Salvaged Bay Laurel

Salvaged Bay Laurel is a wonderful choice for your custom countertop or table

One characteristic which makes this wood particularly special is how slowly it grows, taking centuries for the trees to reach full maturity. The wood of the myrtle is exceptionally dense and fine-grained. Myrtle wood has many faces from big ribbons to tight fiddleback , and it goes by many names locally here on the North coast such as California Bay Laurel, California Pepper Wood or Myrtle. Depending upon your chosen finish, the tones can be rich and vibrant or warm and neutral. 

The California Bay Laurel is a distinctive tree in California. The only native species in the ancient family Lauraceae to occur in the state. Its range runs from the Umpqua River in Oregon along the Pacific Coast ranges where it reaches its greatest size and into the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It is a companion tree found in redwood and mixed conifer habitats. 

Example: The below Bay Laurel slab was taken from a wind fall on the border of Sonoma and Mendocino County. Its age was estimated at 110 years.

Tell us about your custom Bay Laurel Countertop or Table Top needs for an estimate presentation.

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Reclaimed Redwood Wine Tank

Reclaimed from Beaulieu Vineyard with historical provenance

For decades the barrel room at Beaulieu Vineyards contained large redwood tanks (over 100 years old) which at one time were used for fermenting large lots of wine. These were stored all the way up until around 2017 when they were finally removed. It was at this time that Sonoma Millworks was able to reclaim their redwood tanks as a means to give them new life.

Old Growth Redwood 

At Sonoma Millworks, our old growth, Patina Redwood Wine Tank reclaimed wood is in rare supply. Old growth Redwood comes from very large vintage trees that grew over centuries in relatively undisturbed forests. These 900+ year old trees grew slowly due to shade and competition from larger trees. As a result, they have tighter growth rings and denser wood.  Today, old growth Redwood is scarce after extensive logging from the 1850’s up until the 1980’s. Due to its availability at the time, Redwood was readily used as a vessel to transport wine on ships up the coast of California.

LINK to our Redwood Wine Tank Barn Door on our website for reference

LINK Beaulieu Vineyard

Rescutilization – Reclaimed Lumber and Carbon Sequestration

Rescutilization…Re-Harvesting America’s Urban Timber Resources…Extracting high quality reclaimed lumber from our urban environments while protecting diverse biological habitats and sequestering significant amounts of atmospheric carbon.

There are scores of distressed buildings being demolished as a result of urban renewal and gentrification. There is an abundant opportunity to sequester carbon through the reuse of reclaimed urban lumber. Lumber resources are prolific in both our rural and urban environments. Industrial warehouses, railroad trestles, silos, bridges, and agricultural buildings are just a few of the examples. The majority of this structural lumber was harvested in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Once transformed, it is a highly desirable building material. Sending this material to landfill is irresponsible and a waste of a precious resource. Salvaging and re-milling this scarce commodity is the responsible thing to do for the environment and the community at large and the generations that proceed.

The role of trees and forests in our ecosystems is absolutely critical. Forests renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. One single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants a year, and produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen- enough to support two people! When forests are cut down, not only does carbon absorption cease, but the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere as CO2 if the wood is burned or left to rot after the deforestation process. Studies show cumulative energy consumed in producing virgin timber compared to reclaimed framing lumber and wood flooring was about 11 and 13 times greater, respectively. Global Warming Potential was about 3 and 5 times greater, respectively. These results indicate that reclaimed framing lumber and wood flooring have a significantly lower environmental impact than their two virgin alternatives.”* When extracted by dismantling and upcycling (“Rescutilization”) however, the carbon absorbed during photosynthesis remains embedded in its structural fiber for as long as that timber is maintained and put to re-use in another application. This is known as carbon sequestration. An advantage of re-harvesting regionally puts the material close to the project. This reduces the carbon footprint even further.

The re-claimed lumber we are using today is very desirable as both structural building materials and architectural design elements. One of the most significant benefits, especially in timber frame construction, is the low moisture content. This material has slowly dried over decades and is very desirable when effecting the many aesthetic wood joinery applications to a structural member. Forests harvested in the 1800’s through the mid- 20th century were abundant with high quality dense grain timber that was sought after for its structural integrity.

Coastal species such as redwood and Douglas fir were used not only in construction but for wine tanks, bridges, and water towers. Today we are transforming that re-claimed material and utilizing it as flooring, furniture, and custom millwork in both commercial and residential cabinetry. Our milling facility has the machinery capability to make thin veneer from this valuable commodity maximizing its utility even further as engineered flooring and cabinetry.

The majority of this re-harvested timber has additional benefits. It ages with dignity and usually finishes with a soft grey patina, often highlighting the textured grain. Re-harvesting our urban environment does not have to be limited to our own backyard. The wine industry imports French oak for aging wine. When these barrels and staves are no longer viable as fermentation vessels, they are re-purposed for many uses.

Unlike our natural forests however, this resource cannot be harvested at sustainable rates. There is a limited supply and it is irreplaceable. So as with our natural forests, we to, must take care that we be responsible about the way we manage the salvaging of vintage lumber. We can no longer fill debris boxes with discarded “scrap” lumber and cart it off to the landfill. It has a place, as it should, in our commercial and residential developments as structural building materials or as furnishings and artistic design elements to behold for the next generation.

* Proceedings of the International Convention of Society of Wood Science and Technology Bergman, Richard D. PhD; Gu, Hongmei; Falk, Robert H.; Napier, Thomas R.;

Gordon Martin

The Martin Group Inc. dba Sonoma Millworks

October 2015

Submitted: The Merchant Magazine

Arte Sonoma – Now Featuring Sonoma Millworks

We’re pleased to join Arte Sonoma – where the heart of Sonoma is embodied in traditional and functional art, available to all. Looking for that perfect piece or collection of pieces can be a joyful process when you find the right artist. Explore here.


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