From Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, a Better Kind of Barn Wood

The inspiration for Chris Bartimioli’s newest venture came to him in a dream.

The CEO of CDA Wood had a vision in his sleep for a new kind of process to make reclaimed wood.

When he awoke, he began his due diligence. He figured out a chemical process to expedite the aging process for ponderosa and white pine. A friend plugged in the patent process for it.

He and his staff now take new lumber and apply pollen, minerals, salt and UVC light – to accelerate the weathering process. “It ages and densifies the cellulite, eliminates molds and incorporates a germicidal technology,” he says. “We’re coloring wood naturally, without stains or dyes.”

The colors depend on the wood and concentration of the solutions. Boards can be orange, gray, brown or black or white, depending on how the concentration is manipulated.

“There’s a seasonality to the popularity of the different colors,” he says. “Grays and blacks are more popular right now, and white is pretty popular on the coast.

Every board has its own character, with knots, grains and textures. CDA uses four total steps, one after another. “It takes 10 minutes, start to finish,” he says.

The wood responds with a look that exposes its natural colors, and a feel that is indistinguishable from other reclaimed wood. It’s a procedure that can’t be found anywhere else on the market today.

Bartimioli didn’t come into the business blindly. From age 16 to his early twenties he was living in Lake Tahoe, working on framing and in concrete. By the time he was 24 he had his California general contractor’s license and started residential work.

During the 2007-08 housing downturn he left and moved to Southern California with his equipment, looking for work. “I was a contractor for restaurants – I had 160 employes and commercial projects in L.A.,” he says. “I did 80 restaurants in L.A, celebrity homes and work for Restoration Hardware, plus film industry remodels and rebuilds.”

By 2013, he’d  moved to Idaho, and flew to L.A. every week for work. Then in 2016 he dreamed up Coeur d’Alene (CDA) Wood. “That’s the city I live in,” he says. “CDA is the acronym.”

Home Depot carries CDA’s products in its stores in every state. His clientele is mostly residential – 70 percent is do-it-yourself, the other 30 percent commercial. “We want to get to 50/50,” he says.

The preferred wood, usually a No. 3 grade or better, comes from sustainably managed forests in the Dakotas and Wyoming. CDA’s process gives the wood a better texture than standard lumber, and the firm uses a VOC-free process. “We finish both sides of the wood,” he says. “That gives the end user a greater value for what they’re spending.”

It’s a specialty product, selling at $2.80 to $3.00 a square foot for wall paneling, with the potential to last longer than standard lumber. Exterior applications last longer too. Some users stain it; others don’t.

And it’s a zero waste generator – a clean product from a clean facility. “We find a place for our waste product, like at Hobby Lobby,” he says. “For sawdust we’re in the process of recycling and reusing that as well.”

The ultimate solution for that is probably just a night’s sleep away.

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