Interview with Hatch Workshop and Harvest Lumber Company owner Andrew Danziger

Studio Balcones has had the fortune of working with Hatch Workshop on a few projects, including the most recent Boardwalk Benches featured on the blog a few months ago! The local Austin fabricator is a favorite to many designers around town, including us, and we were happy to hear they started a sister company recently- Harvest Lumber Company. Here we got to talk to Andrew Danziger, owner of Hatch Workshop and co-owner of Harvest Lumber Company, about his  companies. He also taught us about local wood, the fabrication process, and which types of lumber he prefers to use. Be sure to check out both of the websites or, better yet, get a cup of coffee at Flitch and walk over to Harvest Lumber Company to check out their awesome products!

First, tell us a little bit about Hatch Workshop- who are you, why did you start Hatch, and what kind of work do you all do? 

Hatch Workshop designs and builds furniture and installations for public, commercial and institutional projects.  Hatch also sells standard tables and benches to residential clients.  Our projects are designed for efficient use of domestic hardwoods, plywoods and steel.

 

What is your favorite wood to work with, and why?

I’ve really been liking American Elm- it machines well and is very hard.  It also has really dramatic and interesting colors.

 

What is the best native Texas wood to use for exteriors in your opinion, and why?

White Oak varieties (post oak and live oak)

Cypress

Eastern Red Cedar- Juniperus virginiana

Ash

These varieties are all rot resistant.  Some are softer than others and some are more prone to cracking.  All can withstand rot if the sealer wears off.

 

Tell us about the wood being used to make the boardwalk benches- what type, where it was found, reason it was cut down?

White Oak varieties (post oak and live oak).  All the wood was purchased from our partner company, Harvest Lumber Company.  Harvest was contacted by home owners and arborists to pick up oak trees that were cut down because they either fell or were hazardous.  Most of this material is from Central Austin- within 10 miles of the Capital.

 

What is the process and timeline for creating products, like the boardwalk benches?

Once the tree is taken down and there is a log on the ground, we will pick up the log and load on to trailers for transport.  This can often be tricky as we are in dense urban areas and the logs weigh about 2000 pounds.  Once at Harvest’s processing facility it is typically sawn into lumber within the first month.  It will then air dry for about 2 months. It then goes into a dehumidification kiln for about 4 weeks.  Dry times vary dramatically for different wood thickness and species. Once we have dried, rough lumber, we will plane, sand and finish the boards for the benches. The wood is then attached to steel frames that help keep the boards flat over time.

 

Where do you find most of your trees?

Wherever trees grow.  The key is that the tree owner or arborist knows that our pick up services are available.  Without the log pickup services provided by Harvest Lumber Company, this material is typically mulched. We also pick up logs through City of Austin Urban Forestry’s Wood Reclamation Project.  They are saving logs from big trees that are available for pickup on the first Friday of every month.

 

Over the last few years Austin has been developing at a rapid rate. Do you see a correlation to the number of felled trees you’re getting and this development?

Unfortunately yes.  A lot trees are being categorized as “hazardous” as reasoning for their removal.  Typically the land is then developed in a way that removed tree was preventing.  We have definitely seen more trees come down as projects get built, either to make way for the development or as a result of root damage during construction.

 

There have also been a number of natural disasters in or around Austin (floods, fires, droughts)- how does this affect your inventory?

2011- Bastrop Fires- Lots of pine was available from this.

2012-2014- Drought- The drought in Central Texas brought down lots of old pecan that lost root strength and began to fall.

2015- Memorial Day Flood – A ton of huge, old cypress trees were uprooted when the Blanco River broke its banks.

2017- Hurricane Harvey storm- high winds brought down a fair amount of oak trees.

 

Lastly, tell us about your new company- Harvest Lumber Company- how does it differ from Hatch, what is the process, and how do we get our hands on the products?

Harvest Lumber Company sells quality lumber harvested from fallen trees in Austin’s urban area.  Hatch Workshop makes furniture while Harvest Lumber Company strictly makes lumber.  Harvest Lumber Company offers various lumber products to contractors, woodworkers, home-owners and DIYers.  Our customers are other woodworkers or DIYers that want to make their own shelves, tables or furniture projects.  Harvest Lumber Company has a retail showroom at 641 Tillery Street in East Austin.  More information can also be found at HarvestLumberCo.com   512-524-0818

Any recommended readings related to wood or trees?

Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology by Bruce Hoadley 

Native and Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin and the Hill Country by Brother Daniel Lynch, C.S.C

Harvesting Urban Timber by Samuel Sherrill

 

 

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