The LO(n)G of the Law

The LO(n)G of the Law

This past April, we had unexpected visit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.  Three Natural Resource Officers (NROs) – in full uniform – drove into our parking lot.  Turns out they were looking for agents of logs.  How did they figure we dealt with logs?  Well, we’re listed in the Victoria Yellow Pages under ‘Millwork’.  True story!!  They thought we were a mill.

Nevertheless, this prompted us to ask questions and this is what we discovered.  Compliance & Enforcement (C&E) is the law enforcement arm of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.  Its main purpose is to make sure that a variety of resource management laws are being followed on and in BC’s public lands, water and forests and to take action where there is non-compliance.  They also have been designated as Special Conservation Officers, Land Officers, BC Parks Rangers and Fisheries Inspectors with the authority to enforce the associated legislation.

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The Art of Buying Lumber

The Art of Buying Lumber

by Dick Burrows

Lumber grading guidelines are very clear; however, the expectations of the purchaser and/or the realities of the project can be subjective. We have discovered a wonderfully written article by Dick Burrows on the “art” of buying lumber. It is an easy read, and clearly identifies the important issues for both the casual buyer and the experienced craftsman.
Shelley Nielsen

One of my woodworking specialties is the art of cajoling lumberyard workers into letting me sort through their lumber piles, looking for that perfect board for my next project. Sometimes I have to pout and threaten to take my big-time business elsewhere. Usually, though, I get permission simply by promising to restack everything when I’m done.

And so, I’ve spent many a morning working in another guy’s business, lining up about a quarter ton of lumber just to get a few boards that suit me.

I’ve met quite a few fellow woodworkers during these hunts. Some know exactly what they want, be it wood free of knots, splits, and ugly dark streaks, or that elusive “pretty board.” But others bypass all the sorting and just buy the top-read that as most expensive-grade available, whether or not they need it. There are times when the best grade is the best choice, but more often, you can save money and get the perfect wood for your project by using lower grades if you know a few basics about buying lumber.

Finding Diamonds in the Rough

The first thing you need to do is rid yourself of the idea that you have to use top-grade lumber or a perfectly clear board for everything you make. Most furniture makers don’t. They use fairly short or narrow pieces that can be cut from even the lower grades of lumber. You can, too. Just take the time to analyze the size and type of parts you need before you start.

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West Wind Factory Tour: Lunch and Learn

luncheon with BC Architects

April 30, 2015 – Exploring BC’s Millwork Industry: Beyond the Basics

Seminars, Demo’s and Factory Tour for the Vancouver Island Chapter of Architects

Partnered with Roy Manion, Manager, Specifiers Program of the BC Wood Specialties Group
Hosted by West Wind Hardwood Inc
Driven by Joel Radford and Shelley Nielsen
Attended by 25 Architects and Designers from Southern Vancouver Island

This was both a challenge and a hoot for us. We’d never considered offering an on-site learning opportunity until Roy approached us. He nurtured us; coddled us; encouraged us. And it was a success, as born witness by this excerpt from the Vancouver Island Chapter of Architects’ Newsletter………

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From Air to Water

In Memoriam

Water bomber in Thunder Bay Ontario -a

air-to-water-largeMy father (1919-2013) was born with salt water in his veins.  Boats were it for him.  And although not formally trained as a naval architect he was a self-taught boat designer and member of the Society of Small Craft Designers.  My childhood holds memories of him spending long evenings – night after night – hunched over his drafting table deep in the dungeon of our basement.

One of his customers was William (Bill) Smith – an airborne pilot and member of the BC Forest Service.  Bill had a dream and came to dad.  Together they came up with a design and a plan.  Unfortunately, he contracted Lou Gehrig’s Disease and as I was still ‘knee high to a grasshopper’ my details are sketchy.  I do however remember the hours both my Dad and Bill spent on this project.  Sadly Bill died far too young before achieving his dream.

I do not recall what happened to Bill’s family or the boat – which was never finished.  I do have a vague recollection of Margaret (Bill’s wife) finding a seller for the hull.  As I was sorting through my dad’s boxes and file cabinets (I’m talking income taxes from 1957; utility bills from the 80’s) I did come across this photo (below right) and felt it deserved sharing.

We all have dreams.  Certainly Jan has more than his fair share.  Long may they live.  And if we only see a quarter to closure, we are surely blessed.

Forest Fact: What’s in a Name?


Logger – usually refers to a number of workers whose job it is to harvest timber and bring it to a mill. The term “lumberjack” is similar to logger but is not used in BC. It is an eastern North American term.

Faller – Fallers are specialists who may have voluntarily become certified for this dangerous position. They are specifically trained to hand fall trees and are highly skilled.

Forester – usually refers to a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). Foresters have university degrees, or equivalent, specializing in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Tech or Technologist – usually refers to a Registered Forest Technologist (RFT). RFTs have a two-year college diploma, or equivalent, in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Accredited Timber Cruiser (ATC) – a cruiser is a specialist who is trained to accurately figure out how much and the quality of each tree species is available for harvesting. A cruiser has on-the-job training and must demonstrate competency before being allowed to use the title ATC. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATCs.

Accredited Timber Evaluator (ATE) – a timber evaluator is a specialist similar to an ATC however, the timber evaluator has more experience and is able to supervise a team of cruisers. Like ATCs, ATEs must demonstrate their competency before being allowed to use the ATE designation. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATEs.

Wood Lovers Unite – It’s a Global Passion

This article is compliments of Paul Miller; Retired wood boat builder; Hobby furniture maker. Paul also writes for Lumber Jock (LJ) Blog as ‘Shipwright’.

“I love to think outside the box and I love to do things I’ve never tried before. Almost every project I start involves design as you go flexibility and at least a couple of things that I hope I can accomplish but that I’m not sure I can. I try to use local hardwoods when I can rather than commercial “store bought” material. I like that it gives a feeling of heritage to the piece.” PM

On a recent trip to Europe, Paul made a special visit to Les Fils de J. George in Paris.  He says “to some Paris may be the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or the palace at Versailles…………….

They are fine and I did see them but the real attraction for me this trip was an old building out on Rue Gallieni where some of the last sawn veneer in the world can be found. I won’t get into singing the praises of this stuff here but suffice to say that at about ten times the price of the common sliced veneer what we see here is pretty special.

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