Local woodworking business gets involved in community
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RONAN — A local woodworking business is working to become more involved in the community, starting with the Boys and Girls Club later this month.
Tech Woods USA of Ronan specializes in thermally modified wood, which is wood that’s cooked to a degree that makes it harder, lighter, more durable, and higher performing. Started originally in owner Marty Perkins’ backyard in 2018, the small business’s nine employees primarily produce gunstock blanks. They have more than that to offer to the local populace, however.
Offering up hobby wood for sale for locals to create everything from coffee tables to spinning projects, as well as starting to dabble in the world of epoxy, Tech Woods makes a point to use every part of a log and not leave any waste. Prior to the purchase of their wood kiln, fired by a furnace they fuel with scraps to dry out their wood products, they used to offer these scraps up for purchase or for free for locals who needed firewood.
“I saw it as a service to the community,” media specialist and quality control inspector Cari Carter commented. “Not everyone can get out into the woods to get their own firewood.”
Since the start of the pandemic reduced people’s access to logging equipment, members of the community can now also bring their own wood to the Tech Woods sawmill to mill down for a fee, encouraging the continuation of local production.
In the business’s current location, a building that was unoccupied for several years before they moved in during late 2020, they’ve seen several members of the community stop by to see what it is they do. The previously neglected lot is now expanding with new buildings to house their sawmill, kiln, and production floor.
“We’ve had so many people drop by and say, ‘what are you guys doing?’” Carter laughed. “Everyone’s very curious, so I figured we should do something where people can just come by and say hello and see what it is we’re doing.”
Previously employed at the Boys and Girls Club of Ronan, Carter conversed with her former coworkers about letting kids come by and not only learn about what goes into wood production, but also get some hands-on experience for themselves. A group of eight to ten kids, from fourth grade and up, will not only get to see at the sawmill how a product goes from a log to its little, workable pieces, but will also get to work with hobby wood to create some cutting boards they can take home for Mother’s Day.
“If you go somewhere where kids can be hands-on with things, they engage a lot more and it’s a lot more fun for them,” Carter said. “It’s an ongoing up and up thing. It’s getting bigger and better.”
In the spring, Carter says they hope to offer an open-door event or block party to invite the community to visit, but she emphasized people are free to visit now and see what they’re up to. Tech Woods USA is located at 35729 Terrace Lake Road E in Ronan and is open 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. They can be reached at 406-396-2298.