City Bench & CFPA

Yesterday, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association partnered with City Bench for a holiday open house at their showroom in Higganum. It was my first time to City Bench, though I have seen their work displayed in various places around the state, including CFPA’s library, Bradley International Airport, and Yale University.

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It makes total sense that CFPA, an organization that has been serving Connecticut to protect forests, parks, walking trails, and open spaces since 1895, would work with City Bench to kick off the holiday season in fine woodcrafting style.Founders Ted and Zeb Esselstyn walked us through a slide show presentation. Their business combines traditional fine woodworking with forestry, sustainability, and art. I can’t do their story justice, but you can read about it in their words here: City Bench Story.

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The popular press has also covered City Bench as they have garnered attention throughout the region. Yale Univerity has been a partner and even the New York Times has noted them. Much of  their work has been with the city of New Haven. They manage the city’s old trees by salvaging them when they come down or have to come down. Working in urban forests has unique requirements. Many of these trees would be unsuitable for traditional wood production because of the large amount of metal and obstructions (e.g. barbed wire, wiring, nails, bullets, etc.) that are found in them. Many of the trees that City Bench takes would be destined for land fill.

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After seeing City Bench, I thought of several other businesses I like that capitalize on waste streams. Moto Art repurposes products that are near and dear to my heart. They take scrap vintage aircraft products and make furniture and sculptures. I’ve thought about sending them some bits from Horst Engineering…but we try to keep the scrap to a minimum…

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Another business that comes to mind is Resource Revival. Also on the metalworking side, they repurpose old bicycle parts into all kinds of neat products. Making use of “junk’ is in vogue, but what City Bench does is truly remarkable.

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The woodworking is top-tier and the sustainable mission enhances their offerings. Looking over their stuff, I liked how every piece had a story. Essentially you get a “certification” stating the origin of the tree that was converted into your unique piece of furniture. They have worked with many of Connecticut’s notable trees and have helped private tree owners craft keepsake memories of their favorite trees long after their lives have ended.

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My favorite part of my visit was meeting Ted and Zeb, plus their mom. This family has a passion for what they do. I love family businesses. Having grown up in one, they are near and dear to my heart. Even their display space is historic. The building was part of Higganum’s old Scovil Hoe Company complex.

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I learned a bit more after Ted and Zeb sent me across the street to meet their neighbor at Kenyon Laboratories. Ken-Lab makes use of the main Scovil space to produce amazing gyros for the film, photography, and defense industries. I got a bonus tour of their factory and got to check out their new machining centers. Nothing beats a shop tour, particularly when machining is involved. I’ve had my fill of machines this week. I was in Irvine, California on Thursday and Friday to visit a customer in the aerospace industry. I’m on a machine high right now.

2012_Shur-Lok Trip 4

My one regret from yesterday’s City Bench event is that I didn’t join my CFPA friends for the short trip up the road to the Esselstyn’s wood shop. I stuck around the showroom and talked business before commissioning a piece for one of Horst Engineering’s recently renovated conference room. I can’t wait to get back there and see the finished product.

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I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
・・・
We just launched the #cxnats edition of #crossspikes News and it is chock full of great information. Click our profile for a link to the newsletter and info regarding @renocxnats pre-orders and on-site sales. See you at the Race Expo! #crossisboss 🚴🏽🏆 Brilliant sunshine☀️ at the @shenipsitstriders #newyearsday run. #shenipsitstriders #boltonnotch #hopriverstateparktrail #teamhorstsports #trailrunning ❄️🌲⛄️🏃🏻

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