Slab wood was historically a waste by-product of the Lumber Industry. Lumber used in construction and other building processes normally needs to be square. But logs from trees used for lumber are round. In the Sawmill, the bark and outside of a log is sliced off as the lumber is squared. It was mostly seen as waste that piled up and was of limited use, except perhaps for kindling. Often these piles of excess slabs that could not be utilized were just burned. Environmental concerns regarding burning, air pollution, and global warming have recently come to the forefront. Technological advances in materials and construction methods have resulted in the development and manufacture of natural wood substitutes. Composites utilizing wood waste and other by-products, such as particle board, strandboard (OSB), fibreboard, MDF, hardboard and others, have been developed and utilized in the industry for many years now. These two developments in part, have reduced the amount of slab wood that was not being utilized. Slab wood is now rarely burned so that it can be rid of. This is mostly due, to a certain extent, to government environmental laws and policies. In larger sawmills the slabs are not just discarded to the side, but are directly put through “wood chipper” machines that reduce the wood into smaller wood chips. These are then sent off or sold to industries that process and manufacture the various composite products.
Some smaller operations and portable sawmill operators often do not have the means to dispose of access slab wood. They are more than happy to give it away to local residents and cottagers for kindling and campfires. A number of hardwoods and some softwood species have an innate beauty in its bark and wood combinations. If worked in the proper way, the resulting products have appealing and unique characteristics.
As a consequence, creations utilizing slab wood can be seen as a things of beauty and visually appealing.