A Spotlight on Authentic Craftwork & Sustainability: Interview with Michael Bright, Winner, 2016 PureBond® Quality Awards First Prize
- May 17, 2017
- by Columbia Forest Products
For craftspeople and companies that manufacture with wood panels, there is a growing challenge to build quality products that are sustainable and safe for the environment. With the stricter standards recently passed through the Toxic Substances Control Act by the Environmental Protection Agency, builders who use engineered composite wood in their products will need to source materials that pass the new formaldehyde emission regulations.
Opportunities Through the PureBond Community
To make it easier for builders and manufacturers to source responsibly-made wood for their products, Columbia Forest Products in 2006 switched its assembly operations away from formaldehyde based glues to a new, patented, soy-based assembly technology, creating their EPA award-winning PureBond® brand of hardwood plywood.The company also launched the PureBond® Fabricator Network (PFN), to celebrate and support those fabrication shops that use PureBond® formaldehyde-free materials in their finished goods.
The PureBond Quality Awards: Highlighting the Accomplishments of Today’s Fabricators
Columbia Forest Products has seen success in building this network of quality manufacturers, and in 2010 established the PureBond® Quality Awards, to promote healthy and sustainable products and quality craftsmanship, and further build that community of fabricators.
“We’ve always admired [the fabricators’] work,” says Todd Vogelsinger, Director of Marketing at Columbia Forest Products, “and thought a competition would be a great way to spotlight their accomplishments. Six years in, and the entries continue to amaze and inspire.”
Recently, Columbia interviewed Michael Bright of Bright Woodworks, who won 1st place in the Residential category of the PureBond® Quality Awards in 2016. Bright has been in business since 1981, and his company, comprised of 11 people and one dog, has been recognized for its custom woodwork and superior quality product, in addition to their commitment to green and sustainable building practices. They’ve been doing the “green” thing before it was actually a thing.
“I’ve been going to Grateful Dead shows and recycling aluminum cans for 30 years,” says Bright, “and for whatever reason, it became very, very popular 10 years ago.”
Bright has ensured that the company’s practices are consistently sustainable, as well.
“We recycle all of our wood shavings. We distill all of our waste chemicals. We try to repurpose any of the wood – we’ll lay out in an area where people come by and sort of grab it rather than it just going in our dumpster. We panel optimize obviously so we don’t produce much waste. We try to do everything as green as we possibly can – including using PureBond® or any finishing materials.”
Building Better Customer Relations with Better Products
Bright has been a member of the PureBond® Fabricator Network for a couple of years now. “When I found that there was a domestic product that had a premium core that was ‘green,’ I was all over it,” he explains. “It’s been really good for us.”
The PureBond® Quality Award has helped Bright to leverage the quality of his product with customers, too. “We hung the award here. It’s a talking point when people come in.”
The PureBond® product makes it easier for fabricators to do business with the right clients.
“Some people get it and some people don’t,” says Bright. “Some people care and get it and some people will never get it.”
PureBond panels are ‘formaldehyde-free,’ because of the way they are engineered. There are no added urea formaldehyde components, and the wood is assembled with a soy-based resin system with no added formaldehyde in the formula, unlike many other wood panel products.
This kind of quality is what fabricators like Bright value most.
“I call what we do, this is kind of corny, but I call it “Bright Green,” he explains, “and if you go to the right person to design or build whatever it is you’re doing and you do it once and you do it perfectly then you don’t have to redo it ever – and then that’s the ultimate best value.”