Oklahoma homebuilder gets ideas from tour of Oregon wood products manufacturer

Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association's 68th annual Parade of Homes will be Oct. 19-27.
BY TIM FALLS trfall@gmail.com Published: October 12, 2013

Break down TimberCraft Homes into its component parts — “timber” and “craft” — and what do you get?

Founding partner Jack Evans' passions.

Evans recently spent a week in Eugene, Ore., touring facilities operated by Weyerhauser, one of the world's largest manufacturers of wood- and engineered-wood products.

He came back “full of ideas” and just in time to take up his duties as chairman of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association's 68th annual Parade of Homes.

The parade is set to launch Oct. 19 and run through Oct. 27. New homes will be open free to the public from 1 to 7 p.m. daily. Free parade guidebooks, with photos, maps, descriptions and characteristics of the homes, will be available starting at noon Friday at metro-area Arvest Bank and Best Buy locations while supplies last.

Evans toured two of Weyerhauser's production facilities, one that had only recently shifted to electricity from steam, which had powered the plant for decades.

The second, Evans said, was fully automated, requiring only a few humans to aid the computers and robotic devices that transform tree trunks 6 feet in diameter into stacks of 2-by-4 and 2-by-6 lumber.

Timber management is “one of the original ‘green' industries,” Evans said, noting that Weyerhauser's sustainable planting practices were developed to ensure that hundreds of thousands of acres of healthy forest will be available for harvest yearly.

Evans said he also witnessed “zero-waste” practice, seeing tree by-products turned into mulch and pulp.

Evans toured a vast Oregon forest — a half-million acres around Eugene — where genetically-engineered trees soar overhead, destined one day to become the materials he and other builders rely on.

Evans said it was interesting to note that in the Pacific Northwest, wooden and log homes are “so much more prevalent” compared to Oklahoma, “where we use what we've got” — more rock and brick.

Still, Evans said, TimberCraft's vision is not to take “what we've got” too far, but to break from the traditional whenever he can.

“We have learned that many young buyers don't want to live in their parents' houses,” he said. “They're tired of the traditional, ‘Dallas-style' house.”

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