Alaskan Yellow Cedar

sail boat - channel lumberTransformational Sailing is an organization which helps Veterans and others with stress related disorders find relaxation through sailing. Their motto reads “The Power of Healing Through Wind, Sea, and Sky”. The organization is also involved in boat building for which Channel Lumber recently donated Alaskan Yellow Cedar.

Sailing is an activity which can provide a climate for community building, safe communication, working as a team and relying on others, to name just a few of the benefits. For veterans who have become disconnected through war related trauma, Transformational Sailing offers participants a chance to recover a normal, healthy lifestyle, and relate to others with similar experiences.

The Transformational Sailing website features several videos where the participants are asked what the highlight of their day was. Gerry, a former WWII captain answers “getting the feel of the helm again. It’s good to get back on the wheel”. Jason, another Veteran, simply answers “To feel human again. To get to be just like everybody else.” The testimonials are heartfelt and powerful.  They communicate what a needed and transformational experience these sailing voyages provide.

The sailing trips are typically about three hours throughout the Bay. Newcomers often just sit and enjoy the adventure, but over time participants learn sailing skills, and have progressively hands on experiences including manning the helm.

To find out how to get involved and or make a donation please visit the Transformational Sailing Website.

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Channel Lumber is Friends with the Napa River

napa river

Friends of Napa River (FONR) is a community organization whose mission is to “be the community’s voice for the protection, restoration, responsible development and celebration of the Napa River and its watershed through education and advocacy.”

The organization recently hosted the “Living River Celebration” event at the Westin in Napa to honor the elected officials who have supported FONR, and specifically the Oxbow Bypass Flood Channel project. Channel Lumber has been a long-standing supporter of FONR, and was a donor for the event.

Historically, the Napa River is prone to flooding. In downtown Napa, the river makes a hairpin turn and when water levels are high, the river naturally floods into a straight line. This causes damage to infrastructure, and has prevented the downtown from being developed as insurance companies would not cover flood damage in the area.

Twenty years ago, the Army Corp of Engineers proposed a cement channel to redirect the river in downtown Napa. The residents of Napa did not like the aesthetic of the channel, and subsequently the “Living River Plan” was created. The plan involved buying land along the river, removing infrastructure and toxic soil. It also included a more appealing Oxbow Bypass, which eventually became a park and trail network along the river known as the Oxbow Commons.

The community voted to fund the project with a small sales tax. The tax along with matching grant funds and private donations has paid for the Living River Plan so far. The strategy has been successful with the ecosystem being restored, animals returning, and development in downtown Napa. There are still more phases of the plan to be completed and FONR is actively working with the community and government to fulfill the vision of the Living River Plan. Please visit the Friends of Napa River website for more information.

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Making the Grade

Because wood is an organic product, a wide variety of factors can affect the usability, structure, look, and strength of a given harvest. Even within a species of tree, great variations can exist. This is why lumber grading exists. Lumber grading is the process of assessing the quality and characteristic of the lumber. This way both the producer of the dimensional lumber and the builder can agree on what the product is and how it can be used.

To insure the highest level of consumer trust, and professional consistency, Channel Lumber employs the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau (WCLIB) to inspect and randomly pull grades to insure that Channel Lumber is shipping ongrade products.

What are the specific grades for lumber? This is a complex question, given the different species of lumber, and the diverse milled products on the market, but let’s try to simplify. Hardwoods and softwoods have different rating system. We will only be talking about softwoods here, as these are most common in general construction.

The rules for grading softwood are written by the American Lumber Standard Committee. The rules vary regionally to address local conditions of logging, etc. Softwoods are generally graded into three categories:

  • Appearance (wood that will be seen, like flooring and siding).
  • Factory and Shop Grades (wood for remanufactured products like doors, and window frames).
  • Structural (graded from strength. Appearance is secondary or non-consideration).

For more information about our mill work, products or services, please contact us.

Evolution of the Sawmill

Old time sawmillThe earliest type of sawmill, or lumbermill,  was the sawpit. The sawpit was a pit overwhich the log was positioned and held in place by saddleblocks. The “top” sawyer would balance himself atop the log, and guide the blade for accuracy. This required strength, stamina, and skill. The “bottom” sawyer worked in the pit below, primarily providing muscle. The pit was often a basin of water, and the pit sawyer had to battle a constant downpour of sawdust. The two men used a two handled “whipsaw” to rip the lumber. Using this system the team could produce roughly a dozen boards per day. This was tough, demanding work. Sawpits were integral to early ship building.

