By Kira Erickson
CLINTON — Woodworkers on Whidbey Island need not search far to find locally sourced materials for their craft.
In fact, plenty of varieties of milled lumber can be found for sale in the back room of Madrona Supply Co. in Clinton. Known as the “Slab Room,” customers can find hunks of wood native to the south end of the island for their next furniture project, from alder to big leaf maple to cherry to walnut. There is even madrona, the gift shop’s namesake.
The slabs come from Turnco Wood Goods, which along with Madrona Supply Co., is co-owned by Janae and Kelly Cameron. A decade ago, the couple moved to quiet, rural Clinton from bustling, metropolitan Vancouver, British Columbia.
Formerly a mechanical engineer, Kelly Cameron brings some aspects of his background to Turnco Wood Goods, which he operates from a workshop space.
“I like being focused on things that people use for their homes to improve their daily lives,” he said.
Starting out, he focused on crafting functional furniture items, such as shelves, counters and dining tables. Since then, he has branched out to wall hangings, a form of decorative art that allows the viewer to focus on the simple beauty of the piece of wood.
Besides furniture, the business is also known for producing cutting boards, rolling pins and jar lids, among other household items.
The wood is sourced from a variety of locations, such as a tree farm out near the Glendale area. In the damp Pacific Northwest climate, drying the wood is an important and often lengthy process. The rule of thumb, Kelly Cameron explained, is one year per inch of thickness.
His favorite lumber comes from madrona trees, a coastal, orange-skinned tree that produces leaves and berries.
At Madrona Supply Co., pieces of milled lumber vary in price, from $1 scraps to $1,000 slabs.
“Don’t try and be perfect,” Kelly Cameron advised aspiring woodworkers. “Just do something for the fun of making it or learn and be better next time.”