Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

7634 SW 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97219

Vancouver WoodSmith

I love wood … making beautiful things with it.  I’ve dabbled with it for thirty years as a hobby, and now have taken it up full time.  I opened up shop here in Vancouver, WA a little more than two years ago, pretty much taking on any project that came my way.  The greater the challenge, the more I enjoyed it.  On my website,, you can see the case I built for a civil war cannon, a huge free-form wall unit, or the 4-wood mosaic dining set – all for customers with great imagination and desire to work with someone to bring their ideas to fruition. 

While I still will take on a custom job now and then, I am really focusing on the custom carvings and high-end custom wood game boards now.  I am amazed at how many people there are who seek something in this area that is truly unique.  I prefer to not stain my projects and choose instead to apply a light finish to bring out the natural beauty of the wood.  That said, there are some truly gorgeous pieces being done with color infused woods – and I am beginning to experiment with that – because it broadens the market and allows the wood to shine through.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite pieces to put up here in the gallery, but there are many more on my website, so if you like what you see, feel free to visit me there.



I started experimenting with bamboo on the board – and love the medium.  The basic board is built on ½” bleached bamboo, with chocolate oak and mahogany triangles in the field.  It makes a stunning piece.  This bamboo also comes in a milk chocolate and deep brown color – and I’ll be working with them as well.

There are many more examples on the website. a

 Scrabble is a great game – and there are many who have invested much in their Scrabble games – and find that that really want a show-piece, a custom wooden scrabble board they can not only enjoy for the game itself, but also leave out as a showpiece of furniture.

There are many hours in putting together one of these boards – but well worth it in the joy they bring my clients.

There are several more great shots – in higher resolution on the website.
   Chess – the game of kings.  This is a board that I made for a game/strategy store, The Brooklyn Strategist, one of several I custom wooden game boards I made for them.  It is made of an interesting material – red oak that has been baked at high temperature for prolonged time, making it a deep, rich chocolate color thru-and-thru.  Then we trimmed it with a little bloodwood, and engraved the company logo on the edge – it’s in high demand back in New York.

There are several more chess boards to be seen on the website.

Then, there is cribbage ….  When I started out, I looked for anything out there that did what we do with these boards – personalized, engraved with name and logo – and found nothing.  So, even though they take some time and are a bit pricey, we made a few and posted them on the website.  Amazingly, people found them and ordered them – calling them heirlooms, giving them as commemorative gifts, for weddings and anniversaries.  Two of them apparently went out on the same cruise a couple of years back and we got calls from other passengers upon their return.  Here are a few of the many we’ve created over the years.

Please note, in particular, the custom engraving and inlays used for the tracks.

   A USC alum, thru-and-thru.  This one done in bloodwood, with maple and walnut inlays.  The Engravings are the SC logo and Tommy Trojan, per the client’s wishes.

   This one, also done in bloodwood, with chocolate oak and maple inlays for the tracks, and is the first one of many made for us.  Until now, this “cobbler had no shoes” – all the cribbage boards went to others and we played on works in progress or cast-offs.

Now we have one of our own – but I swear it has been jinxed – my wife wins two out of three games.
 I I found a great source for burl woods – walnut burl, sycamore and more – in Northern California, called Santallanez Woodworking.  This is a board I made for him in return for a number of blanks.

If you need some of this beautiful material, call me and I’ll hook you up with them.  Tracks are maple and bloodwood.
   I normally shy away from the lighter woods for these boards – at least my clients tend to prefer the darker materials.  But this delightful lady was adamant – she wanted maple burl – and maple burl she got, with cherry and walnut inlays for the tracks.  The turned out beautifully, don’t you agree?
   This is a board we made for a local hospital fund raiser – out of padauk, a classy orange color unfinished that darkens when finished and apparently continues to darken over the years.  Inlays are walnut and maple
  This board looks unfinished – because that’s what the client wanted.  So we lightly oiled the mahogany body with cherry and bloodwood inlaid tracks.

The engraving is in honor of the client’s alma mater, the University of North Dakota.

The client advised me that there’s a move afoot to drop the Indian head logo from virtually every school, because they claim it is racist – but I feel that’s a shame, because when I carved it, I felt it was in honor of our native brethren.
   This simply shows the back of the boards where we are happy to apply an engraved inscription (on the left), and where the cars and pins are stored when the board is not in use.

And the “Larger Projects” …

  This office armoire was done in cherry, with two pullouts, a work surface and a keyboard, and pullouts for the printer and scanner as well.

We purposely did not condition the cherry, as the look we wanted was an “old world” effect – which we seemed to have captured the clients pure delight.
 Here is that Civil War cannon – it’s prior resting place for 200 years was several hundred feet down, at the bottom of th ocean.

To keep it from continuing to deteriorate, we created a stable, low humidity inside the plexi-glass case.

The cannon weighed in at a mere 1,100 pounds, so we created very heavy interior walls on the three-piece unit, walls that extended from the base unit up into the bottom of the middle unit, where the cannon rests today.
   This was directly from the imagination of the client, who scribbled it down on a piece of scrap paper. We took that and created this – 10’ tall, 10’across, 20” deep.

It is so big, it had to be built in modules and assembled on site.

What a hoot!
 The customer asked for something unique. Guess now he knows to curb his enthusiasm on uniqueness?

This is a dining set, with two benches, four chairs and a large 42” table that sits in a window nook in the kitchen/breakfast area.

The mosaaic is made of ¼” material in specific sizes and shapes, then fitted into the availabe space between the table borders to create this table.

Please visit us at, and comment on the /projects you liked the best – or the least.

The Vancouver WoodSmith

© Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

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