Wood Rats

Our members organize together on Wood Rats excursions across the Puget Sound area to harvest wood from recently felled trees due to wind storms or disease. Members participate by bringing their safety equipment, chainsaws, hand trucks, muscles, and a helpful attitude.  

COVID-19 UPDATE:  Since the pandemic, the Seattle Woodturners have suspended in-person monthly meetings and have begun hosting meetings virtually via Zoom. Interested guests and prospective members can contact us to request a meeting link. As of May 2022, we will begin to transition toward hybrid meetings, offering members opportunities to participate in person or via Zoom.  Check our calendar for more details.


What are Wood Rats?

The club’s ‘Head Wood Rat’ sources and investigates potential leads on behalf of the club. He/she coordinates a Wood Rats event date and location with the property owner, and then communicates the same information to club members via email.

I am not a club member. Can I attend a Wood Rats event?

Wood Rats excursions are organized to support club members only. You are encouraged to join our club to access this benefit, as well as all other benefits that we offer.

When and where are Wood Rats events held?

Wood Rats events are normally held on a Saturday or Sunday, and to a lesser extent on a weekday. In general, trees are located on the owner’s property, so the event location is completely dependent on where that happens to be. Our excursions range across the Puget Sound area!

I would like to attend early and get the best wood. Can I do that?

The Head Wood Rat determines the event schedule for all members. Arriving early to cut, pick through and/or take wood is not acceptable behavior.

I don’t own a chainsaw. Can I still attend?

Of course, all members are welcome! Our Head Wood Rat coordinates the number of chainsaw(s) that he/she expects to be running at the event. This is usually a function of the amount of wood available, as well as the expected number of members attending.

What should I bring?

safety_100Useful items to consider bringing include your chainsaw.  NOTE: Safety equipment is required for those running a chainsaw, including: chainsaw chaps, hearing protection, gloves, steel-toed boots, and a face shield.

Rakes, hand trucks, wheelbarrows are also usually needed. Via email, look for special instructions from our Head Wood Rat indicating the size of tree, number of chainsaws, and/or which tools attendees should bring.

If I don’t use a chainsaw what am I supposed to do?

In addition to running a chainsaw, attendees can help out by providing their helpful attitude and strong muscles to support the following tasks:

  • Acting as Safety Officer, as designated by the Head Wood Rat
  • Moving logs/trees into position for cutting
  • Moving cut wood/rounds to a staging area
  • Raking shavings and clean-up
  • Disposing of shavings
  • Moving wood/rounds to vehicles, using hand trucks/wheelbarrows
  • Assisting with clean up of the street, sidewalk, and owner’s property

Do I take all the wood I want?

No, not usually. All wood is shared among participating attendees.

How is the wood distributed?

First, the wood is cut and staged. After that, beginning with those wielding chainsaws, each participant is assigned a ‘picking number’ in a sequence starting from the number 1. The Head Wood Rat then calls out the number sequence starting from 1, and each person selects a piece of wood according to their number. Once complete, another round of picking begins and process continues until all wood is fairly distributed.

I have a small lathe and cannot handle larger pieces of wood. Can I still get wood?

Small pieces of wood are ideal for those owning small lathes. Small pieces are usually available. If not, ask for help, and one more people running a chainsaw will usually cut smaller pieces for you.

I know of a tree that is available. Who do I contact to share this information?

An easy way to contact us about wood for donation is by filling out our tree donation form. Alternatively, you can use the contact us page.

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