THUNDER BAY, ON ---- October 31, 2010 --- Mile and Brian Gendron are all smiles for their Grand opening of Tools Wood, a business that caters to woodworkers located on Victoria Ave. The Thunder Bay business has been known to wood workers for decades but that was under the original management team. When it came time for them to retire the future of the business seemed less than certain, that is until Brian and Mile Gendron purchased the business.
In the space of one month the couple have managed to open the doors to the public on Sept. 1st, find and order stock, and organize their business. Saturdays Grand Opening sale had many one day only prices, and by mid afternoon the Gendron’s were wondering if there would be anything left to sell for Monday morning.
The new business is much like the former one in that it caters to professional and serious amateur woodworkers alike. As the business becomes more established there may be wood working classes in the future. The store also stocks some select pieces of hardwood for sale for your favourite turning or carpentry project. Brian is also interested in doing some custom woodwork as his time permits.
Amongst the many woodworkers looking for bargains was Jim Riffel. Currently a Masters Student (forestry) at Lakehead University, Jim has paid part of his way through school by building collectable canoe paddles. The quality of his work clearly demonstrates what can be done in a small shop with the proper quality tools.
The wood used in Riffel’s paddles highlights another Thunder Bay and area innovation. Superior Thermowood and Thermoforest Products based in Kakebeka Falls is a special heat treatment to convert locally produced lumber into a value added product that is harder, decay resistant, and is more stable with changes in moisture. The heat treatment changes the colour of the wood giving the wood a rich texture not just on the surface but completely through the piece. This wood is ideal for fencing and decking as well as specialty applications such as building musical instruments like cellos.
Once I got the wood bug I soon realized that there are many avid wood workers in the city. Gord Tomlin, pictured here with a display of homemade toys is representing SAWs (Superior Association of Woodworkers). It is a group of wood workers who meet on the second last Monday of the month at the Monty Park Centre 450 Fort William Road. The 30 or so members meet from 7 – 9 pm and they are always looking for more members. At meetings the group discusses their business in the first half and show and tell and sharing their experiences follow for an hour after coffee. From time to time the group makes toys for sale to support various charities.
Well this is one time I got out of the store without a lengthy sales slip and my arms full. I did get a story about a young couple taking over an old business and I for one wish them every success.