an Francisco’s oldest residents, our trees, give us rare local and historical wood, which in our past was less appreciated. “It was disappointing to see San Francisco’s urban lumber go to waste for years,” said Jean Claude Rochat, owner, and CEO of Arbor Upcycle. Rochat, who was always fascinated with trees, had an epiphany as he looked at the urban forest of San Francisco, which inspired him to found his arbor company.
Rochat is an arborist by profession. He attended an arborist school in Switzerland and later gained a broad knowledge of and deep experience with agriculture in the United States.. He initially started a tree service with co-founder Gui. Then he built the company Arborist Now Inc. together with Remy Hummer.
He and his co-founders, Gui and Remy, realized that they could salvage and repurpose the beautiful wood of the city’s urban forest. Currently, Arbor Upcycle is the only company in San Francisco dedicated to salvaging and milling local downed trees.
Since 2010, they have removed trees that others saw as unwanted wood and turned them into beautiful artistic interior furnishings. They did this by upcycling and transforming unwanted industry byproducts into new materials of equal or better quality. By harvesting and upcycling the local trees that fall or that have to be cut down, they have preserved the history and soul essence of the trees here in San Francisco and the Bay Area to adorn our homes, office spaces, and showrooms.
From tree-to-table, Arbor Upcycle builds furniture exclusively from San Francisco trees that were destined for the landfill. The vivid contours of the wood, especially the live-edge wood, gives the furniture a sculptured quality. The beauty comes from the unique shape of the lumber slabs and the grain of the wood, which shows its character. No two pieces are alike, as not all live edge slabs are identical. The furniture retains the wild spirit and character of the tree. Each piece comes with a Tree ID History tracking system, identifying the species of the tree and the neighborhood in San Francisco where the tree once stood.
Arbor Upcycle also serves the DIY consumer market. Customers can create their own unique items with ready-to-use slabs; even the most casual do-it-yourselfers can build stunning pieces for their homes.
In the Bay Area there are a good number of DIY woodworkers who enjoy creating their own masterpieces. However, most don’t have the space or budget for the larger tools and machinery needed to finish projects completely. Arbor Upcycle addresses this need by providing planing and milling services. They can custom mill to whatever size customers need, surfacing and planing pieces up to seven feet wide using their Woodpecker router sled. The Wood-Mizer LT40 can mill logs up to six feet in diameter and up to twenty-one feet in length, while the Alaskan Mill can mill logs up to five and a half inches wide and of infinite length.