What’s brown and green and comes in cherry, walnut and maple? Fear not yet another Main Street specialty restauranteur; Charlie Beach and Scott Carpenter have opened shop in Berryville offering locally grown and harvested hardwood lumber. Local Wood delivers everything that its name promises and more.
Most people understand the “Eat Local” concept, locally grown food products offer environmental and economic benefits over products shipped in from far-away growers. Beach and Carpenter have transformed “Eat Local” into “Build Local” but with an important twist. The lumber offered by Local Wood includes species and plank sizes that are difficult to find and costly to obtain from distant suppliers.
“These planks are from a walnut log that was cut down by the power company in Frederick County” Beach says while admiring two matching planks appear to be nearly 30 inches wide and nine feet long. “It’s hard to believe but trees like this usually get hauled to a landfill. We turn the logs into lumber that can be re-used.”
Together Carpenter and Beach own and operate a Purcellville company that specializes in historic restoration and custom home building throughout Loudoun County, Clarke County and Northern Virginia. Beach said that Local Wood started as a way to make sure that quality hardwood lumber was available for his home restoration business. “We had a couple of jobs where we needed some quality oak and maple and couldn’t find it anywhere. We decided to cut our own boards and had some planks left over. Things just seemed to grow from there.”
Local Wood’s lumber supply comes from many different sources. Chestnut planks re-claimed from a collapsed barn roof were stacked and ready for sale. Clear poplar boards with radiant streaks of purple and green were supplied by local sawyer Mark Lohr whose company, WoodLohr.com, also builds custom log homes.
“I just cleared a lot here in Clarke County that had a lot of walnut trees” Lohr said. “Most of the time a landowner simply wants the trees removed and doesn’t really care what happens to the wood. I saw up trees that otherwise would probably wind up in a wood stove into this nice lumber” Lohr says pointing to pictures in a small photo album of past sawing jobs that he keeps in his truck.
Several years ago Lohr purchased a portable sawmill that can be towed to directly a job site. Once onsite, Lohr saws the logs into lumber. Much of Lohr’s lumber is purchased by Local Wood but Lohr also uses the lumber for personal projects.
“A friend of mine had four 60-foot discarded western cedar telephone poles that we cut into lumber” Lohr said. “I did the sawing and we split the lumber. I built an outdoor table from that cedar and gave it to my brother. It’s kind of nice to build something and have it stay in the family. It’s good fun.”
Local Wood provides a wide selection of hardwood lumber species including Ash, Cherry, Walnut, White and Red Oak, Poplar, Soft Maple and Western Red Cedar. Reclaimed Chestnut and Heart Pine are also available. In addition to lumber, Local Wood offers reclaimed mantle stock and kiln drying services. Because many of Beach’s logs are massive, one recent specimen wouldn’t surrender to a 22” chainsaw bar, Local Wood also offers quarter-sawn lumber.
Charlie Beach says that besides offering timber that would otherwise be wasted, his customers also like using local lumber because of the lower emissions and smaller carbon footprint associated with harvesting the wood.
So far business has been good according to Beach. “We give a lot of care to making sure that our lumber is carefully cut and stacked and is as dry as possible. Good lumber makes a big difference in the final product regardless of what is being built. People seem to like what we offer.”
Local Wood is located on Kimble Road just northwest of Berryville.