Our 30+ years of manufacturing experience has taught us that high quality and high environmental performance are two chapters of the same story. The sustainably-harvested wood, high-performance glazing materials, and even the glues and finishes we use all contribute to our products’ beauty and durability.
Wood is nature’s own advanced composite material, possessing strength and thermal properties that rival any synthetic. The sustainably harvested hardwoods we use in most of our products also deliver long-lived beauty that can be enjoyed for many generations. We strongly encourage our customers to choose from the wide array Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified hardwoods, or the locally-recovered recycled timbers, stone, glass and metals. To give you some idea of the wide range of options you can choose from, here is a sampling of the wood we work with:
Sustainably Harvested Mahogany: While we will build your windows and doors with whatever wood your application demands, most of our customers choose our mahogany for its beauty, durability, cost-effectiveness and low environmental footprint. Produced in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, under FSC certification, this versatile wood compliments nearly any architectural application.
Heat-Tempered Northern Hardwoods: This process that allows us to use locally-grown timber as a substitute for tropical hardwoods is a new and exciting option for J.S. Benson Woodworking. Sustainably harvested northern polar is subjected to a unique vacuum sintering method that removes all the moisture from the wood and seals its cellular structure.
Besides making it virtually rot- and mildew-proof without the use of any additional chemicals, the process adds to the strength and beauty of the wood while using a fraction of the energy of a traditional kiln-dryer. Additional energy savings are realized because the distance the wood travels from forest to front door is usually measured in hundreds, rather than thousands, of miles.
We’re proud to offer our customers the option of using heat-tempered local hardwood for their projects both for its environmental benefits and the local jobs it helps create. You’ll be proud to have it in your home or business because of its long-lasting beauty.
Northeast species we use for exterior millwork include:
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) only the heart wood is suitable for exterior use.
White Oak (Quercus alba)
American Ash (Fraxinus americana) must be torrified (heat treated) for outdoor use.
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) very resistant to decay but difficult to do joinery with. Good decking if quatersawn.
Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) must be torrified for exterior use. Suitable for painted windows, doors & trim only.
Vintage Wood: Over the years, we’ve developed sources for obtaining wood that’s been recovered from demolition of the beautiful residences, barns, factories and institutions that graced the Northeast in the 1800s and 1900s. As we give these recovered woods a second life in our products, we often discover unusual species and beautiful old-growth grain structures not commonly found today. We love to work with solid oak and chestnut timbers that once framed New England’s proud architecture and have found wonderful uses for the western red cedar, Douglas fir and redwood recovered from the water tanks found on top of Manhattan’s high-rise buildings.
Locally salvaged antique lumber :
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Douglas Fir (Paesudotsuga menziesii)
Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)
American Pitch Pine (Pinus palustris)
Metal Cladding: Both our doors and windows can be clad in a variety of metals to produce the unique visual effects favored by modern architects. Copper cladding can be left to develop a natural patina or hand-rubbed with antiquing solution to produce a dark lustrous finish. Other custom copper treatments are available upon request. Custom color matching can be accomplished using aluminum cladding which is power-coated with a long-lasting finish that will compliment any color scheme you have in mind.
Low-E coatings: Much like argon filling reduces conductive losses, the low-emission (low-E) coatings applied to the interior surface of our windows helps cut infrared radiation losses that would otherwise sap energy from your building. When used in concert, argon filling and low-E coatings can boost the insulation value of a window to as much as R-3.45 without compromising its optical characteristics.
Vintage Glass: If your project places a premium on historical accuracy, we can incorporate vintage glass in your windows without compromising their thermal performance. J.S. Benson’s glass mounting system allows virtually any type of glass to grace the exterior portion of a modern argon-filled window. Our craftsmen can recover glass from the building you are restoring for re-use in our modern windows or we can obtain glass that’s matched to the style and period you require.
Inert Gas-Filled Glass: We offer the option of filling the space between the panes of our windows with inert gas (typically Argon or Krypton) to reduce their thermal conductivity. We use a warm-edge sealing system that has been certified using accelerated aging tests to insure that its integrity will remain intact for the 100-year design lifetime of the window.
Astrogel: Originally developed by NASA, this space-age material provides a translucent thermal barrier with an effective R value of up to R-19. It can be used in skylights, atrium walls, or any other application where you want to bring in natural daylight but minimize heat loss.
Glues & Finishes
J.S. Benson has been a pioneer in the use of long-lasting glues and finishes that are as environmentally-friendly as they are durable and beautiful. We currently assemble all our products using European adhesives that are certified by the DIN 68603 standard for toxicity and recyclability.
Where a natural finish is desired, we us clear Bangkarai oil, an extremely durable naturally-derived finish instead of traditional petroleum-based varnishes.
For opaque finishes, our current products use a petroleum-based Cabot 3-part finishing system that’s guaranteed for 15 years. We are currently evaluating a water-based 3-step urethane opaque finishing system that is entirely petroleum-free and appears to be remarkably durable. It is undergoing accelerated weatherization testing at an independent lab to assure that it will perform to our stringent specifications before we begin using it in our commercial and residential products.
Some of our custom projects require stone elements, especially for door thresholds. For these applications, we employ granite, marble, bluestone, and other materials recovered from dismantled buildings and industrial machinery. Besides the environmental benefits that giving these stones a second life in our products provides, using recycled stone adds to their beauty at a lower cost than virgin material.