Urban Forest - Field to Studio

Cliff Spencer...

Cliff never went to woodworking school, but he would never call himself "self-taught." He learned by working for a lot of talented and demanding people. After starting young as child labor in his family’s yard in Birmingham, AL, he built sets for plays throughout high school. He built window displays in New York for Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the country, while supporting an acting habit. He transitioned to set design for film in Los Angeles which gives him a profile on IMBD. He always kept a job in a wood shop for in between movies. He realized he thrived in the wood shop more than on a film crew and never looked back. He learned the craft from the skilled professionals he has worked for in New York, Los Angeles and Aspen, CO.

While running his own shop, he catered to a desirable and discerning clientele, including A-list celebrities. He completed a range of high profile projects, including David Hertz’s Wing House, Los Angeles Magazine 2005 Design Home, the Casa del Mar Hotel spa, and several restaurants, including Westside Tavern, Bucato and Trois Mec. The work has been published in Angeleno, Angeleno Interiors, California Home + Design, Woodshop News, Woodworker West, Wired, Martha Stewart and featured on the CBS Evening News.

His favorite part of the business in Los Angeles was “Tree Concierge”. A customer’s tree would come down and we would guide them through the process of having it milled, dried. Then, we would design personalized architectural elements and furniture for them. We partnered with the City of Burbank to divert hundreds of trees from their landfills.

The urban timber concept had legs. He wanted to grow, but navigating Los Angeles seemed harder every year. Plus, he had an insatiable itch to move home to Birmingham.

Cliff knew the trees in Birmingham were the best. The creative community is growing at a rapid pace. He pitched the idea at Design/Birmingham in 2014 and found local collaborators who were ready to start milling. Lastly, he convinced his wife, a California native, to head to the deep South for a culture shift. She went for it!

We are happy to share this new venture with you!


Our Team


Leigh Spencer

Graphic designer by training and wood-obsessed by marriage, Leigh develops her business skills everyday as she runs the operations of Alasaw. A native Californian, she is loving the South. 


Bruce Lanier

While acting as principal architect at Standard Creative, an architecture firm in Birmingham, and running MakeBHM, a creative co-working space in Avondale, Bruce plays a crucial role in creative direction for Alabama Sawyer.

Team Members

Coming soon.



Chris leads the team of sawyers. He is a gifted mechanic, forklift maneuverer and all-around skilled problem solver.



Tim came to us with an insatiable will to work. He contributes to a range of our shop's compulsory labor needs, while acquiring new skills with dedication, speed and a great attitude.