"I love the smell of wood. The feel of wood. I love everything about wood," Jerry McCall says. "But I’ve always been a bit upset about how wasteful it can be." The master woodworker has spent the last three years coming up with a product that would give consumers the look of rustic, reclaimed wall paneling, using as little of the natural resource as possible.
Called Stikwood, his ultrathin wood planks have an adhesive backing that sticks to just about any surface, creating the look of what would ordinarily be a costly, material-hogging piece of décor.
Slicing wood thinly is nothing new, but until recently, nobody in the woodworking world was doing so efficiently. That’s because if you want to cut a 1/8-inch slab, a 3/16-inch blade is used, which generates more sawdust than useable product. Taking a cue from snowboard manufacturers, McCall sandwiches together layers of wood laminates before cutting the composite into virtually paper-thin slices.
As with making snowboards, the process is costly and laborious even before the final boards are cut. But what’s invested in time and energy upfront is recouped in less material waste. McCall, using a Wintersteiger thin-cutting horizontal bandsaw, is able to use a 1/25-inch blade, rather than a 3/16—which is nearly 500% more efficient, he explained at the recent Dwell on Design conference.
All the wood Stikwood uses is authentic, meaning one plank of reclaimed wood yields one Stikwood plank. However, all the wood underneath the desired top layer is then reused as non-reclaimed-looking panels. McCall explains that not only does Stikwood make much greater use of wood, its light weight also helps conserve energy in shipping. And once on site, overages—the amount you order over the square footage needed—are under 5%, as opposed to traditional jobs that require (and toss) about 30% to 40% in excess material.