As early as the 3rd century AD, the water powered mill was invented, and was widely used up until the industrial revolution. The water powered mill operated essentially the same way as a modern mill with respect that uncut lumber enters at one end and cut/dimensional lumber exits at the other end. The watermill used basic crank and connecting rod technology. As the watermill evolved, eventually water was also used to float the timber into position, thus alleviating the need for intensive manual labor to handle the timber. Windmill sawmills were also prevalent during this time period, and used the same connecting rod technology, simply substituting wind power for the water wheel.

With the arrival of the industrial revolution, several advancements were made, First, the circular saw had been invented. The greatly increased the speed of production, while decreasing maintenance needs. The second improvement was the introduction of the steam engine. This had several impacts. First, because of steam engine trains, lumber could be easily transported in larger quantities. Previous to the train, mills had to be built near rivers or lakes, which were the primary means of transporting heavy timber. With the train, sawmills could be built on site, wherever they were needed. An added advantage was that timber by-products, sawdust, branches unusable timber, etc. could be used to fuel boilers and kilns.

Today, sawmills have advanced to become highly efficient, computer controlled machines. The saws themselves are similar to their predecessors, with faster,  better components. Now when log arrives at the mill, it is analyzed by lasers which tell the machinery which types of cuts will provide the most yield. Furthermore, 100% of the wood fiber is used. The sawdust, chips for the kiln, bark for much, and miscellaneous pieces for paper, or composite forest products.

For more information on Channel Lumber millwork, or other products and services, please contact us.

Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

Channel Lumber Holiday Party

Employees and guests of Channel Lumber gathered at the Monterey Plaza and Spa to celebrate the holidays, and a year of teamwork and success. A good time was had by all. Here are a few photos of the event.

Arriving to Monterey. Nice day for a party!


Town Greeter.

Dinner Menu

The delicious menu.

Getting into the Holiday spirit.

Enjoying a fantastic meal with coworkers, family and friends.

Christmas Dinner


Speech at dinner



Dessert Buffet

And at last…a Holiday Dessert!

2017 was great year at Channel Lumber; thank you for your partnership and business!

Happy New Year!

The Cutting Edge: 5 Products and Services at Channel Lumber

Happy worker at Channel Lumber.At Channel Lumber we are proud to offer a wide variety of industry leading products and services. From lumber and plywood to hardware to lumber grading, Channel Lumber has a depth of professional solutions for large and small scale construction projects. Here is an outline of 5 products and services at Channel Lumber.

  1. Green Building. Channel Lumber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), and works closely with the  Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®). The FSC® has a 10 point mission which protects and preserves our forests globally. These include protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, maintaining long term social and economic well being of forest workers, conserving biodiversity, water resources, soils, assessing conditions of forests, and maintaining of high conservation value forests. Forests cover 30% of the Globe, with 70% of animals living in forests. LEED® is symbol of achievement in Green Building. LEED® provides a framework by which all building projects can be rated for sustainability. Their goal is to create highly efficient, cost effective, healthy Green Buildings.
  2. Concrete Forms. Concrete is a very versatile material in that it can be molded into a wide variety of useful shapes. Concrete forms  are wooden forms which outline and mold the concrete while it dries. Channel Lumber is an industry leader in concrete forms, which have given shape to countless projects including Caldecott Tunnel, Golden Gate Bridge retrofit, and Levi Stadium.
  3. Mill Work. Channel Lumber offers top notch mill work. Perhaps you have a unique design that requires custom wood. Channel Lumber can mill the wood to your specs. Or perhaps you are renovating a house, and can’t find a perfect match for a beam. Channel Lumber can make it.
  4. Sidings. Channel Lumber has stock siding in several materials including cement, plywood, hardwood, shingles, and metal. If you don’t find what you are looking for or have a custom design, Channel Lumber can build it to your specs.
  5. Project Management. For over 50 years Channel Lumber has consulted with architects, contracts, engineers, and city planners to help navigate large development projects in the most efficient, cost effective way. By working with the design team from the earliest stages of a project, Channel Lumber can effectively help with material selection, and help process the difficult building regulations here in northern California so that costly delays can be avoided.

