Concrete and Steel: 650 Townsend

The interior begins to take form.

Originally constructed in 1990, 650 Townsend is a 6 story concrete and steel office building. It has a total of 672,000 square feet, 8 elevators, underground and rooftop parking. The building has hosted a variety of businesses since opening. Channel Lumber provided products and services throughout various phases of the buildings original development and subsequent remodels and upgrades.

Graceful curves define each floor.

The building is the current HQ for gaming developer Zynga. The company purchased the building in 2012, at the beginning of a surge in commercial real estate prices. Zynga purchased the building for $228 million, about $317 per square foot. They are selling it at a considerable profit for $800 per square foot.

Detail of the wood railing.

In addition to Zynga, the building houses three additional tenants, each with unique hours and needs. The outdated HVAC system was not able to handle the needs of all the clients, had ongoing maintenance issues, and resulted in outlandish energy bills. Zynga, along with property managers Cushman and Wakefield eventually hired Syserco, an energy infrastructure specialist, and overhauled the HVAC resulting in a savings of $300,000 per year.

A sense of scale.

Channel Lumber is the industry leading supplier for construction products and services. For more information about Channel Lumber and our projects, please contact us.

Engineered Lumber

At Channel Lumber we offer a wide variety of building materials. There have been interesting advances in the world of engineered lumber — here is a pocket guide to the specialized lumber products we carry.

  • Glue-Lam Beams – Glue-Lam (or Glulam) is typically a large structural beam comprised of layers of smaller dimensional lumber laminated to end-use specifications. Glue-lam beams have a very high strength to weight ratio, and produce far less greenhouse emissions in their production compared to steel or concrete. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Glue-Lam is that can easily be made into arches and allow more design flexibility than lumber or steel.
Glulam beams the Sheffield Winter Garden. Find out more.
  • Parallam® PSL – PSL stands for parallel strand lumber. The parallel strands are typically veneers, and other non-dimensional lumber created in the process of cutting dimensional lumber. The strands are compressed and bonded with adhesive. The strands are not more than ¼” thick, and have a length of at least 300 times the least dimension.
  • Microllam® LVL – Microllam is similar to plywood in construction. The advantages of microlam are that the dimensions are uniform and predictable, and the product is very strong. It resists warping, and can be treated for weather protection.
Microllam LVL Beams
  • Timberstrand® LSL – Timberstrand is laminated lumber comprised of smaller timber that is not straight or strong enough to produce traditional dimensional lumber. This type of lumber has many advantages: it is free of knots, does not twist or bow, and it is stable and strong.

Lumber Types and Top Uses

lumber stack

At Channel Lumber, we carry a variety of wood and lumber products for applications in all types of construction. Many of our products are FSC Certified. Here we describe each type of wood and how it is typically used.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir has a range of uses, and is very common in structural building. It can be used for concrete forms, plywood, framing lumber, flooring, and cabinets. Douglas Fir is known an mix of strength and workability. Channel Lumber is a supplier for FSC certified Douglas Fir.

What is FSC Certified?

(From the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

There are three types of FSC label: 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.  Please click here to learn more.

California Redwood

Redwood is a premium building product. It can used in nearly every application of construction, from structural to finish. It is an excellent use for outdoor construction and siding as it contains a chemical that is resistant to insect infestation, rot and damage from water and other exposures. 

Channel Lumber offers Redwood in four grades: Construction Heart, Clear Heart, Green and Dry.

Western Red Cedar

This varietal grows in British Columbia. It is a large format, soft wood, know for its workability. It is commonly used in joinery, windows and cladding, siding, and external finishes. Western cedar is known for its rich and superb beauty and is a perfect choice for indoor and outdoor features. 

Pine

Pine is versatile and is common in high value items such as furniture. It it also common in cabinetry, flooring, siding, window frames, panelling, and roofing. Pine grows throughout the world, and it is used in cultures everywhere. If you had to choose one wood type for all your building needs, pine would be a good choice. 

Poplar

Poplar is often miscategorized as a soft wood, but it actually is a hard wood. It is seldom used for its appearance on its own, but because it has some characteristics in common with soft woods, it can be stained to look like more expensive varietals like cherry wood or oak. Poplar tends to scratch or dent easily so it is a good match for painted furniture. It is also a good fit for ceiling molding.

Ipe

Brazilian Ipe is a tropical hard wood that works extremely well in outdoor construction like decking, benches, fencing, and trellising. It is twice as dense and five times stronger than comparable hardwoods. It is extremely resistant to rot, water damage, insect infestations. It can often last out doors up to 75 years, 4-7 times as long as treated wood.

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The Sky is the Limit

Sales Force Tower

In addition to the many green projects we work on, we like to showcase innovative green and smart structures here at home and around the world, hi-lighting the cutting edge building technologies, products and designs that are now available.

Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco, with an overall height of 1,070 ft. In keeping with Channel Lumber’s high standards for sustainability and green building, Salesforce tower is pre-Certified LEED platinum.

Over a decade of planning went into bringing this icon into fruition. It is part of the Transbay redevelopment plan, which will develop offices, transportation, residential and retail uses.

The top portion of the building features an electronic sculpture, “Day or Night”, created by artist Jim Campbell. The sculpture projects images and video captured around the city on the same day.

The construction of the project is a massive achievement for modern day engineering, materials, and subcontractors. Starting at the ground level, the mat slab floor, the foundation of the building, is reinforced with #18 rebar, the largest available. The concrete pour for the foundation started at midnight and ran 14 hours, until 2 pm, at a rate of 900 yards per hour. This amount of concrete could fill 1,400 trucks. The rebar weighs a total of 5 million lbs. The core walls surrounding the mat slab floor are 4 feet thick, the thickest of any San Francisco building.

