Based out of Olympia, Eco Woodworks has been specializing in custom carpentry and historical restoration since 2001 when the company was formally founded. The services offered by Eco
Woodworks cover historic preservation, which includes working to restore anything from furniture to entire homes, and working with public institutions to protect and preserve historic architecture in the area. They also restore and replace wooden windows and doors, weatherize existing installments, build and restore cabinets, and work on exterior projects such as decking and siding. The company practices low-impact logging using methods such as urban tree salvage, and by partnering with Wild Thyme Farms for sustainably sourced materials. Eco
Woodworks also upholds their value of sustainability through energy efficiency in their designs and restoring and reusing existing materials.
While visiting Eco Woodwork’s property, I met with Dave King, the founder, along with many other members of the team, including Dave’s son, Kollee King. The family’s craftsman lineage has been recorded for four generations. Dave’s father, Hargis King, did commercial and residential construction in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, California. After being pulled out of school at 16-years-old, Hargis worked at a meat packaging plant and as a carpenter until he joined the army. Later, he started a construction firm. Hargis strongly identified with his Cherokee heritage, and Dave recognizes his family’s Native American lineage and connection to the earth as something very important to him and his work.
In 1983, Dave moved from Northern California to Olympia. He worked as a craftsman in Olympia using the woodworking and carpentry skills he had learned from his father, and tells me that his was the point at which he was able to own and embrace his skills as a woodworker and carpenter. Dave sees himself as a link in a chain of a history of craftsmen, passing on his knowledge and skills to others in the trade, such as his son, Kollee. Kollee studies business and architecture at the University of Washington, and works with Eco Woodworks whenever he is available to do so. Kollee enjoys making large furniture items, along with cutting and chess boards.
“We’re like a big family here, that’s the atmosphere I try to create,” Dave says of the team at
Eco Woodworks. The crew consists of Dave and Kollee, along with Yuri Bockwinkle, Devin Markof, Ian Thompson, Shannon Prichard, Eric Kenny, Jason Roberts and Tom Eagan.
Dave recounts when Tom, the operations manager and designer joined the team six years ago.
Tom’s career began with a degree in professional art, from which he went into the software industry, working as a graphic designer. Now, at Eco Woodworks, Tom does administrative work, creates designs with CAD and oversees projects. In his free time, Tom likes to build furniture and boats. He is currently working on a 38-foot sailboat that should be in the water in the next year and a half.
Dave refers to Eco Woodworks as a “one-stop shop,” meaning they cover every step of the process from conceptualization to construction. Their services include three distinctive divisions, the shop, where manufacturing, painting and finishing take place; on-site work, which involves construction and installations; and the administration, which includes design, consultation and management. He recalls Eco Woodworks having taken on projects where they were involved in every step of a large project, such as when a client had bought land, and Eco Woodworks then cleared the trees, milled them and then used the wood to build on the property.
Responsible innovation and restoration of features in historic homes such as windows and doors is important because it makes it possible to have energy efficient features that don’t compromise the home’s aesthetic integrity. Many older buildings are made of higher quality materials than new buildings, such as old-growth wood, and when modifying historical homes, it is important to use high-quality materials that are congruent with the rest of the building.
Historical architecture is a tangible representation of the past of the local area, and helps us understand the history of those who lived here before us. For both tourists and members of the community, having historic buildings preserved in a way that honors their history is important because they serve as a visual cue of the heritage and background of the area. Properly preserving these timeless structures helps us cultivate pride and understanding of the past.
Also, preserving old buildings can be seen as recycling in the sense that it is using what is already there instead of creating the need for more construction, waste, energy and other processes that put strain on the environmental.
Eco Woodworks is committed to restoring and updating historical homes in a way that respects how essential to the culture and history of our community they are, by using high-quality, appropriate materials to match the craftsmanship of the home, including reusing all material possible and practicing sustainable sourcing.
While Eco Woodworks’ production specializes in a niche market, they have a broad range of community involvement projects, such as working to design small cabin-like modular housing using existing materials for Quixote Village, and partnering with the Student GREEN Congress to provide hands-on classes for students to learn about sustainability and participate in skill-
building workshops at The Evergreen State College. When Evergreen first began offering woodworking and fine carpentry classes, Eco Woodworks helped train students in the field.
To learn more, visit the Eco Woodworks website, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-943- 3808.