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How One Local Woodworking Company is Giving Felled Trees New Life

How One Local Woodworking Company is Giving Felled Trees New Life
December 2019

Perrin Woodworking brings sustainability to the table

Perrin Woodworrking owners, Dan and Katy Perrin (inset), created a one-of-a-kind installaton for the lobby of The Guild apartment building downtown.

When Perrin Woodworking was commissioned to create a large-scale installation for the lobby of The Guild apartment building, owners Dan and Katy Perrin began seeking a local wood source. What they discovered led them to offer mobile tree milling to reclaim damaged and felled trees and transform them into pieces that can be enjoyed for generations.

For The Guild commission, the Perrins were invited to search a private property, where they found a live oak they believe fell 30 years ago during Hurricane Hugo and used their new mobile mill to cut the tree on-site. With the wood’s raw edges intact, the long slabs lent themselves to a one-of-a-kind design, which was installed in the building’s lobby in 2017. “The wall sculpture is our most treasured work so far,” Katy says.

Since its start in Dan’s garage two decades ago, Perrin Woodworking has grown into a 7,000-square-foot workspace on Meeting Street where the couple and five employees handcraft commercial and residential interior projects and custom furniture. A seventh generation Charlestonian, Dan grew up with an appreciation for the environment and preservation. Katy, creative operations manager, served on the board of the Lowcountry chapter of the Green Building Council, which promotes sustainability in building design and construction. Since purchasing the mobile mill, the Perrins have been able to offer clients the opportunity to immortalize a beloved tree.

In September, Perrin Woodworking was called to The Aiken Rhett House to repurpose a 19th-century magnolia damaged by Hurricane Dorian. The wood slabs will be used to create furniture or household objects to be displayed in the historic home.

The Perrins recently reclaimed a laurel oak in the Old Village that had been part of a family’s life for generations. It will become a table or benches. “For years to come, the family can sit around that table and appreciate that tree that had a sentimental value to them,” Katy says. “It continues telling a story.”

Perrin Woodworking crafted the tables and bar for Edmund’s Oast.

A Renewed Life

Follow these steps to repurpose a damaged tree:

On the Move Work with a certified arborist to determine whether the tree must be removed and to safely take it down, if necessary. At the same time, Perrin Woodworking would bring its mobile saw mill to mill slabs in place.

Have Patience Before the slabs can be repurposed, they must dry. Air drying takes up to three years depending on the thickness of the slabs. Kiln drying speeds up the process and takes weeks to months.

Best Use Once dried, Perrin Woodworking helps determine how to repurpose the material. The wood can be transformed into heirloom furniture pieces and more.