Knock On Wood
Reclaimed trees become art in his workshop
By Jessica Laskey
When Evan Harris sees a downed tree, he doesn’t see destruction. He sees art.
The owner of Truwood Builders is an expert at urban log salvage, rescuing wood from trees that have been downed by wind or removed due to disease. He turns outcasts into beautiful pieces of custom furniture.
“We don’t take the trees down. We intercept the logs before they get cut up and disposed of,” he says, explaining his environmentally friendly alternative to breaking logs down for firewood or a landfill.
“Two or three lifetimes ago,” Harris says, he worked in construction. His background in drafting made him good at “building things in my brain.” But it wasn’t until he took up remodeling that everything clicked.
During a kitchen remodel seven years ago, Harris crafted a live-edge bar for a client. He loved the experience of creating something unique from natural materials, and started doing custom woodworking on the side. Truwood was born four years later when Harris decided to make his hobby a full-fledged business.
Truwood began as a salvage-and-milling operation. Harris would drive around town to pick up wood destined for the dumpster and bring it back to his Carmichael driveway, where he milled, kiln-dried and resold it after restoring the natural beauty.
His newfound love and talent for making things from salvaged wood drew so much attention that soon 99 percent of his sales were to clients requesting custom pieces. Today Truwood specializes in urban log salvage, milling, live-edge slabs and custom furniture.
“If I have an interest in something, I go at it 110 percent,” Harris says. “I’m a perfectionist and extremely particular about the work that I produce. It has to be the best if it’s leaving my shop.”
Harris’ shop, located on Silica Avenue near Arden Fair Mall, is open to the public six days a week so clients can stop by to discuss a project or look at what Harris is working on. Truwood’s array of tables, headboards, mantels, coffee tables, vanities, countertops, benches and more can take anywhere from eight to 100 hours to complete.
Wood has to sit and dry for one to three years after being milled before it’s workable, so projects are always in various stages of completion. Once the wood is dry, Harris fills in defects and sands the surface to prepare it for its ultimate transformation.
In finished form, the wood is sealed or treated with colored epoxy to mimic the look of water (what Harris calls “river tables”) and delivered to its new home, where it sparks joy instead of firewood.
For more information, visit truwoodbuilders.com.
Jessica Laskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.