Have a Seat at Bay Area History

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Furniture made from redwood found in Hangar One at Moffett Federal Airfield will be available at The Wooden Duck.

Moffet Field Hangar One

This kind of redwood cannot be purchased elsewhere since it is now illegal to cut down. This wood is frozen in time because it is from 1,000-year-old redwood trees.

Berkeley-based furniture stalwart The Wooden Duck teams with pioneering reclaimed wood company TerraMai to provide tables and other pieces built from one-of-a-kind redwood reclaimed from the historic Hangar One structure at Moffett Field in Mountain View.

Completed in 1931 by the U.S. Navy as a zeppelin hangar, Hangar One is one of America’s unique structures. The gorgeous old-growth redwood salvaged from the facility was uncovered as part of a recent renovation.

“This redwood was an incredible buy for TerraMai,” said TerraMai CEO Ken Westrick. “The history of this material is so special and unique to the Bay Area. Reclaimed old-growth redwood of this quality is almost unheard of these days and we’re excited to have it.”

Teaming up with The Wooden Duck opens another avenue to make this Moffett Field redwood available to folks in the Bay Area, Westrick added. Traditionally, TerraMai works mostly with architects and designers to provide reclaimed wood flooring, paneling, siding and other products for commercial and higher-end residential projects. Based in Southern Oregon, the company sources reclaimed wood from Asia, North America, South America and Africa.

In this case, The Wooden Duck will apply their experience and expertise in furniture fabrication to design and build dining tables and benches for both home consumers and the restaurant industry. In addition to its beauty, redwood is renowned for its resistance to rot and decay, which makes it a prized material for outdoor use.

While this marks the first collaboration between the two pioneering companies, The Wooden Duck has been working with reclaimed wood for almost as long as TerraMai. “The Wooden Duck has been making furniture from recycled wood and reclaimed materials in their shop in West Berkeley for almost 20 years,” said co-founder Eric Gellerman. Their sources include beloved local structures such as Cal Memorial and Kezar stadiums, as well as other pre-1920s buildings from across the globe, Gellerman said.

Even by the standards of these two industry veterans, the Moffett Field redwood is exceptional, both for the pure quality of the material and for its singular back story.

In addition to its origins as a U.S. Navy zeppelin hangar, the Hangar One facility has a colorful history that involves World War II, Cold War spying, space exploration and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Hangar One is one of the largest freestanding structures in the world, with a footprint covering eight acres. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, it is one of the valley’s most recognizable and beloved landmarks.

Hangar One was originally designed and built to accommodate the U.S. Navy airship USS Macon, which it housed, along with several smaller zeppelins, during the 1930s. Since then, both the structure and Moffett Field have experienced several generations of change and evolution. It became a U.S. Naval air station during World War II and then served as a base for maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare during the Cold War.

Hangar One was closed as a naval air station in 1994 and turned over to the NASA Ames Research Center, which continues to operate the facility. Among the more high-profile users of the airfield, which remains open to very select and limited air traffic, are Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who use it for their fleet of private jets. It is also used by Air Force One for presidential visits to the Bay Area.

Hangar One was recently listed among a top-10 list of the most endangered historic places in the U.S. by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Its status and its fate have been the subjects of intense debate in recent years.

After years of wrangling among the U.S. Navy, NASA and various state and local agencies and groups, the Navy recently removed the structure’s exterior panels and completed preservation work to its steel skeletal framework. It was this process that revealed the pristine old-growth redwood hidden inside the roof structure. This material was originally milled in the 1920s, during the glory days of the California redwood lumber industry.

The ability to make such unique reclaimed woods available to top architects and designers and to collaborate with them to create custom products for large-scale commercial projects makes TerraMai unique in the wood industry. TerraMai’s project list includes names like Google, REI, Stanford University, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks and the University of California, Berkeley, just to name a few. The company has also worked on residential projects throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere across the country.

The Wooden Duck’s imported, reclaimed wood furniture is generally considered the most direct-to-consumer value on the West Coast, according to Gellerman. The company sells directly to Northern California customers from their shops in Berkeley and San Rafael and has eliminated the “tiered” designer/wholesaler/trade pricing system that applies to most direct importers.

The Wooden Duck also does not ship out of state in order to keep costs down for local clientele, Gellerman adds. The company prides itself on only using 100-percent solid reclaimed wood (no ply, no veneer). Their factory in Berkeley specializes in locally made dining tables, beds and custom finishing on exotic reclaimed lumber from throughout the world. Gellerman said the company’s weekly “Duck Deal” has earned a loyal Bay Area following of which he is especially proud. Sign up at http://www.thewoodenduck.com.

About the company:

The Wooden Duck has been making commercial furniture from recycled wood and reclaimed materials in their shop in West Berkeley and around the world for almost 20 years. Their imported, reclaimed wood furniture is generally considered the most direct-to-consumer value on the West Coast as they ship factory direct and are located a mere seven miles from the port of Oakland.

They sell directly to Northern California customers from their shops in Berkeley and San Rafeal and have eliminated the “tiered” designer/wholesaler/trade pricing to which most direct importers still adhere. The Wooden Duck offers a discount system according to how much the customer buys... not who they are. The Wooden Duck does not ship out of state in order to keep costs down for their local clientele. Their weekly “Duck Deal” is considered the lowest price in the country on one particular item two or three times a month and it has a loyal following (sign up on their home page).

They pride themselves on always having used 100 percent solid recycled wood (no ply, no veneer) and their factory in Berkeley specializes in locally made dining tables, beds and custom finishing on exotic reclaimed lumber from the world.

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Paul Koshlap
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