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 and residential cabinets 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, designers, architects and general contractors to create a look specific to our clients’ needs, tastes and vision. Our mission is to create long-lasting “green” cabinets, furniture or built-ins that will be passed down for generations.
The name of our company was inspired by a lone beech tree growing on the property where Nic built his first 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 our commitment to sustainability.
We use locally available wood products from ecologically-based forests. Our core values include 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. In addition to consulting and drawing your design we also:
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.
PAUL GORMAN : PROJECT LEAD
Paul made his way to Olympia from Los Angeles in 2014 and joined Nic James’s team at BTW in August 2015. He works 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. He 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.
Working at Beech Tree is Paul’s first real experience working in a shop with a commitment to sustainability. In Los Angeles he had a handful of customers who requested sustainably sourced wood–one made an impression on Paul by requesting reclaimed teak for a bathroom in a cool little house up in the Hollywood hills. Paul likes learning about and utilizing the environmentally friendly woods and finishes BTW promotes.
MELISSA HERON : PROJECT LEAD
Melissa joined Beech Tree in January of 2019 after seven years in custom cabinetry and furniture making in Seattle. She has experience in both designing unique pieces and executing their construction in the shop. Her most memorable project was creating a switchboard for the "Legends of Smith Tower" exhibit in Seattle's original skyscraper, Smith Tower.
Melissa grew up in Chicago and made her home in the Northwest after moving to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University where she majored in Outdoor Recreation. After graduation she worked as a bike mechanic until making a career change to woodworking after attending the woodworking program at Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center.
Melissa is excited to be at Beech Tree Woodworks where she's enjoying the team atmosphere, the emphasis on sustainable building, and creating the best product the the best value for our clients. When she is not at work you can find her running trails or on her quest to find the best dance spots in the South Sound.
NATHAN WEISS : SHOP FOREMAN
Nate fell in love with woodworking in high school wood shop. He's been making cabinets since he was 21 (2000). Before that, he tried his hand at butchering but didn't really care for it.
His 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 Nathan was available. So began his woodworking career. This is where he developed his skills of the trade. He was able to build his own shop where he 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, he had an opportunity to work with his father in his dairy refrigeration business. He left the cabinet shop, 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, he realized how much he missed woodworking. He knew he wanted to be in Washington State after visiting friends the previous year and fell in love with the whole place! He loves to fish, loves being outdoors and really thrive in the cooler weather. His young 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 varied skill sets. Starting work 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, and landscaper with a tree removal specialist. He has experience in sheet metal and as a cabinet installer.
Chase brings an 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 suits 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…