Repurposing With A Purpose

Nature’s Fell gives new life to old trees.

Scott Alexander and Bob Snyder. Photo by Paul Bartholomew

Inspired by the devastation they witnessed following Superstorm Sandy, nature lovers Scott Alexander and Bob Snyder collect fallen trees, repurposing massive pieces of wood. The pair started small, with wooden spoons and cutting boards.

Handmade cutting boards are offered in the retail outlet for $20 to $200-plus. Photo by Paul Bartholomew

Before long, they were crafting custom tables, barn doors, countertops, flooring and benches, all from salvaged trees. “We are driven by our passion for nature,” explains Snyder.

A custom table with a unique grain. Photo by Paul Bartholomew

The transformations happen at Nature’s Fell, a 15,000-square-foot salvage center with a woodshop, yard, kiln and showroom in Middlesex. One enormous sawmill transforms the salvaged trees into usable lumber, while another meticulously cuts slabs. A small staff of woodworkers repurpose trees into art.

A sawmill at work at Nature’s Fell in Middlesex. Photo by Paul Bartholomew

This isn’t a first career for either of the men, who are stepbrothers. Alexander had a successful career as a chef, while Snyder’s days are still mostly spent as the fourth-generation CEO/owner of the family’s    construction business. Alexander is on site every day, sawing logs, crafting tables, perfecting finishes, and often delivering the finished pieces himself.

As the business grew, the partners built relationships with tree-service companies. “Instead of taking trees to a landfill, they bring them to us,” Alexander says. Each tree is inventoried to preserve its unique backstory. Alternately, if a homeowner has a beloved tree that needs to be cut down, Nature’s Fell can have it removed and transform it into a memento. For a recent project, they crafted a butcher-block table from a family’s fallen pine tree. “They had Thanksgiving dinner at that table,” Snyder says. “It’s like the tree was in their dining room. How beautiful is that?”

Customers can visit the workshop to see their design in progress, or Alexander will send video via cell phone. Billing is typically $100–$125 per hour for most projects. However, says Alexander, “It’s hard to put a price on what it takes to craft a piece.” A barn door, for example, can run about $1,000, depending on the intricacy of the design.

Nature’s Fell has also branched into flooring. “How cool to have your floors made out of trees from your own yard?” asks Snyder. “It’s the ultimate in repurposing. We’re all about grabbing these trees and having them live on in people’s lives.”­

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