For more information about our products and services, please contact us. 

Sound Off: New Dolby Headquarters

Dolby Laboratories HQIn September 2015 Dolby Laboratories opened its new headquarters on Market Street in downtown San Francisco. The building was a consolidation of two separate buildings, one in Potrero Hill, one South of Market. The renovation of the former State Insurance building utilized a significant supply of fire treated Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) lumber provided by Channel Lumber.

Dolby Laboratories is known worldwide for creating the seminal circuit which removed unwanted noise and hiss from sound recordings. The circuit was patented in 1969 by inventor and founder Ray Dolby. The name Dolby since has become synonymous with industry leading sound production, and is used widely for sound recordings for movies, and popular music.

Several artists were commissioned in the design of the new facility, and the office transitions seamlessly from open, revolving work space to art installations, infusing the headquarters with creativity and innovation. The traditional cubicle format was abandoned to encourage employees to experiment and express themselves through their work environment.

In addition to sound production, Dolby Laboratories also features on site theaters, and a research facility which, among many, conducts experiments on how sound and media affect human physiology.  Current popular releases using Dolby are too numerous to list and include “Ghost in the Shell”, and “King Arthur”. For more information about how Channel Lumber can provide lumber, concrete, and services to your business, please contact us.

Photo: Mike Renlund

Hip to be Square

For a group of employees who affectionately refer to themselves as “Nerds”, the employees of Nerdwallet have one of the hippest HQs in San Francisco. Located at 901 Market the company is housed in one of the most competitive, emerging commercial neighborhoods in San Francisco.

The new Nerdwallet digs can house up to 300 employees, though when they moved in they had roughly 150 employees. The feel of the office is light, with lots of comfortable, non traditional places for employees to meet and break away. Sun filled corners, all window conference rooms, bean bags, all add to this home away from home ambience.

In addition the facility features free yoga and boot camp classes, free catered lunches, and a fully stocked bar (JD81) with over 80 spirits that employees can mix and match. Oh, and of course there is a ping pong table.

Channel Lumber provided a variety of products and services for this visionary project. For more information on how Channel Lumber can help your next project, please contact us.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Building Green. What does it mean?

At Channel Lumber, sustainable building is one of our primary goals. Sustainability and “Green” building means that the process of construction, from forest growth and management, harvesting, transportation, on site materials and procedures, recycling and refuse, and the functioning of the completed facility all adhere to the highest standards of eco-sustainability.

Channel Lumber is Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), the United States’ highest standard for forest management and lumber products. Channel Lumber also works closely with LEED standards, which provide a framework and grading scale to help projects find the most cost effective way to build green. More information on both of these are outlined on the Green Building page of our website.

There are so many design features that can help to create more sustainable structures, and better forest management. Simple concepts— building near public transportation to minimize driving resources, positioning a building to maximize solar sun exposure and natural warming, and even building smaller. Sharing structural materials and building the foundation and roofing surface areas up instead of out are additional ways to improve environmental efficiencies. Builders can cut costs and create unique designs by reclaiming and reusing lumber and materials.

For more information on Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us.

Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management

Naples Botanical Gardens

The Naples Botanical Gardens in Florida is 170 acres of cultivated gardens representing seven distinct ecosystems. The natural habitats of the gardens showcase ecosystems between the 26th parallels, north and south.

The Garden was founded in 1993, and completed in 2014, with Channel Lumber providing products and services throughout the development of the property. One major phase of the construction consisted of the digging of two lakes, Deep Lake and Lake Tupke. The 250,000 yards of excavated fill from the lakes was then used to sculpt the grounds.

In addition to the Gardens, the facility also houses the Florida Gulf Coast University Harvey Kapnick Research and Education Center, as well as assorted shops and a Cafe.

Flowers are naturally among the key attractions at the Gardens, especially flowers of fragrance. Color flowers use their color to attract pollinators (insects, birds) in the daytime. However many flowers, the more fragrant ones, are white and produce intense fragrances at night to attract night pollinators such as moths, birds, and even bats. The Gardens have several flowers on which the top perfumes in the world are based.

For more information about Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us

Photo credit.