From Art to Fine Woodworking: Beech Tree’s Ben Roosa

Ben Roosa

Ben Roosa, Beech Tree Project Lead

By Natalie Mourton

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.

Hand-made credenza

Ben’s favorite piece of furniture he has made: The Holy Credenza!

Following his time there, Ben worked with a good friend of his from college, Matt Eastvold, who had a growing custom-cabinet and furniture business in Northfield, MN. The employees of Eastvold Furniture produced custom furniture, with a focus on sustainability, until Matt Eastvold had to downsize to just himself during tough economic times. The four employees of Eastvold, including Ben, then created Nest Woodworking together and continued to share the same shop space with Eastvold Furniture.

Ben moved to Washington in November of 2011 to take advantage of a job offer for his wife. The move across the country worked out well for Ben, his wife Emily, and two-year-old 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.

Ben Roosa's daughter Harper standing next to hand-crafted skateboards

Ben Roosa’s daughter, Harper, next to some of the FSC®-certified longboards crafted by Grow Anthology.

In addition to his job at Beech Tree Woodworks, Ben also works part-time as a Forest Stewardship Council auditor for Rainforest Alliance and co-owns an FSC®-certified longboard skate company. Ben became certified as an auditor while in between woodworking shops, and his skate company, Grow Anthology, produces the only FSC®-certified longboard. The skateboards are made out of Richlite, a material made out of recycled paper and resin.

As an auditor, Ben plays a direct role in the FSC® certification process and appreciates Beech Tree’s focus on the use of sustainably-managed wood in 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 and presently works for Beech Tree part-time.