Local Makers: Families Crafting Relationships Through Wood

Featured in the November 2016 Issue Of Gig Harbor Living Local
By Brett Marlo DeSantis

Chop it, cut it and plane it. Dry it. Form it into slabs, boards and veneer. Design it. Build it. Enjoy it. Meet three family-owned businesses doing just that—locally. Fallen trees become the wood that our local makers employ while crafting relationships. There are many reasons why trees come down locally. Local makers Kelley and David Samudosky of Outside the Box Woodworking explain that rather than having the wood bucked up for firewood, a good way to utilize urban wood is for a great salvaged piece. ͞

“We appreciate when people in our community trade us their wood –in exchange for our time and labor to collect that tree–to give it a new life through a great use,͟” describes Kelley. “It is beneficial to us to have locally harvested material for our projects, and it is beneficial to them because they don’t need to pay for a removal service.”

Kelly and David Samudosky with their adorable son!

They also source FSC-wood in addition to local salvage. ͞The time of when our clients first see their piece is worth a lot,͟ David says wholeheartedly. Kelley mentions, ͞We wind up having great relationships with our clients. They know we put everything we have into it and it’s exactly what they were looking for.͟ Much like Kelley and David’s experience, where their business involves educating clients about the possibilities of wood, Tish, Robb and Daniel Young enjoy a similar experience.

The Youngs are extremely skilled at slicing their own veneers. They eagerly share their knowledge about the art of veneering and how the early Egyptians practiced veneering, as well as the advantages of this technique; emphasizing how veneers allow for incredibly stable pieces that show off the beauty of wood. ͞

“We are woodworkers,͟” says Robb, ͞”we will work our craft to make a living.͟”

Robb Young’s Fine Woodworking is family-owned. Tish and Robb, with their son Daniel, together have been crafting heirloom quality pieces for over 35 years. They recently moved to Gig Harbor from Hawaii and already have their workshop up and running. In fact, they just completed three reclaimed barn wood tables for the new owners of the Olalla Vineyard & Winery. The Young’s create tables, windows, doors, cabinets and more for clients. Robb especially loves chairs. He explains ͞they are always a challenge because they not only have to look good but they have to feel good when you sit in them, and so often they don’t!͟

Daniel, Trish, and Robb Young.

Adrienne Wicks and Jeff Libby of birdloft can relate. This married duo enjoys designing and building unique pieces in their home-based Tacoma workshop. Together they tackle the art of steel and re-purposing wood to create modern furniture pieces.

Addriene Wick and Jeff Libbs of Birdloft.

They were recently in the Tacoma Studio Tour and have opened a showroom in Tacoma. They are excited to have a community presence as most of their work comes from online shopping. They get quite a bit of work from locals via shop local on Etsy. Their process is ͞sustainable, from the raw reclaimed materials we work with to the wind powering͟ their website. They source their wood from several places, sometimes it’s from demolition and deconstruction companies and sometimes it’s as simple as scouring Craig’s list. Here’s the call to action: go meet some local makers! Their passions for their craft are positively inspiring. The relationships you build will make any piece you are considering purchasing far more valuable.

*If you want more info, check out their websites: birdloft.com, outsidetheboxwoodworking.com, robbyoungfinewoodworking.com