The pace of construction was extremely fast requiring flawless planning and execution. Once the foundation was laid, 2 floors per week were built on a round the clock schedule.

The building features a state of the art air distribution system, and blackwater recycling system, among many green features.

The building is currently at 97% occupancy, with Salesforce.com being the primary lessee.

Channel Lumber is active in its support of green, and LEED certified development. For more information Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us. Channel

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Smart and Green: The Manna House

Manna HouseChannel Lumber is committed to green and sustainable building. The Channel Lumber headquarters itself has many green amenities and features including a broad energy efficiency and solar generation platform.

In addition to the many green projects we work on, we like to showcase innovative green and smart structures, and the cutting edge technologies, products and design that are now available.

The Manna house in Los Angeles, designed by architect Jeremy Levine is a modern smart home that utilizes extensive sustainable systems, and recycled and non toxic materials. The flooring throughout the house is either recycled or unfinished plywood, as are the ceilings. All of the decking is composite recycled material. The kitchen and bathroom countertops were all poured in place with concrete using environmentally friendly fly ash.

The home is powered by a photovoltaic solar energy system. It also features a rain collection and grey water recycling system which are both utilized to water fruit trees and a garden. The passive cooling system is acheived by using low windows on one side of the house and high windows on the opposing side creating a natural breezeway, and a movable fan for days when there is no breeze.

Non VOC paints and stains were used, and all electrical appliances are energy star rated.

For more information about Channel Lumber’s continuing effort to promote green and sustainable building practice, please contact us.

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Channel Lumber Custom Lumber Shop: Corbels

In architecture a corbel is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket.

Stone corbels - Channel Lumber

An example of an ornate stone corbel on a building

You see corbels throughout San Francisco, and they are very common on Victorian homes. Many corbels on homes are made of wood, and as such are prone to rot over time. The corbels often have unique shapes, and we copy the shape to replace rotten corbels, and match any remaining corbels on the building.

Profile of a corbel

Close up of antique corbel.

Custom corbels are made according to the following steps:

  1. Wood of the proper thickness is chosen, or wood is laminated to achieve the desired thickness.
  2. The wood is run on the joiner, cleaning up and making smooth surfaces.
  3. The wood is chopped to length with a miter saw, giving two clean working ends.
  4. The wood is then run through the thickness planer bringing to the proper dimension.
  5. The outline of the old corbel is then traced onto the wood.
  6. The outline is cut with a bandsaw.
  7. The new corbel is sanded and painted as needed.

Rough hewn corbel - Channel Lumber

Close up of a corbel after being cut to shape with the band saw.

At Channel Lumber, we handle a wide variety of custom wood projects in our shop. For more information, please contact us.

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

Form and Function: 4 Types of Concrete Forms Available at Channel Lumber.

At Channel Lumber we specialize in concrete forms. We can meet the specifications of concrete formnearly any project large or small. There are several types of concrete forms we carry, and here is a description of the primary ones.

  • BBOES: BBOES is concrete forming plywood made from Fir trees. It is a popular and widely used solution for concrete forming. It is a stable, high strength 7 ply Fir veneer. The outside layers are B grade, and are sanded providing for a smooth finish on the concrete. Furthermore, the wood is oiled which makes it easier to separate from the concrete. It is reusable and has a long life span. BBOES typically comes in a standard ¾”x4x8 format.
  • Medium Density Overlay (MDO): MDO concrete forming plywood provides the builder with the option to choose the outside layer of the plywood, thus affecting the finish on the solid concrete. Typically the three outside layers would be Standard (best finish), High Mask (better), and High Resin (good). Aside from appearance, each finish offers other characteristics, for instance High Resin is the most durable. The panel faces are coated for for better separation from the concrete, and the edges are sealed to prevent moisture from seeping in and delaminating the plywood. MDO forming plywood comes in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.
  • High Density Overlay (HDO): HDO is a great option when a smooth or gloss concrete finish is desired. HDO plywood has minimal grain telegraphing, and offers the highest standard of quality assurance. If handled and cared for properly, HDOs can withstand 10 or more pours, which can make it a cost effective product.
  • Finland Form: Finland Form refers to a category of Birch Plywood, typically from Finland or Russia. Finland form is smooth, strong, durable, and performs well in avariety of applications. Finland Form comes is sanded smooth as a standard feature, and also can be ordered with a variety of overlays for desired concrete finishes. It is lightweight, relatively easy to machine, and custom sizing is available.

 

Channel Lumber is an industry leading supplier of concrete forms. Please contact Channel Lumber for all your concrete forming needs.

Resysta®: Seven Facts about this Leading Edge Product

TruGrain productTechnology is transforming the lumber industry, and Resysta® is at the leading edge. At Channel Lumber we are pleased to distribute and represent this Green building product. Here are some facts about Resysta® that can help you decide if it is right for your next project.

1. Resysta® is made of agricultural waste. About 25% of this is rice husks, a renewable product in great supply.

2. Resysta® looks like wood, and be repaired and treated like wood. It can be drilled, painted, oiled and sawed, with the advantage that it does not splinter.

3. Resysta® is not susceptible to insect infestation. It is water (even saltwater) resistant, slip resistant, and has a lifespan longer than wood.

4. Resysta® comes in a variety of formats, including decking, siding, and facade.

5. Resysta® does not contribute to deforestation.

6. Resysta® is class A fire resistant, will not absorb moisture, and shows no evidence of fungal decay in tests.

7. There have been many synthetic wood products that have come and gone over the years. Although many had excellent structural attributes, they simply did not have the warmth and look of natural wood. This is where Resysta® shines. It looks and feels the woods that are most popular in design and construction.

Channel Lumber carries a variety of Resysta® products. Please contact us for more information.

Photo Credit: WehoCity