My senior studio project has been progressing steadily since its conception in January (2010).
I began to envision a line of furniture that could be created from construction site waste, particularly the wood waste. Common byproducts of the construction process are OSB (oriented strand board) and dimensional lumber (2x4s, 2x6s, etc.).
Lumber, such as pine 2x4s common in construction, is tough to rely on. It is almost never going to be perfectly square, which is important in furniture making. Pine isn’t the best quality wood, either, it is soft and prone to splintering.
Oriented strand board, on the other hand, is a material that I can truly connect with. People’s perceptions of OSB vary, but it is most commonly associated with raw, unfinished construction and garners its particular connotations from that image.
I find OSB to be one of the most modest materials around; it’s a super structural engineered wood product with a unique “grain,” giving it an apparently random face. In truth, those strands of wood are carefully oriented in a manufacturing process that distinguishes OSB from particleboard. Strands are oriented in layers, oftentimes with perpendicular, adjacent layers that provide rigidity and strength, similar to plywood. Due to this manufacturing process, OSB has been replacing plywood in many construction jobs, since it is just as strong and usually a few bucks cheaper. Another solid advantage is that in the manufacturing process about 90% of the tree is used as opposed to 60-70% in plywood. Smaller, more renewable hardwood trees can be used, which makes the material more socially responsible.
The project is on schedule in terms of the timeline I’ve set out for it, and I’m currently involved in the prototyping stage. Collection will be occurring in the next couple of weeks from both local construction sites and from panel manufacturers that are producing scraps they cannot use.