letters is plain sawn Maple.  See the intricacy of the tree and the letters?  There lay the challenge.

So, what’s so hard about cutting complex designs from wood?  Craftsmen, who work with wood, do such tasks all the time and achieve beautiful results.  The most common method for intricate cuts would be to use a laser.  But, a laser burns the edges of the wooden pieces as it cuts them.  We didn't want that.  We wanted clean edges on each beautiful Maple component of our logo. 

Ruling out the laser, the mill-worker decided to try a water jet.  Using a water jet to cut wood is a bit tricky.  You have to use just the right amount of water pressure to make the cut and avoid saturating the wood.  After a lot of experimentation, they nailed it!  The Maple tree and letters in our logo have precise, crisp edges that are smooth as silk to the touch.

We continued the contrast of woods on our receptionist desk. The predominant wood used in the desk is Walnut – dark and beautiful.  But the lighter quarter figured Maple draws the eye and really pops.  The result is extraordinary!