Kevin started his lifelong love of wood when he was just 10 years old when a family friend invited him into his shop. Cal was a retired master carpenter and taught the importance of true quality craftsmanship in every piece. Today Kevin carries on that same pride in his concern for utilizing our natural resources from the Central San Joaquin Valley.
It is sad to see an orchard chipped or an urban tree cut into firewood when this wood can be utilized for fine instruments, bowls, and tables. We are also seeing our best Clara Walnut burls’ being shipped overseas when these older orchards are replaced. With the new rootstocks the upcoming generations of woodworkers will not have access to this beautiful wood. We are now seeing Pistachio orchards that are 40 to 50 years old being selectively replanted. These trees were just burned or chipped and it is one of the most incredible woods to work with. Pistachio is finding favor as a replacement for ebony as fingerboard with many famous guitar builders.
In 2003, with the encouragement of his wife, Sharon, Kevin purchased his first Woodmizer saw mill. From there the business has grown to include a larger Woodmizer, Lucas slabber with and 87 inch bar, grapple trailer, heavy duty planers, a 36 inch belt sander, CNC and a vacuum kiln. It is still a one man operation where Kevin recovers as much of this reclaimed wood as he can from orchard and urban sites.
These logs are cut to meet the highest standards of lutheries, turners, and fine furniture builders. As time allows Kevin does some finished items for sale. His urns, crosses, trays, tables and wood art are finished with the highest level of craftsmanship.
Like many journeys Sharon and Kevin first met Linda and Irwin Wright many years ago and became lifelong friends. Irwin’s location at Gold Beach, Oregon, his many years of logging, and his love of natural resources makes for a great combination to provide the wood enthusiasts with additional selections of our Woods From The West.
High West Wood Products was started in 1969, in Grants Pass, Oregon. Irwin and his two brothers would salvage unwanted logs from logging sites after the wood had been harvested. They used an old 56 inch circular blade powered by an old Model A engine to cut wood for barns, exposed beams, and decking. Even in the early days Irwin would collect wood with burls, spalted lumber, and highly figured pieces for special projects or to be sold to craftsmen creating very special and higher end furniture.
In 1986, the family run operation was moved to Gold Beach, Oregon. The logging operations grew and Irwin and his family were operating yarders, trucks, and with a crew of 10 men. In the 1990’s with the down turn in wood prices and a desire to simplify the operation much of the equipment was sold and the focus was now back to smaller logging sites and salvage of higher value lumber. In 1996, Irwin and Linda started their own hardwood shop.
Today Irwin continues to work small logging jobs with his brother and nephew, but it is mostly about the salvage of high value woods that would be lost to the slash pile or chipper. In their shop now are a Woodmizer mill, a 87 inch chain mill, Woodwizz, and a vacuum kiln. All of lumber and slabs are sold on Irwin’s website highwestwood.com.