We are Beech Tree Woodworks
Puget Sound's Local Cabinetmaker.
Our mission is to continually strive for woodworking excellence and to produce high-quality commercial cabinets and custom residential built-in with green standards. We do this by building a team of professionally skilled, communicative, and motivated employees who love their craft and look for ways to produce woodwork and casework that exceeds our client's expectations.
Beech Tree Woodworks is a unique, sustainable woodworking company based out of Olympia, Washington. Started as Beech Tree Building Company in 2001 by Nic James, Beech Tree Woodworks is committed to creating high-quality, hand-crafted, custom-built cabinets, built-ins, and fine furniture.
We at Beech Tree Woodworks work closely and collaboratively with our clients or our clients’ designers, architects and general contractors to create a look specific to our clients’ needs, tastes and desires. Beech Tree Woodworks’ mission is to create long-lasting, “green” cabinets, furniture or built-ins that will be passed down for generations.
The name Beech Tree Building Company was inspired by a lone beech tree growing on the property where Nic built his workshop. The tree’s distinct beauty—its breathtaking, ever-changing colors and cyclical patterns—symbolizes Beech Tree Woodworks’ dedication to using nature as an inspiration in the work we create and to sustainability.
We are committed to “green” building, using locally available wood products from ecologically-based forests. Our core belief encapsulates both a deep commitment to artistic design and to leaving the smallest footprint possible.
BEECH TREE WOODWORKS IS READY to fulfill all of your woodworking needs. Among the services we provide (including designs, consultations, and installation are:
NIC JAMES : OWNER
After graduating from college Nic began to foster his interest in working with wood by leading trail building crews during the summer months. Turnpikes, culverts, retaining walls, bridges and other structures were constructed with hand tools and elbow grease in the back country of our wilderness areas of the West.
In the summer of ’97 a good friend who was an accomplished carpenter, presented Nic with an opportunity to help build his house in Olympia. Thus began his carpentry apprenticeship. Two and a half years and hundreds of hours later, with many stops in between, the project was complete. The house (featured in the portfolio) was inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement and in particular the turn of the century architects Greene and Greene. The house remains a wonderful testament to both to Nic that through determination, artistry and hard work, one can truly live within the words “ May the Beauty you love be the beauty you make.”
Nic went on to further his carpentry skills by working for several different contractors and eventually in the Spring of 2001 founded Beech Tree Building Company. After a fruitful year and a half , he was accepted into the College of the Redwoods in California. There they have a renowned “Fine Woodworking Program” established by master woodworker James Krenov. Nic enjoyed a very successful year learning about and building gallery quality, fine furniture. After gaining his certificate he returned to Olympia with new skills and further devotion to high quality custom woodwork.
Nic has always had a great love and appreciation for the natural world and doing what we can to preserve and protect the environment. One way he has chosen to support and promote the sustainability of our limited natural resources is through the materials that he uses. This “green building” combined with integrity, quality craftmenship and a high level of professionalism are the standards to which he continually aspires. He has had the great fortune of being able to have coworkers who share the same values. Nic and his small woodworking company (LI profile) look forward to enjoying the success that comes from creativity, hard work and dedication.
BEN ROOSA : PROJECT LEAD
Although he loves woodworking, Ben Roosa did not begin his career there. In college, he pursued art history, photography, and sculpture. Growing up, however, Ben learned many woodworking skills from his dad, an art history professor, who enjoyed remodeling and building as well. Despite his chosen career direction, his background in the arts was not a waste of time. Instead, he has relied upon it to enhance his woodworking skills.
“I think my background definitely helps me while building. It helps me see the whole concept in my head, before it is built. I think it also helps me ensure that the finished product has a good aesthetic. Sometimes, I will do a detail a certain way because I know it will help it look better in the end. I think all of it together–the art background, the home construction background–helps me understand the entire process better.
Upon graduation from college, Ben spent three years working for a small remodeling company in Minnesota, where he is originally from. He learned all aspects of building and construction while remodeling old homes in the area; skills he has seamlessly transferred into fine woodworking.
Ben appreciates Beech Tree's focus on the use of sustainably managed wood for their products.
“I like the whole mentality of working at a shop that focuses on sustainability. I like that they focus on it through use of green power and materials from responsibly managed forests, and also I think the high quality of the product also lends to sustainability. It will last longer and not need to be replaced. As an FSC® auditor I know and trust the certification process of the materials and know that it really does make a difference.”
Ben began working for Beech Tree Woodworks in November of 2011.
Ben moved to Washington in November of 2011 with his daughter Harper. After relocating, Ben stumbled upon the website for Beech Tree Building Company and was reminded of the work he did at the shops in Minnesota. The high-quality product, sustainable-focus, and the quality of the website compelled Ben to call Nic and ask about a position.
He has discovered working in a small woodworking shop in Olympia, WA is very similar to working in one in Minnesota. In addition to similar shop sizes and employee numbers, Ben has also found the personalities are similar as well. What he loves the most about the shops are their small size, focus on detail and quality, and the people he gets to work alongside.
