When it comes to selecting material for projects, we like to know as much as we can about it's journey to our studio. For hardwood lumber there's no better person to turn to than Tom Lathrop of Exclusively Vermont Wood Products in Bristol, VT. His family has been in the lumber business here in Vermont for five generations, and Tom's been running the mill since the 1980's. He supplies the northeast with all manner of hardwood lumber and custom flooring. The heart of his business is selling sustainably harvested, Vermont grown lumber that he mills and kiln dries onsite.
When I first met Tom it was the dead of a very cold winter and he was wearing little more than a cotton flannel shirt, a Carhartt vest and blue jeans. We got to talking about different wood types, and he snapped off a piece of a birch board he was leaning against, started chewing on it, and began pontificating on the aromas and flavors that are specific to each wood species. This is a man who likes to know everything he can about the wood he works with! This is the type of man I feel good about buying lumber from!
Tom is alway happy to visit for a while when I stop by his mill, and has been an invaluable resource for me over the years. Plus, he doesn't mind if I take my time going through all the boards to pick out just what I need. They say characters are the spice of life, and well, I have to agree. I always look forward to driving down to pick up material for a project from Tom. He's the kind of character that helps define this place by the sheer force of his personality.
Monika Rivard visited Tom with me on hot summer's day and made these wonderful photos. See more of her work here.