The people at Buffelen Woodworking have been making custom wood doors to fit any opening since 1913. They are a manufacturing company built on traditional values that is reinventing itself everyday with state of the art equipment and capabilities to serve the marketplace for the next 100 years. The craftsmanship required to build quality doors that last for generations hasn’t changed. It still requires skill to craft joinery that fits precisely and creates the kind of strength that allows them to last for decades.
However, the tools have changed; the joiner’s planes have been replaced with modern, multifunction CNC tooling that allows the Buffelen craftsman to precisely and repeatedly create components that fit right the first time, whether they’re creating a one-off custom or a complete run of doors for a complex new development. The craftsman’s touch also remains. All Buffelen doors are hand assembled, sanded and finished to ensure that every door leaving our plant fully represents the standard of quality we’ve established throughout our nearly 100-year history.
In the past, Buffelen maintained a stock of every door they make. Today they build it faster, better and with more precision than ever before. They build exactly what you want, to order. They’ll work with you every step of the way to build a superior product. Then we’ll deliver. In weeks. Not months. Success today depends on having the flexibility to compete. Gone are the days when you can build one door one day and another the next day. Modern tooling and equipment allows us to build them all at the same time. We are capable of building seven different profiles simultaneously – and have 14 different species on site at all times. But you can rest assured that every Buffelen door created today carries with it the legacy of quality and craftsmanship we’ve built with every door.
What is a custom door? Often, it starts with a quick sketch from the architect’s hand, or an idea that springs to life from the cocktail napkin where it was born. Either way, it is a quality door that’s made to order. Nothing is out of bounds. Shapes: we can do curves, ellipticals, rounds, arches, virtually any shape you can put on paper. Panels can be v-grooved, planked or beaded. You can choose from any species that matches your decor, even mix species if that’s your dream. We stock 14 different species and can custom resaw virtually any species to your order. After all, that’s the definition of a custom door.
In the past, custom doors were built in a completely different workflow. Lead times were long, production started with a drawing. At today’s Buffelen, with the joinery defined by CAD drawings, and the ability to adjust tooling virtually on the fly, nearly every door we make can be built to different specifications, different profiles, without slowing down production. We offer a full package for custom homes: the Individual House Package – exteriors, interiors, bifolds, sidelights and transoms, all from a single supplier. Custom jambs, brick molds, astragals and sills are available to match in the same species. So let’s talk. The very word “custom” means that it may not have been done before. Show us your sketches; get us your specs, tell us what species or even combination of species matches your decor. Curved, elliptical, round… we can make your wildest dreams come true. For architects, designers, builders and distributors, it’s the ultimate in flexibility. Made-to-order, quality built doors delivered on time, on budget, every time.
The words “building green” get thrown around a lot these days, the only building material that builds itself is wood. Building green is a contemporary label for the “three E’s” that must be increasingly balanced by today’s building professionals: energy, environment and economy. A new orthodoxy has also emerged that assumes any alternative to wood is somehow environmentally preferable. So how does wood stack up as a green building material?
Energy, wood is the only building material that is largely energy self-sufficient in its manufacture-the only material that builds itself. By weight, wood remains our number one industrial raw material, accounting for 47 percent of consumption, but for only four percent of the total energy embodied in the manufacture of raw materials. Steel, on the same basis, accounts for just 23 percent of raw material while consuming 48 percent of the total energy input. Steel’s energy input is largely in the form of mining and burning coal – non-renewable processes – while the primary energy input for wood is from solar energy. Wood is also an energy-efficient structural material when used in a building. Wood is a natural insulator; inch-for-inch it’s 15 times more efficient than concrete and 400 times that of steel.
Environment, an image of harvested trees begs the question, “Aren’t we running out of trees?” Early in our country’s history the forests were looked upon as mined resources, another gold rush, and land to be cleared. History books are replete with images of forest giants clear-cut by Paul Bunyan, and Saturday morning cartoons continue to show “eco-villains” destroying the last forest. Against this backdrop, it’s important to consider the substance rather than the symbolism. The real story is that almost three billion trees are planted in America’s forestlands each year. Perhaps it has become difficult for our society to visualize a cycle that is 50 years long, but our forest growth now exceeds removals by 37 percent.
Of course, things weren’t always that way; as late as the 1920’s harvest rates were double the growth. The balance changed during the 1920’s as foresters began to control losses due to fire, disease and insects. Serious efforts to replant began in 1941 with the adoption of the first Tree Farm Act and in 1944 the Sustained Yield Management Act was passed as recognition of the finite nature of old growth timber. Sustained yield is not a new concept to the forest product industry. In fact, it depends on the long-term health of forestlands. Northwest companies like Weyerhaeuser are now growing third-growth forests on their timberlands.
Another environmental plus for wood is its impact on the global carbon cycle. Many scientists contend that rising levels of carbon are leading to global warming. Growing wood fiber in your working forests is very beneficial to the balance of carbon in the atmosphere. The growth of one pound of wood absorbs 1.47 pounds of carbon dioxide and releases 1.07 pounds of oxygen.
Economy, Americans use a lot of wood fiber. The current annual per capita use of wood products (excluding paper) is 80 cubic feet or about one “standard” tree – defined (by the American Forest Resources Alliance) as eighteen inches in diameter and 100 feet tall, or roughly 1,000 board feet. The untold success story is that advances in methods and materials have provided our society with much more value from the same wood fiber. The log cabin is an American cultural icon – the first building of the pioneers – and a profligate consumer of wood. A small log house could easily use 30 to 40 of those “standard” trees.
Fortunately, the major leap in resource efficiency took place in the mid-1830s. So-called “balloon” framing with two-by-fours and the concurrent advent of the stream-driven sawmill began to “stretch” trees to build many more houses. The next “stretch” of wood fiber began in 1905 when structural fir plywood was developed for the Lewis and Clark World Fair in Portland. By the 1950s, 3/8-inch plywood was replacing sheathing. Today the “stretch” is in the form of products like oriented strand board that makes use of underutilized fast-growing species like aspen and birch. “Structural composite lumber” describes the wide array of products from glue-laminated timbers to wood I-beams that continue to replace solid wood framing and stretch the resource more by putting the high-strength wood fiber into a more efficient shape. Our local choices truly have global consequences. Wood is the product of sunlight, earth, air and water – all natural elements. Trees grow back; strip mines, gravel pits and depleted oil wells do not. The responsible growth, harvest, processing and re-growth of wood fiber for building material is the most benign path to a sustainable future.
These “three E’s” that make building green matter along with Technology and Tradition are what Buffelen is all about. Meeting the demands of tomorrow’s marketplace by combining the efficiencies of technology with the traditions built on over 100 years of quality and craftsmanship. No other wood door manufacturer can make that statement – no other wood door manufacturer has the experience to back it up.