My World of Wood | West Wind Hardwood

Wood is my world; the world that gives me an opportunity to exist; to raise a family; make my mark in life. The cycle of dependence is large and varied. It’s a world of relative grace and comfort thanks to that wood in those trees. Yet the term ‘wood’ is rather loosely used, and I often wonder what defines ‘wood’ in other people’s worlds.

How do we find wood useful? Could a rough board or an old stump qualify? Some suggest it would best be served in its original ‘tree’ state. Loved but untouched.

Culturally modified & will live to see another day.Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

(left) Culturally modified & will live to see another day. (right) Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

In a woodworker’s world is there an expectation that ‘wood’ needs to be re-manned; touched by human and/or machine ‘hands’ to be valued? Its form altered; enhanced? Or is wood……..trees…….best left alone; yet even mammals and birds; insects and amphibians do not leave trees unmarked. What is natural?

We all have a symbiotic relationship to some degree with our trees; whether those found in a forest, city park or backyard. Some take more; others less but in the bigger picture, we all have developed a dependence on our trees of wood. And it is for this reason I am always looking for interesting ways that wood serves us. The more basic the better; the more unexpected…….better yet! There’s room for all manner of service; down to basics and industrial; abstract and artistic; wild and woolly.

Simple, Pleasing, Easy!!Something a little less simplistic but made with respect for the tree.

(left) Simple, Pleasing, Easy!! (right) Something a little less simplistic but made with respect for the tree.

The Uchuck III – Douglas-fir Hatch Boards Originally built as a US Yard Minesweeper in 1942, she now accommodates 100 passengers and up to 100 tons of cargo.

The Uchuck III – Douglas-fir Hatch Boards
Originally built as a US Yard Minesweeper in 1942, she now accommodates 100 passengers and up to 100 tons of cargo.

Throughout our married life we have enjoyed the outdoors. We’ve camped at formal campgrounds and back country sites; by car, foot and canoe. We’ve boated up and down the inner coastal waterways of Vancouver Island – top to bottom. We’ve collected a comprehensive library of stories on the geographical areas we’ve visited and the people who eked a living from our forests. It may seem that few are left with that pioneering fortitude but stop some time and ‘smell the pine pitch’. Thankfully they are still here.

image010 one man mill operation

One-man operations still exist today.  Sidney Bay, Loughborough Inlet, BC

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Don’t show up without an invitation. This mill is well guarded by Lucy’s friend Rebus.

And it’s our boating trips along the coastal waterway that has truly brought out attention to just how renewable our forests are. After all, who would have imagined this landscape held a thriving community in the early 1900’s.

Simoom Sound (Broughton Archipelago) BC

Simoom Sound (Broughton Archipelago) BC

However here’s what Roderick Haig-Brown (Canadian writer and conservationist) said back in 1950:

Wolf River - Buttle Lake

Mouth of Wolf River – Buttle Lake – September 2014. Lake dammed in the 50’s for hydro-power.

“It would be logical to suppose that the community would reflect its own long term interest by a vital involvement in the forests and their conservation. Unhappily, it does not. The forests have already been stripped of the best wood and replanting has not kept up with cutting. The community stumbles on, on the mistaken hunch that somehow progress will make the irreversible destruction worthwhile by eventually replacing it with something else.” (Haig-Brown, Measure of the Year, 1950).

Haig-Brown led the protest (over the damming of Buttle Lake), recalls daughter Valerie Haig-Brown from her Alberta home. “I remember being allowed to skip school to attend the public hearings with my father,” she said. “It was 1952. You have to remember that public hearings on government projects were rare back then.” This excerpt is from an article which appeared initially in the premiere issue of Wild Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon Magazine, spring 1994.

I’m not defending our resource-based industry; nor putting the conservationists on a pedestal. I’m not saying past management wasn’t abysmally poor; or that current practices can’t be improved upon. I am saying trees are one of our only renewable resources. And it’s bloody amazing to see it in action!

nursery logs nursery logs

Nursery Logs – Upper Myra Falls – Strathcona Park

Tree planters work – behind Cordero Lodge – Cordero Channel

 Tree planters work – behind Cordero Lodge – Cordero Channel

As evidenced below, BC’s forestry industry is still at work today. We may have had to readjust our management techniques; modify our expectations; assess our attitudes; wonder where this all fits in our global community but it’s still there. Actively producing, BC wood is still a good thing!

cut WRCedar growing into 1st Growth

2nd Growth WRCedar growing into 1st Growth – but no longer.  It got cut! Homfray Channel, BC

Along Highway 28 to Gold River, BC Along Highway 28 to Gold River, BC

I’d venture a guess that this is 3rd or 4th growth harvesting. Along Highway 28 to Gold River, BC

After all, isn’t it all about the journey?!

Rowing Boat Hull of Sitka Spruce

The Journey – Slow – Relaxed – Traditional

1940’s Jones Bros. Rowing Boat

Hull of Sitka Spruce

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