The mill and yards in the Connecticut Valley, owned and managed by Klaas Armster, is a seven acre safe deposit box of old growth and vintage woods. Sourced from homes and barns, warehouses and factories built by our ancestors, from woods originating in the country’s old growth forests-  white pine and oak from the Northeast and Midwest, longleaf pine and cypress from the South, and Douglas fir and redwood from the Northwest, along with many other woods, some common and some rare. The collection includes three million board feet of this now limited resource from the 19th and early 20th century. The mill and yard can be visited by appointment. Samples of inventory can be viewed at the Brooklyn warehouse. 

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Reclaimed wood: a field guide

This video was released as a playful and environmentally pointed promotional video for our book, Reclaimed Wood: A Field Guide (Abrams, 2019). It starts with rare footage of the extinct (though the search continues) ivory billed woodpecker, a casualty of intense deforestation in the Southeastern swamps during the late 19th and early 20th c. and then moves through a very brief time-lapse of images in the chronicle of a tree – logging, NY history, salvage, re-processing and then architectural re-use. Produced by Sandra Beltrao. Thanks to Cornell Ornithology Lab for use of Ivory-Bill footage. 

Sawkill passive house

The Sawkill Passive House in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn involved the restoration of a c. 1888 wooden row house. The project incorporates a range of reclaimed woods, including an exterior facade clad in Worcestershire sauce Douglas fir (treated with a Shou sushi ban charring process); a rear rain screen made of the Coney Island Boardwalk; and interior floors and applications from local and regional buildings. Project team included Castrucci Architect, energy consultant David White, and Blueline Construction. The house earned the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Historic Preservation Award (2017), and was the first wooden row house in the country to gain an Enerphit Passive House certification.  

12 x 12

The furniture exhibition, 12 X 12, held during Design Week 2012, featured a juried selection of twelve contemporary furniture designers, each working with wood sourced by Sawkill Lumber from a specific New York City historical building or structure. The video profiles the participants, providing a brief, behind the scenes look at their process and concept in creating the pieces. Funds raised from auction sale of the furniture works supported woodworking job training through the non-profit Brooklyn Woods. 

All video work by Sandra Beltrao. Sandra is a multilingual producer, DP and video editor with credits from the BBC, PBS, Hearst, Vice, the NYT and ongoin clients.