A photo from the 2018 Port Townsend Woodworkers Show, courtesy of Tim Lawson.
The popular Port Townsend Woodworkers Show will return for its first in-person show since 2019 on the first weekend in November at the American Legion Hall in Port Townsend. This year, many makers will be displaying pieces made from two trees, a Western Alder and a Western Big Leaf Maple, that were selected for this very purpose during the Land Trust’s pilot selective timber harvest at Valley View Forest last year.
Cody Wayland made this maple burl bowl from the bigleaf maple he helped harvest, mill, transport, and dry in his local kiln.
Tim Lawson is a member of the SplinterGroup, the woodworking collective that produces the Woodworkers Show, as well as a Jefferson Land Trust board member and a founder of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.
“The Woodworkers Show is the place to see the depth of woodworking talent that we have in Port Townsend,” he says. “One of the things I love about the Show is you get to meet a whole bunch of people who have a common passion, and the visitors bring their own curiosity and excitement about what they’re going to see.”
We’re excited that an estimated three-quarters of the makers at the Show will be displaying pieces they’ve crafted from wood harvested locally, with overall forest health in mind, at Valley View Forest — the future gateway to Chimacum Ridge Community Forest.
As part of 2021’s selective harvest, the Land Trust offered a harvested tree, free of charge, to 16 local nonprofit, education, community, and Tribal partners to use in support of their missions. These groups, along with many others, participated in the planning for Chimacum Ridge Community Forest, helping to shape a vision for a forest that will offer ecological, economic, and recreational value to our community forever.
Felling the alder (left) and the maple (right) at Valley View Forest in December 2021.
The Port Townsend School of Woodworking was one of these partners, and decided to donate their tree to the SplinterGroup who planned to showcase this harvested wood in the 2022 Woodworkers Show. Members of the SplinterGroup handpicked two trees at Valley View, and were on hand to observe as the trees were carefully harvested in December 2021. See a cool time-lapse video of the maple being harvested here.
In the following days, some of the wood was milled onsite at Valley View. Members of the Strait Turners Woodturning Club gathered branches from both trees, with the plan to use some as training wood in their classes, share more with members of the group, and display pieces made from the wood at the Show. The Seattle Spoon Club also came to collect material from the two trees to carve into spoons and bowls that will also be on display. Branches and greenery not collected were left to enrich the soil and provide habitat in the forest.
Cody Wayland transporting wood from the bigleaf maple tree moments after it was harvested at Valley View Forest.
Cody Wayland of Wayland Constructive (a Land Trust Save the Land partner company) completed the milling at his local sawmill in Port Townsend, and some of the wood went into his dehumidification kiln for several months. The milled and kiln-dried wood was then offered to local and regional makers interested in using it to make a piece or pieces for the 2022 Show.
“Harvesting wood from a forest managed with the mission and foresight of a nonprofit like Jefferson Land Trust makes sense,” said Cody Wayland. “It’s on a much smaller scale and — without the clear-cutting, excessive and repetitive long-distance trucking, and use of plastic wrap — has less of an impact and a much smaller carbon footprint.”
Tim says he hopes that featuring the wood will highlight the possibilities of creating a market for locally harvested community forest lumber for local craftspeople, and will also challenge makers to conserve by using all parts of the trees that were harvested.
Pieces by Ben Tyler at the 2018 Show. Photo courtesy of Tim Lawson.
“Buying products made with local wood, by local artisans also keeps money in our economy,” Tim says. “It’s just like local food. If we can keep the wood local, rather than exporting it — fell the log, mill it, and kiln it right here, and give local artisans the chance to work with it — we can all reap the benefits of that tree by making value-added products right here in our community. The more we can build up a local wood economy, the better.”
The SplinterGroup has been putting on the Port Townsend Woodworkers Show each first full weekend in November since 2006. We encourage you to stop by the American Legion Hall at the end of Water Street to check it out for yourself during the Show’s public hours, from 11 am – 8 pm on Saturday, November 5 and from 11 am – 3 pm on Sunday, November 6. Admission is free. See you there!
The 65-acre Valley View Forest is the gateway to what will eventually become the 918-acre Chimacum Ridge Community Forest when we purchase it in 2023. Nonprofit community forests like Valley View Forest prioritize ecological health while returning benefits to the local community and economy, such as recreation, education, locally sourced wood products, and other related non-timber forest products like cedar bark and cedar tips.
For future community forest harvests, we plan to develop a process for any Jefferson County nonprofit to apply to receive donated timber and/or other harvest products. This process will be led by a community forest board of managers, made up of Land Trust staff and community members who will make collaborative decisions on management and resource allocation for the community forest.