“We’re only a part of it…”

This time of the year, everyone likes to take a peek over their shoulder to see how far they have come over the past 12 months. The kids are a little older. You are really starting to appreciate the home improvements you made in the spring.

And, as woodworkers, we see just how far our skills have advanced.

“I think it’s only natural for folks to see how they have progressed through the year,” said Eric Poirier of Bell Forest Products. “Whether it was that first veneer job, the cradle you built for your grandchild or that chair you built that doesn’t wobble – each project is a great accomplishment for you to celebrate.”

While we tend to look only at our progress, Eric and the folks at Bell Forest Products have an interesting perspective. “When someone looks back at his or her woodworking accomplishments, that’s good. Then there is the joy we find in looking at the successes of our customers… and we are floored.”

That’s the reason why the company proudly features a customer gallery on their site. “The idea started when some of our customers wanted to show off what they had done with the wood they ordered. We thought, ‘what the heck?’ and posted a few of them online. Since then, the gallery has grown to one impressive collection.”

And, what a collection it is. Guitars. Tables. Chairs. Pens. Floors. “If it can be built out of wood, you’re bound to find a photo of it in the collection. I am impressed with the creativity shown by our customers. The wood is spectacular, but we are only part of it. It’s that skill that takes the projects to new heights.”

Eric confessed that he often looks at the project photos for inspiration. “When we are rough milling the boards in our workshop and warehouse, it’s easy to see the wood as just a commodity – something like paint or butter or pillows. But, when you see the results of someone taking the time and care to carefully craft a work of art out of it, that makes our work a little more interesting.“

While there are many pieces on the site that will take your breath away, some really stick out for Eric. “I am a big fan of functional furniture – so I really enjoy seeing custom built pieces using highly figured wood.  Our customers are very talented, and they do a great job selecting and utilizing these unique pieces.  I enjoy seeing contrasting woods, figured accents, and live-edge slabs.  The projects that are most special to me are probably the ones where I hunted down a specific piece of wood for a customer for their project.  Several projects that come to mind are:

Jeff Baenen’s Talon box
Brian Tracey’s Roubo vise
Diane Slobotkin’s sculpture
David Palmieri’s mantle shelf
Todd Spooner’s cabinets
Tom Iovino’s trestle bench!

If Bell Forest Products stopped taking photo submissions today, the collection would be impressive. “But, we’d miss the excitement of opening those e-mails from our customers and seeing what they have done. What has been built is something to look at, but we’re most excited about those projects yet to come. Who knows what is cooking in each of our customer’s shops? I just can’t wait to see what’s next!”

“From the folks here at Bell Forest Products, we want to wish all of you a very happy and healthy holiday season with visions of sugar maples – and other woods – dancing in your heads!”

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