Students at Brown Deer Middle/High School are developing shop skills and an appreciation for urban wood with help from The Urban Wood Lab Store by Hoppe. This past year, the Urban Wood Lab supplied about 500 board feet of urban ash for tech ed students to use in designing and producing fine woodcrafts. The students honed their woodworking skills in squaring lumber, planing, turning, finishing and laser engraving.
This marks the third year of our ongoing partnership, which began through the initiative of Tech Ed Teacher Craig Griffie. Plans are in the works to expand the partnership, so that the students’ nonprofit business, Falcon Enterprises, can earn revenue by processing wood and creating woodcrafts available for sale in The Urban Wood Lab Stores in West Allis and Caledonia. The funds will be used for student scholarships and to purchase new tools for the school’s workshop.
The ash supplied by The Urban Wood Lab Store came from trees felled in our region by Hoppe Tree Service. Rather than see homeowners’ beloved and often majestic trees go to waste, the Lab’s Grafton facility mills, kiln-dries and processes the wood for eventual sale to the public as woodworking material and dimensional lumber. Ash trees typically grow to be 40 to 60 feet tall, but with the Emerald Ash Borer crisis, millions of ash trees are dying. The woodcrafts made by Brown Deer Middle/High School students have a special story to tell because of their urban roots. The Urban Wood Lab processes and sells more than two dozen tree species growing in neighborhood yards, from walnut, red oak and Norway maple to elm, box elder and honey locust. Learn more about turning urban trees into locally-sourced, upcycled wood.
The students are taking Brown Deer Middle/High School Industrial Arts Wood Shop classes. The school is certified as a Pre-Apprentice Program with Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development. About 10% of its students go on to work in the skilled trades. Hoppe Tree Service and The Urban Wood Lab Store are happy to share the urban wood story with these students and give them an opportunity to get hands-on with Wisconsin’s beautiful urban wood.