We began Bluster Bay Woodworks as a small, family-operated business in 1985, and we continue to operate today from our home, wood shop and retail store/weaving studio in Sandpoint, Idaho.
At Bluster Bay Woodworks, each item is made one-at-a-time, by hand. We begin with the finest imported and domestic hardwood. Each variety of wood we use is selected for its combination of beauty, strength and durability. Our wood supply changes frequently because we are constantly on the lookout for interesting woods.
We buy lumber in rough slabs, often with the bark still attached, and then carefully cut each piece to expose the best color and grain. Sanding is a long and careful process ending with a finish of satin smoothness that is then sealed with clear shellac. After drying for several days, each item is hand-buffed with steel wool, waxed, and then buffed again. This process results in tools that are silky smooth. Each has a luster and warmth, and is a delight to the touch.
In our studio, Kristie and her weaving students use our shuttles on a daily basis. Each design is tested extensively before it is offered for sale. The final result: useful tools that have elegance and lasting beauty.
Each of our customers and textile friends is significant to us. We acknowledge your importance to us by unconditionally guaranteeing our products, and by offering services, equipment and information to meet your weaving, spinning and knitting needs.
—Terry Lavallee & Kristie Sherrodd
History of Bluster Bay Woodworks
In 1984, we left the rapidly growing city of Seattle for a quieter, simpler lifestyle in the small town of Sitka, Alaska. Almost immediately Kristie made friends with a group of weavers and took up the craft. Many of the tools she found herself needing for her new hobby are typically made of wood, and Terry began making them for her. Other weavers saw them, appreciated their fine craftsmanship and Bluster Bay Woodworks was born.
Only a couple of years later, we moved out of the town of Sitka to a small, nearby island, accessible only by private boat. Here we built a home, a wood shop and a business without the luxuries of electrical power lines, city-supplied water or sewer, or even regular telephone service. For 20 years, Bluster Bay Woodworks was run from Middle Island, nestled in the Tongass National Forest. This temperate rain forest is a place of short, cool summers and long, dark and wet winters. It is a place that, for many years, suited our gentle life steeped in the arts of weaving and woodworking.
As time rolled on, an off-the-grid life in a very remote location began to seem less “gentle.” The everyday tasks that seemed so simple years ago, like cutting many cords of firewood and hauling fuel for the generator, became harder on our bodies as we aged. As much as we cherished our island home and our independent lifestyle, we knew that our time in Alaska would draw to a close.
In the summer of 2007, we sold our island homestead, packed 25 years of accumulated treasures into a steel shipping container and hopped the ferry south for Seattle on our way to a new home in Sandpoint. Sandpoint, a small town nestled in the mountains of northern Idaho, is similar in size to Sitka, but with clear blue skies and abundant sunshine.
Bluster Bay Woodworks now operates from a modern shop with full city utilities and a paved road right to the front door. We have ready access to shipping and freight services that were not available in Alaska, as well as a multitude of new wood sources to discover and explore. We are active in local weaving groups and are enjoying the ability to more easily attend textile-related events than was possible when in Alaska.
And, while we no longer have to haul fuel for the generator to run woodworking tools or travel to the post office in an open boat, we still make each shuttle with the same slow care and attention that we always have – one at a time.