See How a Tree Grown in Northern Ohio Becomes, Say, an Amish-Made Dining Room Chair

June 8, 2017
A June 20 tour from Mansfield to Millersburg will show how trees become products such as furniture. (Photo: iStock.)

This news release originally appeared on the website of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and was written by Kurt Knebusch.

MANSFIELD, Ohio — A June 20 tour in northern Ohio will show how trees get turned into products, including Amish-made lumber and furniture.

“We hope people find it an eye-opening experience,” said co-organizer Kathy Smith, a forestry expert at The Ohio State University. “A lot goes into that process.”

From Forests to Furniture starts on Ohio State’s wooded Mansfield campus, where Smith and colleagues Amy Stone and Marne Titchenell, both also with the university, will give talks under the trees on owning woodlands, managing wildlife and dealing with the deadly emerald ash borer pest.

Then participants will travel by bus to Millersburg in Holmes County for tours of two Amish-run businesses:

  • HW Chair, which makes hardwood chairs for dining room sets, hotel rooms, libraries and the like.
  • Yoder Lumber’s Buckhorn plant, which operates, among other things, a sawmill, drying facilities and automated lumber sorting line.

Both companies “use state-of-the-art equipment and processes,” Smith said.

Holmes County furniture businesses booming

Matt Bumgardner, a Delaware, Ohio-based U.S. Forest Service researcher and a speaker on the tour, said Holmes County has a booming cluster of Amish furniture manufacturers. He’ll give a talk on the topic, called “Ohio’s Unique Amish Furniture Industry,” on the bus ride there. A paper he co-authored said the cluster has grown “even as the broader domestic furniture manufacturing sector has contracted.”

The goal of the tour is to “show the connection between sound woodland management and the products we use on a daily basis,” said Smith, who’s forestry program director in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. As part of her work, she coordinates Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, the tour’s sponsor.

Both SENR and OSU Extension are part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Emerald ash borer’s big blow to forests

Stone is based in Extension’s Lucas County office. She’s an educator specializing in horticulture, including invasive plant pests like the emerald ash borer.

Originally from Asia, the emerald ash borer has spread through Ohio, many other states and eastern Canada, where it burrows into, feeds on and kills native ash trees. Experts say it may end up killing nearly every native ash in North America.

Giving good homes to wildlife

Titchenell is a wildlife program specialist with SENR. Among her efforts, she teaches homeowners and landowners about providing vital habitat for birds, mammals, pollinators, reptiles and amphibians.

The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. starting at the Mansfield campus at 1760 University Drive.

How to register

Registration for the event is $10, includes a box lunch, and is needed by June 13. Complete details, including the full schedule, are at go.osu.edu/Forests/Furniture. A link to register online is at go.osu.edu/foresttour. Call 614-688-3421 for more information.

WRITER(S): 

Kurt Knebusch
knebusch.1@osu.edu
330-263-3776

SOURCE(S): 

Kathy Smith
smith.81@osu.edu
614-688-3136