From tree to table, local craftspeople make enduring heirloom furniture


Brad Williams, owner of Hamilton Lee Designs in Battle Ground, felt artistic inspiration to travel to California and source the perfect olive wood for crafting bible bookshelves.

After prepping the wood and combining it with epoxy resin, Williams recalled the handcrafted shelves taking six or eight months to complete.

The story behind the wood and how it’s crafted, makes owning a piece of locally sourced furniture a special experience, according to Williams. Custom, heirloom-quality furniture allows the piece to fit a space and its needs, rather than fitting pre-existing furniture within the space.

Finding wood and salvaging it is Hamilton Lee Designs’ specialty. The company takes urban salvage and repurposes wood from old, dead or dying trees.

“It’s more than just what you are creating. It’s what it takes to create it,” Williams said.

The wood is turned into tabletops and art or sold to local crafters for their projects.

“You have a little bit of rot and a little bit of decay,” Williams said. “You want to salvage what ends up being some of the prettier woods because of the age of the tree. So, we use epoxy to complement the wood and salvage what otherwise would just be burned.”

Damaged wood can be cleaned and strengthened into something usable with epoxy resin. Multiple steps, including sanding and curing epoxy, result in a durable tabletop surface.

“The epoxy fills the pores of the wood and makes it really strong,” Williams said.

With a variety of pigments, selecting the correct epoxy to complement the wood takes a discerning eye, Williams said. Some woods look better with vibrant blues or greens, while others benefit from black-colored epoxy. For Williams, the wood is the focus of the artistically inspired piece of furniture.

Salvaging wood is a way to preserve a part of history, as well. Hamilton Lee Designs currently possesses a fallen tree from Camp Lewis in Battle Ground. Williams plans to turn the wood into something for the Boy Scouts in the future.

“Hopefully, in four or five years, when that wood is ready to work, we’ll be able to give something back to commemorate the Boy Scout camp.”

The history of the wood, the talent of the crafter and the needs of the customer can combine to make handcrafted heirloom furniture.

With 21 years of experience, business owner and carpenter Kevin Wade at Lasting Generations in Battle Ground crafts wooden furniture. Wade makes his furniture with American-made products and locally sourced wood.

Lasting Generations has produced many different types of furniture, including beds, shelves and tables over the years. Each is created from premium quality materials. Wade said each piece he crafts can last generations.

The sturdy base of his wooden furniture is cut in his Battle Ground shop from 3-quarter-inch American-made plywood. Though American plywood is more expensive, Wade hasn’t experienced the same bowing as imported material.

“All my drawers are dovetailed. The basic cabinetry that I do all has backs. It’s finished on the inside. It’s glued and screwed. It’s not pinned with metal or plastic corners that hold it together,” Wade said.

More expensive materials, like live-edge wood, are showcased prominently in his projects.

With his background in carpentry, Wade can create artistic patterns with cut wood. Herringbone designs, where the wooden planks are cut and joined at an angle to form a pleasing pattern, are a favorite of his. Smooth-finished surfaces, quality staining and perfectly trimmed moulding are also characteristics of his artistry.

Some of Wade’s customers have a need that can only be filled by a custom-built piece, he said. One couple needed a kitchen island with a crate for their dog.

“They had a dog that was constantly under their feet in the kitchen. And so, they said, ‘I want an island dog crate.’ It was someplace for the dog to be, so she was in the kitchen with everybody but out of the way,” Wade said.

Though custom furniture can be expensive, Wade encourages buyers to consider purchasing one piece at a time. He keeps notes for each project and can match furniture sets.

To learn more about Hamilton Lee Designs, visit hamil, or call 360-601-8388. For more information about Lasting Generations, visit, or call Kevin Wade at ​360-609-9399.