Reclaimed Douglas Fir: Learn about its History

For 40 years, The Lumber Baron has been the Bay Area’s source for quality lumber. We specialize in old-growth, reclaimed lumber such as redwood and Douglas fir, with milling and resurfacing capabilities on-site. We have learned a lot about lumber, and one of the things we have learned about reclaimed lumber is that it all has history, and every board foot has its own story to tell.

Reclaimed Doulgas Fir - Learn about its History - The Lumber Baron

Reclaimed from Paper Mills

Some of our reclaimed Douglas fir comes from West Coast paper mills. We have hand-picked fir from the Harbor Paper Mill in Hoquiam, Washington, as well as the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill in San Leandro, California. Some of the material from these sites features exquisite aging and coloration, and both show off the quality of clear lumber commonly harvested 80 to 100 years ago.

Lumber with Naval History

We have acquired Douglas fir from the Mare Island Naval Yard Warehouse. Mare Island once played an important role in West Coast Naval activity, but the base was deactivated during the late 1990s and is in the process of being redeveloped today. Use-specific markings are visible on the ends of many pieces, and Douglas fir is renowned for its strength and durability over time.

Morton Salt Company

The Morton Salt Company has been part of the American story for over 100 years, including the Morton Salt Factory at Newark, CA. When the facility closed in 2016, The Lumber Baron had the opportunity to reclaim 15,000 board feet of 2” x 8” fir. Our stock was hand selected from the best pieces of old-growth, with special attention to the density and strength which was common then but rarely found in today’s big box stores.

Warehousing and Distribution

Other reclaimed Douglas fir has come from all over California, including lumber salvaged from the International Harvester Distribution Plant in Richmond, CA, and the Coast Counties Warehouse in Santa Maria, CA. From flooring to ceiling, we have reclaimed fir that is perfect for your projects.

The places listed here are a few of the notable source of our quality reclaimed Douglas fir, but it also comes from bridges and bleachers and construction projects up and down the West Coast. Wherever the promise of reusable old-growth lumber appears, that is where we go in search of the best material our customers could buy. Call or stop by for pricing and additional information.

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Commercial Glass Trends

The glass at your office or storefront is one of the first things customers see. It can set the tone for your business and how customers engage with it; inviting customers to window shop, to see happy customers eating meals, or conversely, demonstrating the privacy you maintain for your customers. There are several commercial glass options for your business that can send the message that you want. Here are some commercial glass trends.

Commercial Glass Trends - Dan's Glass

Stained Commercial Glass

Historically associated with churches, stained glass is gaining in popularity in some markets. It can help your business stand out and create a festive atmosphere for your customers. Stained glass is mainly used by dance clubs and restaurants to extend the exciting ambiance inside to the exterior of the business, sending the message that customers are in for a great time.

Tinted Commercial Glass

Tinting can be incorporated strategically into your building. It reduces the amount of sunlight and, consequently, solar heat that enters a building. It can also increase the privacy and security of your building and for your customers. For spaces in your business where sun shines directly into customer’s eyes or overheats spaces, tinting can be incorporated to minimize these negative effects without window treatments.

Frosted Commercial Glass

Frosted glass is ideal for businesses that want high amounts of ambient light but also want to retain the privacy of their customers. Doctor’s offices are a classic example. Direct sunlight can be distracting, but an office without any sunlight is less inviting. Frosted glass is available in many styles beyond the standard frosted private eye cliche in the movies. It can be aesthetically pleasing and inviting, while still retaining the desired lighting and privacy benefits.

Silk-Screened Commercial Glass

Silk-screened glass is similar in function to frosted glass in that it can reduce glare and increase privacy while allowing in sunlight. The difference is that silk-screened glass generally results in a printed pattern on the glass instead of a frosting that covers the entire surface. This also means that the level of privacy is lower than that of frosted glass. It is created by applying ceramic frit to the glass surface which is then annealed together when heated. Silk-screened glass can have patterns that fit with your business’ brand or interior design elements. This makes it a very flexible tool to set the tone for your business, inside or out. 

At Dan’s Glass in Concord, California, we offer a variety of glass options to meet the needs of your commercial property.  Contact one of our glass experts today to discuss your next project.

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Consider the Permeability of Concrete in Your Next Project

Concrete is a matrix of cement, aggregate, water, air and additives. The cement bonds together large and small aggregates such as pebbles and sand, while water, air, and additives are introduced in varying quantities to create the desired mixture. The composition of the concrete can vary dramatically depending on what the project requires, and can be altered by changing the ratio of cement to water, the amount and size of the aggregate, as well as the inclusion of additives that change a specific aspect of the concrete’s characteristics. For example, foam concrete uses little to no small aggregate and a foam additive to create lightweight concrete. Regardless of the specific mixture, concrete is porous and is permeable to both water and air, though the level of permeability will vary tremendously depending on the mixture. It can be a benefit to consider permeability as a factor as you plan your next project.

