West Wind Factory Tour: Lunch and Learn - West Wind Hardwood

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………

Last week’s BC Wood – West Wind Hardwood Inc., sponsored Lunch was very well presented and very well attended. West Wind treated the Group to in depth information regarding species of hardwood, the history, where they are found, and their uses, cutting and finishing techniques and on and on. Thank you to BC Wood and West Wind Hardwood. A display of 12 species of hardwood formed part of an exciting competition. First three to name the most species each won a bottle of wine. Only one of the 35 attendees (Lawrie Keogh ID) got all 12 correct, second and third places were also won by ID’s (Architects “Where Art Thou” : )”


For sure there was angst in the planning stages. There was doubt and uncertainty too. In the end, it was fully satisfying knowing we’d successfully created an engaging educational opportunity. We offered two AIBC-approved core LU’s for the architects.

After an opportunity to eat and mingle – lunch catered by Truffles, stations were set up and the attendees divided into five groups; rotating through each seminar as follows:

Millwork Industry Overview

Soft and Hardwood lumber properties and applications by Jan Nielsen


Finishing Wood the Environmental Way

Hands On Finishing Demonstration with Take Away Project by Lars Nielsen


Understanding Veneers

Patterns, Cores, Cuts and Uses in the Millwork Industry by guest presenter, Shane Senger of Formations, Inc.


Understanding Wood Floors

Including Installation Options by Joel Radford, our Flooring Manager


Wood Flooring Manufacturing Process

Demonstration by Danny Schaftlein, our Milling Manager


There were minor hiccoughs and we stumbled through ‘people’ flow on occasion.  I could never remember which group went where per Roy’s directions; needed a flow chart or some such aide-mémoire.  But ‘hey’ if that’s the worst of it…

After all the seminars were concluded the group was brought back for an informal debriefing and an exciting hardwood identification competition.  All were vying for one of three bottles of wine and in the end Lawrie Keogh ID identified all 12 correctly.  Congratulations Lawrie!


Would we do this again?  You bet.  In fact, we’re thinking of hosting local trade/industry associations such contractors/house builders and possibly a separate tour for designers/decorators.  This would allow us to refine the seminars to cover topics specific to their trade/industry.

If you are interested in participating, let either Joel or Shelley know.  We’re pumped.  We want you to be too.

It’s all about passion for “WOOD”.



  1. Good morning. We are 6 planning to visit Vancouver in front of a Rocky Mountaineer trip.
    We are agriculture oriented and interested in the timber/wood industry. Our home is NW Illinois.

    Do you have a suggestion of an activity that may be possible? Our open days are 5/24 and 5/26.

    Have a good day. Dale keppy

    1. Hi Dale, you’re welcome to come by our facilities, we are open to the public. Although you mentioned Vancouver you should know we are located on Vancouver Island, not Vancouver. It’s a 1 hour 40 mins or so ferry ride from there.

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