A group of wood workers from the North Quabbin region met on Wednesday, June 20, at the Millers River Environmental Center in Athol to share ideas for improving the local value-added woodworking industry. Participants included businesses with products as diverse as wooden toy trucks, custom windows, wood turnings, and marimbas. Jim Heyes from the New England Forestry Foundation introduced the North Quabbin Community Forestry Initiative and discussed how local wood workers might benefit from and link with other aspects of this project.
The woodworkers group braintstormed ideas for improving marketing of value-added wood products, fostering cooperation and networking among local businesses, and increasing use of local wood species and locally harvested wood. Participants expressed a general interest in using more local wood and collaborating with other woodworkers for marketing and ecotourism purposes, however, many of the businesses represented were not interested in expanding or increasing their workload.
Joe Smith and Ken Hanson from the Mt. Wachussett Forest and Wood Products Institute discussed the institute’s attempts to assist wood industry businesses by providing training in logging safety, productivity and stewardship and a seminar series with topics such as recruiting and retaining employees, OSHA training, and women in manufacturing. Smith also described an effort to find value-added product markets for scrap from sawmills. Wood pieces that might otherwise be sent to a chipper could become valuable resources for some woodworkers.
Further discussions of woodworker collaboration potential in the North Quabbin will be organized. For additional information about this group or about the North Quabbin Community Forestry Initiative, please contact Jim Heyes at the New