Beyond the Build


Our Woodworking Barn Gives New Life to Trees Cut on Site

With the green movement in full swing, we’re seeing lots of great trends towards sustainability. One that’s caught my attention is “certified wood”, a term encouraging us to know the type of forestry or origins of the wood used in the products we select.

In our work, we have access to wood on commercial project lands and feel it’s an important green initiative to work with those trees respectfully. As a company, we like to think we’re actually creating sustainability by saving quality wood from the chipper whenever possible.

Our dream has been to collect quality wood from construction project sites and utilize it to create handcrafted furniture of sustainable, commemorative beauty. To make this a reality, we built a full service woodworking center in our barn specifically for this purpose.

We cut some Tulip Poplar on a job the other day. Since Tulip Poplar is a fine hardwood for woodworking, we sent it to be lumbered and kiln dried. Once dried, it will come here to our Stewart Perry campus where the woodworking shop is now in full force. We’re following a concept developed by Sir Gordon Russell in England after World War II, which fostered local artisans to design and create finely crafted furniture using a wide variety of local woods.

Since our campus nestles up to the scenic Cahaba River, we’re in the process of designing our “Cahaba” furniture line. The Tulip Poplar is destined to become some of our “Cahaba” tables. The tables will be a gift to the landowners where the wood was cut. We hope the result will be treasured tables from their treasured trees.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.