PAUL GORMAN : PROJECT LEAD
Paul Gorman is Beech Tree’s new Project Lead. He made his way to Olympia from Los Angeles in 2014 and joined Nic James’s team at BTWW in August 2015. He’ll be working with clients to develop furniture and cabinet designs and manage projects from conception to completion. Paul is a natural fit for this position, having run his own custom cabinet and furniture shop in California.
Before the recession, Paul worked in real estate. When the economy changed in 2008, Paul decided to try something new so he enrolled in the woodworking program at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California, a suburb of LA. He spent three years studying the craft, and then opened his own shop, which he managed until the move to Olympia.
Paul’s desire to live in a more natural setting inspired the move from LA. Paul is a backpacker and likes to go to the mountains for days to hike and camp, recreation he finds easier to do in the Pacific Northwest.
After Paul made the move, he spent a year working as a land surveyor, until he found Beech Tree. He found the company by getting to know his new community–he landed on the website for the Arbutus Folk School in Olympia and read about Beech Tree in the bio of Bryan Torian, another BTWW employee who is a Board member for Arbutus.
In addition to the skills everyone at BTWW holds–creativity, aesthetic, attention to detail, fine craftsmanship, and a love of woodworking–Paul knows AutoCAD, a computer design and drafting program, a new necessity as Beech Tree expands.
NATE WEISS : SHOP FOREMAN
I fell in love with woodworking in high school woodshop. I've been making cabinets since I was 21 (2000). Before that, I tried my hand at butchering but didn't really care for it. My father is a close friend of the owner of Creative Cabinets in Santa rosa, California. They just happen to be looking for someone to help in the shop and I happen to be available. So began my woodworking career. This is where i developed my skills of the trade. I was able to build my own shop where I would create full kitchens, bathrooms, and other custom cabinets from start to finish for family, friends and a few others by referral. Fifteen years later, i had an opportunity to work with my father in his dairy refrigeration business. I left the cabinet shop. I learned a lot about different styles of welding, electrical work, refrigeration, how dairy's function and how stinky cows really are! But after just over a year, I realized how much I missed woodworking. My wife and I knew we wanted to be in Washington State after visiting friends the previous year. We fell in love wit the whole place! We live to fish, love being outdoors and really thrive in the cooler weather. Our four year old son is following suit!
CHASE DEYETTE : WOODWORKER
Chase grew up in Olympia, WA. He attended Olympia High School, New Market Vocational School, Avanti and earned his GED at South Puget Sound Community College.
Chase is a "jack of all trades" having jobs in many different occupations, learning many different skill sets. Starting at 13 years of age he developed quite a resume by the time he was 18 years old. He has worked in retail, food service, auto body repair and at a call center before beginning his experience with more construction dominated trades. He has worked as a house painter, plumber, electrician, landscaper and with a tree removal specialist. He has experience in sheet metal and as a cabinet installer.
With all of this diverse experience, Chase brings a strong ability to problem solve production challenges and enjoys helping out in anyway he can. He is a valuable Beech Tree team member. His positive attitude is infectious and he always has a smile on his face. Chase discovered his love for woodworking early on and continued working with wood as a hobby when he could. He is thankful to be working in a field he is passionate about everyday.
He calls Olympia home after experiencing life in other parts of the country (Hawaii and California) Washington suites his outdoor adventure side offering many places to explore. He likes to camp, hike and swim. He enjoys backyard games, gardening, home improvement projects and watching football. He loves to cook and is acquiring equipment to try his hand at home brewing. Chase has many interests, but his favorite thing to do is to spend time with his family, wife Jessica, stepson Kaleb and two daughters, Leah and Ginger.
LIZ NELSON : OFFICE MANAGER
Liz grew up in Lacey, WA and graduated from North Thurston High School. She spent her growing up years backpacking with family, riding horses, boating, and working at her father's dental practice.
She headed to college at BYU in beautiful Utah and enjoyed her time in the mountain valley. There she married Tom who also grew up in Washington. After graduating with a degree in Sociology, Liz spent several years raising kids and volunteering with the United Way to help low income mothers who had few resources. She loved mentoring them and helping them build confidence in their ability to care for their child.
Longing for the the PNW she and her husband moved her four young children back to the Olympia area and picked up where she left off working in dental office management. More than a decade later, she is so glad to have made the decision to return to the woods. She has competed in sailing races put on by the South Sound Sailing Association and has resumed her work with horses volunteering at a local therapeutic riding center for kids with special needs--Rainy Day Ranch.
Recently, inspired by the creativity and collaboration involved in building a new home, she went looking for a new job that was in the construction industry. Thankfully she landed at Beech Tree Woodworks. She has enjoyed both working here and being a client! She feels lucky to be at a company that is committed to high quality work, the environment, and just all around doing the right thing.
JOSH CRAMER : WOODWORKER
More to come on Josh…
JOSEPH FORO : WOODWORKER
More to come on Joseph…