GreenBuild 2011

October 13, 2011 in Bamboo Flooring

For 3 days, booth  #5239S was home to Plyboo’s best and brightest reps.  Representatives from Smith & Fong Co. and its Canadian distributor, Taproot were there to meet sustainability enthusiasts in the most anticipated tradeshow of the year.  Thousands came out to see what’s new in environmentally friendly products, and Plyboo did not disappoint.

The brand officially presented Soybond to an eager audience, with its bamboo panel products and flooring. The subranded Soybond products were a big hit amongst attendees at Greenbuild who had many questions about the new designation.

Soybond, a proprietary manufacturing system, is the designation for Plyboo products made with soy adhesives. As of summer 2011, the full line of PlybooPure (no urea-formaldehyde) bamboo flooring and bamboo plywood, as well PlybooSport bamboo sport flooring are manufactured as SoyBond.

The Soybond process takes a lot of complications out of manufacturing and in the end uses a formaldehyde free adhesive that’s more natural.  The end result is naturally formaldehyde free bamboo flooring and plywood, not to mention, yet another innovation for the Plyboo brand. Plyboo bamboo plyboard and bamboo floors that are Soybond manufactured will have this logo:

 

Deco Palm Winner in IGDA, Feat. in New York House Magazine

September 15, 2011 in Palm Flooring

Deco Palm finds itself in the winner’s circle in two categories in New York House Magazine’s Innovative Green Design Awards, flooring and interior finishes. The highly decorative flooring and wall panels wowed the judges with its aesthetic charms and green resumes.

Deco Palm flooring won the best overall in the flooring category while the wall panels won an honorable mention. The material, functionality, and appearance were all impressive to the judges.

There was some debate over the sustainable merits of the product because it isn’t FSC certified. However, it was explained amongst the judges that Deco Palm, like all Durapalm products, is made from palm trees that have passed their fruit bearing years. These trees are no longer productive and will either die or be cut down to plant productive palms. Using them in the manufacture of flooring and plywood gives the palm a new life.

Some time ago, Alex Wilson, executive editor of Environmental Building News and Building Green said of the product, “Durapalm could almost be considered an agricultural waste product. It is a great example of a company recognizing an opportunity.

Newsome Law Firm, the company pictured in the article about the IGDA win, really did an amazing job with the install. The racing stripe detail using the Deco Palm was an incredible touch next to the stark contrast of the deep tones in the Durapalm coconut flooring which is so prominent. The eye can’t help but notice how textural and graphic the Deco Palm is in this setting.

Also pictured on the site are a reception desk, which is finished with the Deco Palm wall panels (honorable mention), and the wall and storage unit in the conference room. The space creatively utilized the palm products, which just feels so appropriate for the location and use. The photos were very representative of the product, and the warm response in the Innovative Green Design Awards are very encouraging.

It’s a great product and so easy to install. We really hope that homeowners and businesses will enjoy using the product as much as we do at the home office.

~nicole~

Plyboo Bamboo Sport Flooring

August 12, 2011 in Bamboo Flooring, Installations

Get to know Plyboo Bamboo Sport Flooring with this informative video!

 

How Green is Bamboo Flooring?

June 30, 2011 in Bamboo Forestry Series, FAQ series, How Green is Bamboo?

To understand why bamboo flooring is a “green” choice, one must first understand a bit about the bamboo from which it is made.  Smith&Fong Co. makes its bamboo flooring, plywood, and veneers from Moso bamboo (Pyllostachys hedrocycla pubescens).

There are well over a thousand species of bamboo.  Each of varying heights, thicknesses, and applicable uses.  Out of all of the types of bamboo, bamboo flooring, veneers, and plywood are all made out of Moso.  It’s thickness in diameter, overall hardness, widespread availability and extreme height make it one of the most commercially viable species for construction. Moso bamboo, didn’t get the nickname “timber bamboo” without reason!

Interesting fact – bamboo isn’t actually a wood, it’s a grass.

Moso is an excellent candidate for building materials.  It grows quickly (as in 70 feet in 3 months!), and is fully mature and ready to harvest in 5 years.  Compare that to 20 to 120 years for various hardwoods.* Moso bamboo, when at maturity is incredibly strong.  Because it is such a hefty species – very tall, hard, and quite thick, it is, hands down, a great choice for flooring.

Because Moso grows so quickly, 20% of the bamboo forest canopy can be harvested annually leaving behind 80%.  Over a five year period, 100% of the forest can be sustainably harvested. An added assurance that the canopy will be left intact — only mature bamboo culms (poles) are heavy enough to get a good price at market.  It isn’t advantageous to cut too often or too young, which benefits the farmer and the environment. An extra advantage to this system is that bamboo does not need to be replanted once harvested.  It regenerates annually.

So we know that Moso bamboo is rapidly renewable and super strong, let’s consider other factors that make this a superb choice as your current or future floor.

In its native environment, Moso bamboo doesn’t need irrigation or fertilizers. Since this particular species (and so many others) is naturally resistant to pests, it doesn’t need pesticides.  That means no pesticide run off or other chemicals are involved in the growth process.

Interesting fact – According to the World Wildlife Fund, Bamboo can sequester up to 70% more carbon per year than a hardwood forest.

Rapidly renewable bamboo is one of many reasons Smith&Fong Co.’s Plyboo brand bamboo flooring is a great choice for your home.  Check back next time to learn about FSC® Certified flooring and why Formaldehyde Free matters as we continue the exploration about “How green is bamboo flooring?”

