While most are used for firewood, woodchips and mulch, a portion goes to contemporary urban logger Cosmo Fanizzi, owner of wood milling, distributing and design company City Woods, who collects them and puts them back to use.
As a local entrepreneur, Fanizzi is transforming the way sustainability is seen in Syracuse. He has workspace in Rick Destito’s Gear Factory on West Fayette Street.
Behind the factory are piles of stumps, boards and near full-length trees with bark on them. He calls the space the “Bone Yard” where he mills the wood before it is dried and fashioned in the shop. Fanizzi says it takes about one year for every inch of thickness of a single piece of wood to dry. He’s collected some 15 species of wood from the area including white oak, elm, sugar maple, emerald ash borer (which is becoming extinct) and black walnut (currently popular due to its dramatic and flashy finish).
Fanizzi currently does his own collecting, milling and design, making custom-made furniture and putting in flooring on commission. He also distributes collected wood to local woodworkers.
Some of his customers have been inspired by the work of Japanese-American craftsman George Nakashima. Fanizzi says the live edge woodworking craze is becoming mainstream thanks to the hype surrounding Nakashima.
Fanizzi is in the process of buying the 1921 Albert Kahn building behind the Gear Factory to house his company. He hopes to transition his business to concentrate only on the milling and supplying of the wood to other local artisans.
“We are more than a furniture company,” he says. “We do urban logging in the most general sense. Soon, I want to steer the process and pair the wood with local woodworkers for different projects.”
Fanizzi has some major projects in the works involving local Syracuse parks. Check back tomorrow for more information on what he’s planning.