Low permeability concrete

Limiting permeability can extend the lifetime of some concrete and is ideal when concrete would be exposed to harsh conditions, such as chloride exposure in parking garages which can corrode the steel reinforcements in the concrete. A low permeability reduces the amount of gas that can penetrate the concrete, protecting the steel from corrosion for a longer period.

High permeability concrete

Alternatively, increasing the permeability can allow water to pass through concrete itself. Highly permeable concrete has little or no small aggregate and a higher air content. This creates a matrix that is mainly large aggregate bonded together with cement. This structure allows water to pass through quickly – from 3 to 17 gallons per minute for each square foot on concrete.  The Green Building Alliance, which manages LEED certifications, records the introduction of highly permeable concrete in the US in the 1970’s. Though it has been used in some areas in the US since then, it did not gain greater adoption until recently. The rise of sustainable development has promoted the use of porous cement for stormwater management. Permeable concrete allows water to enter the soil and eventually water tables, while still mitigating the damaging effects of water runoff during storms.

Conco’s goal is to be the top supplier of concrete services in the Western U.S. and to bring our expertise and professionalism to each project.  We continue to upgrade and expand our facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, industrial, educational, parking structure projects and other development. For the best value and quality, trust your project to one of the area’s leading lightweight concrete contractors.

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The Beauty of Concrete

Concrete can be not only a functional aspect of construction, but also an intentional design element. This can be seen in polished and stamped concrete in Portland. Decorative concrete works to manipulate the surface of concrete for aesthetic appeal. There are many methods to alter the concrete surface and create beautiful surfaces for different scenarios. They can also be applied to new concrete or as part of restoring old concrete. The following are a few popular methods to decorate concrete.


A polished concrete surface looks very different than the unpolished concrete seen in buildings. It is so smooth that it shines. Concrete is polished using diamond pads on mechanical grinders. The grit count, where the lower number is a larger sized grinding particle, starts with 6 and goes up to 3000 grit. Generally at least six stages of polishing are done, increasing the grit number each time. Above an 800 grit, concrete begins to have the characteristic shine of polished concrete. Finishing concrete with polishing is most often used for flooring, where it is a LEED certified sustainable building material, due to its low material use and durability.

Stains and Dyes

Concrete can be colored when mixing or stained after placement. Stains can either be ink or acid based. When dyes are added to a concrete mix, it permanently changes the color of the concrete. This dyes the entire concrete block the desired color. When an ink-based stain is used on curing or dried concrete, the ink penetrates the top layers of the concrete, usually with the help of a carrier similar to acetone or lacquer thinner. Acid-based stains are also placed on dried concrete and react with the concrete, mainly the lime in the cement, to change the color of the surface of the concrete.

Stamped and Engraving

The exterior layer of concrete can also be manipulated to create a specific aesthetic. Stamped concrete is created by pressing molds into concrete while it is still wet. This is often used in outside surfaces to make concrete look like bricks, stones, and slates. Engraving, on the other hand, is done after the concrete has hardened. An expert engraver can create intricate patterns on concrete using diamond tipped grinding and cutting tools designed to cut into concrete.

At The Conco Companies, we are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products. Our experience includes providing services for commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects. Please contact us for more information about our full range of premium Portland area concrete services including shotcrete.

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Weekend Project: Reclaimed Lumber Picnic Table

Summer BBQ gatherings are just around the corner and now is the time to build a picnic table with some reclaimed lumber from The Lumber Baron. Here, we have provided you with a few links to plans and suggestions to help you along, but feel free to modify these plans to your liking, or simply draw up your own set of plans. Take care to maintain the functional balance of the table to avoid tipping when the table is loaded down with good eats and tasty beverages.

Weekend Project - Reclaimed Lumber Picnic Table - The Lumber Baron

Benefits of Reclaimed Lumber

Your picnic table needs to be study and able to stand up to the test of time, but you also want the finished product to be aesthetically pleasing. Beside the natural benefits, there are many reasons to work with reclaimed lumber, including:

  • Close, Tight Grain Pattern
  • Less Likely to Warp or Split
  • Unique Coloration
  • Conversational and Historic Value

DIY is Better

Today’s mass-production of picnic tables leaves a lot to be desired, even before the fact that few of them use reclaimed lumber. The joints are often not tight enough to prevent wobbling, the wood quality is usually fair to barely suitable, and those pre-fab tables will force you to accept the common fare rather enjoying a unique picnic table experience. Building your own table gives you the opportunity to avoid all of these shortcomings as well as adding a few personal touches of your own, such as built-in cup holders.

