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Meet Brent Schwanbeck of Urban Timber Harvest in Colleyville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brent Schwanbeck.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
There were a few passions that really drove us to start Urban Timber Harvest. We were woodworkers who had great respect for our local trees. We saw a need in the community, as all of the trees that were being removed were going to the landfill to be mulched. It really tugged at our hearts, so we began by harvesting local logs when trees came down, and now we operate a fully integrated urban lumber business. What this really means is that we can take your tree when it dies, process it into slabs on the sawmill, dry it in the kiln, and then produce custom furniture and design elements. Recycling and reusing local trees is at the core of our business, and really provides for a unique story for our clients. Each piece of furniture is not only sustainable, but comes with a story that dates back to where that tree lived and grew, and maybe even how old the tree was. We are equally as passionate about the craftsmanship of fine woodworking. It’s our desire to produce heirloom-quality pieces that last over the test of time.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting and running a business always comes with struggle, because there are so many different aspects of a business that has to be managed and many lessons to be learned. Keeping our passion and mission front and center has given us the grit needed to work through the difficulties. One particularly interesting struggle has been learning how to lift logs that seem to be increasing in size each month – some over 10,000 pounds! Another difficulty for us has been that we only have the capability to save a small fraction of the trees that come down in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There are still so many trees that go to the landfill. In addition to getting the word out and helping more people understand what we do, we have active plans to increase our efficiency to be able to use of more of these trees coming down.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Urban Timber Harvest story. Tell us more about the business.
Harvesting and reusing our urban trees is at the core of our business. With this focus, there are many different services that we offer, including sawmill and kiln drying services, retailing live edge slabs, and custom furniture and architectural design+build services. We specialize in milling and drying sustainable lumber from urban trees and are the only company doing so in the DFW area. For that reason, we are able to specialize in a “Tree to Table” approach to woodworking, where we are able to create custom furniture with a story. Do you know where your furniture was crafted, or where the wood was sourced from? When you are able to answer these questions, there is a unique story that you can share with the people that sit at your table. We are proud to be the only company locally doing so, and there is nothing we enjoy more than completing an incredible piece of furniture out of a tree that we harvested and milled!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
“Urban lumber” has been a new business model that has been growing and spreading throughout the nation, especially on the west coast. People are becoming aware of the natural resources around them, and are wanting them to go to their best use. All of the trees that we mill have been recycled from our urban landscape, and people are so happy to see the tree that they enjoyed for years not go to the landfill. It’s our belief that this trend will continue as people become more aware that “urban lumber” is a resource option.

Also, in our world of mass-produced, disposable furniture, we are seeing people truly value finely crafted, sustainable and durable custom furniture. We pride ourselves in building furniture that can be passed from generation to generation. Something that is not as common as it used to be. When you see custom hardwood furniture, it stands out and makes a statement.

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Image Credit:
Cory Hale

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