Interview with Joel Scilley of Audio Wood

June 28, 2011 in Interview, Uncategorized

Smith & Fong Co.: So Joel, could you tell us how you got started?

Joel Scilley: Well, I started designing things like the aerodynamic truck in kindergarten, but I’ve been a designer/builder with wood for about 15 years now.  And then about 4 years ago I built my first wooden turntable, just for fun.  It was pretty popular with friends and neighbors, so I went with it, and started Audiowood.

S&F: I noticed a lot of what looks like found wood pieces, how’d you transition into using Plyboo, or simply, what drew you to the product?

J.S.:Plyboo really opens up design possibilities for me, as I’m a big fan of using solid hardwood for my designs, but have been limited by warping, expansion and other issues associated with the use of conventional lumber.  Plus, sustainable production is a central concern of mine.  I love being able to buy what is essentially a super-uniform sheet of “hardwood” that is ready to go.

S&F: What inspires your designs?

J.S.: Hard question to answer.  I think I’m most inspired by raw materials.  I suppose I’m lucky that I can actually make things out of twigs and stumps!  In the case of Plyboo, I’m inclined to make things that are very modern, but that have the warmth of wood.

S&F: Do you find it simpler to get consistent designs with the Plyboo product versus wood?

J.S.: Absolutely.  You’ll never catch me saying much against wood, but the consistency of Plyboo is unparalleled.  It’s not that I couldn’t do similar things in solid wood, but for doing things in numbers, Plyboo seems indispensable at this point.  Also, I love to integrate curves into designs at times, and having a multi-ply solid-material sheet makes this simple, with no edge-bands, grain issues, etc.

S&F: How long does it typically take you to build a system?

J.S.: Well, I wish I was plagued with this problem more often!  Usually, I’m building single pieces for people.  Some of my new designs, including most of the Plyboo things, are CNC machined by Woodlane Cabinet Co. in Tallahassee, and then hand-assembled and finished.  This process saves a little time for some things, but the minimum for a turntable is still about 4-5 hours to get it ship-ready.  On the other hand, I’ve spent 100 hours on a single piece of furniture.  If I were to build a stereo system with amp, speakers, and turntable, I imagine about a week would do it.

S&F: I see that you’ve taken a bit of a departure with your new line.  What directed you towards complete media centers, iPad mounts, etc.?

J.F.: I figure I’m making things the world can’t live without!  I guess we’ll see about that, but I’m trying to make some things that haven’t been seen before, and make them properly, with quality, sustainable materials, and domestic production.  In the case of the Aerie home theater console, I feel that there are no modern consoles out there that have integrated quality speakers, much less that wall-mount, allow for wire-free aesthetics, and are constructed out of green materials.
Similarly, with the iPad2 shelf, I don’t think there is anything out there that allows for wall and tabletop use, improves the sound of the iPad, and that doesn’t look like a Battleship “Goplastica” device.

S&F: The iPhone nest is very cute.  Would you say that it’s a good holiday gift?  Who do you feel responds best to it (what type of customer)?

J.S.: Hey thanks.  I guess if someone doesn’t want an entire audio system, then the iPhone Nest is a great alternative!  I imagine most of my things in very modern environments, where they are either integral pieces or accents.  In the case of the Nest, I imagine it will appeal most to the person who wants something handmade instead of a generic piece of plastic.

S&F: Tell me more about Glow Audio.  How did you come together to work on the bamboo stands?

J.S.: I’m a retailer for a few lines of audio equipment in addition to making my own stuff, and Glow is one of these lines.  I’m interested in audio stuff that is fun or beautiful to look at and environmentally friendly, in addition to sounding good.  Glow hits on all these points: their little tube amp sounds awesome and uses only 38 watts of power, and their Voice One speakers, made out of recycled scrap wood, are a genuinely brilliant design, inside and out.
The limitation of the Voice One orbs was that they could only be used as tabletop speakers in their stock form.  So, Glow contracted me to design several stands that would allow for more flexibility.  Again, with the help of Woodlane Cabinet Co. and their fantastic CNC, I was able to make desk, floor, and subwoofer stands that allow these great budget speakers to be used almost anywhere.  I’m especially pleased with the floor stands that are a nice blend of organic and modern, and have a cable-hiding channel up the spine (made possible by using 3-ply Plyboo for this piece).

S&F: Do you have any upcoming plans with Plyboo products?
To be honest, I’ve expended a huge amount of energy getting together this little line of bamboo things, so I’m happy for the time being.  However, I’m a tinkerer by nature, so you never know.  I would love to do some variations on these pieces, but I have to see how the initial designs do and whether the marketplace will allow me to take on other things.

J.S.: Where are you sold?
I have a few small retailers, mostly in the Southeast, and Anthropologie sells a couple of my designs.  I also have a Paypal webstore linked to my website which has most of my non-custom things listed, plus a few thing by other manufacturers.  But much of my business is still based on people calling me up, telling me what they want, and making things to order.

S&F: Which markets would you be interested in doing retail?

J.S.: I would love to have stores that are genuine fans of what I do in the major metro areas of the US and some spots abroad.  It’s a little tricky, as many of the things I do are hybrids of audio tech or just plain tech and decorative home accessory.  But I hold out hope that folks in the design world will take notice of technology that is fun to look at and use, and that audio/techy folks will realize that metal and plastic black boxes are not the only way to go.  Miami, Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, SF, and LA would be great starts!  Today Grand Ridge, tomorrow the world!

Special thanks to Joel Scilley for making this interview possible!
*All photos by Joel Scilley