Add Some Variety

Whether you build a picnic table with a place to put ice and drinks, has attached seats or separate ones, or even a table built in different shapes such as triangles or octagons, you can use reclaimed lumber to build exactly what you want. There are even simple plans to build a convertible table that turns into benches after the meal.

We have spent more than 40 years building a reputation for providing top quality lumber to Bay Area builders and homeowners. Our reclaimed lumber selection is hand-picked and comes from major buildings, holding tanks, and bridges that have been decommissioned all over the country, especially up and down the West Coast. Before you shop elsewhere, visit The Lumber Baron for your next weekend project and find out what sets us apart.

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Recycling Fly Ash for Concrete

Building projects and energy production are two industries vital to infrastructure and the economy. At the same time, energy production has negative environmental impacts, and the construction industry is one of the largest consumers of energy.  These two industries combine to create a value chain to move a polluting byproduct from one industry and turn it into a recycled component of the another. This has led to the availability of more sustainable commercial construction with use cases from cellular concrete to high density concrete applications.

Fly Ash is a combination of particulates that result from coal combustion. If these particulates are released into the air they can enter ecosystems or be breathed directly, leading to adverse health effects. This led to environmental regulations mandating the removal of fly ash from coal power plants’ combustion products before they leave the plants’ chimneys. This lead to an improvement in air quality but also a large amount of fly ash just being stored on site at power plants or in landfills.

At the same time, environmentally friendly building practices became more important in some projects. One sustainability metric of building materials is the amount of energy required to produce a material, known as the embodied energy of the material. Reducing the embodied energy means that less energy is consumed during the production and transportation of building materials, which in turn reduces the overall amount of energy that must be produced to meet demand and its corresponding environmental impact. One major way of reducing embodied energy is to include recycled materials as they often require significantly less energy to acquire than it does to make new material.

Fly ash is a pozzolan and can partially replace Portland cement in concrete production. Introducing fly ash into concrete construction increases the percentage of recycled products in building materials and reduces the amount of fly ash stored throughout the country.

The Conco Companies mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western United States and to bring expertise, experience, and quality of each project. We continue to upgrade and expand facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, educational, public works, and parking structure projects as well as other construction development.  

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Shotcrete Technology and Expertise

Shotcrete delivers concrete efficiently and effectively. Similar in composition to standard concrete that is mixed on-site and pumped into forms to set, shotcrete is sprayed into place instead of poured.  Due to its ability to place cement in multiple forms in tight spaces and across distances quickly, shotcrete construction in Portland has been popular for decades.

The Shotcrete Process

The shotcrete process was invented in 1907. Shotcrete technology has matured since its origins and now there are two main shotcrete methods – wet or dry. Both spray concrete hydraulically from a hose system and produce concrete with comparable properties to standard concrete.  Dry shotcrete accelerates dry material with compressed air through a hose and combines it with water and additives as the dry material exits the hose. The wet shotcrete process mixes the concrete before entering a hose. This allows for specific, consistent ratios of additives and/or water for the concrete mixture. The premixed concrete also creates less dust and concrete rebound when hitting the target surface. As the results for both processes are similar, the decision between each process depends of the concrete needed, job site constraints, and preference of concrete contractor.

The Shotcrete Advantage

Formwork, the molds that concrete is poured into while it cures, can be up to 35%-50% of concrete construction costs for a project. The shotcrete process bonds concrete to rebar, reducing or eliminating the need to support the internal pressures present when concrete is placed. This creates formwork cost savings potentially over 50% compared to cast-in-place construction.  The resulting shotcrete concrete is also very strong and can be applied quickly. As shotcrete reduces the internal pressures of the placed concrete, it is often used to create intricate concrete shapes.

Why an Experienced Shotcrete Team Matters

The dry shotcrete process leverages a nozzleman’s expertise to combine the dry mixture with water and/or additives and the speed as it leaves the nozzle. The mixture itself continues mixing as it hits the target surface.  This degree of control allows for a nozzleman to react in real-time to the concrete’s placement and adjust levels if needed. Additionally, shotcrete requires different preparation such as tying rebar at crossing points to reduce vibration during application and allowing for proper rebar encasement by the concrete when applied. Experience in these details can make the difference between an on-budget, on-time project.

At The Conco Companies, we are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products. Our experience includes providing services for commercial, educational, parking, and other construction development as well as public works projects. Please contact us for more information about our full range of premium Portland area concrete services including shotcrete.

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