Idyllic Tillamook County sits on the Oregon Coast. Its lime-green pastures are a popular waypoint for folks hoping to sample fresh cheese made from the delicate milk of celebrity dairy cows. But today, we’re foregoing cheese boards. We’re here in search of sustainable wood to build Bedell Guitars.
Cyril Jacob greets us at his mill with a jar of homemade honey, stories about bears, advice on how to catch sea-run cutthroat trout “on ever cast” and lots of factoids on maple trees. We mill about the back of the dust-covered log yard. The wind swirls and there’s no refuge from a cyclone of wood particles. Cyril’s running a giant blade thru a magnificent maple log. “This one came from the Wilson River,” he hollers between passes. “There was a big fire up there and it burned so hot the ground turned to glass. The days looked like dusk during that fire. They said that land would never yield another tree.”
The maple on the belt is gargantuan. Trees such this are often turned into wood chips, pulp, toilet paper or yard cover. Logging operations often leave what they perceive as less desirable specimens to rot on the forest floor. But for a guy like Cyril, every tree holds potential and value. Cyril identifies these gems and meticulously mills the wood, then finds the perfect application, whether for furniture, roofing, or instruments. Some of the sweetest guitars in the world would have been flushed were it not for Cyril’s discerning eye and ethic.
We inspect the cuts and select a bigleaf maple for the Bedell Earthsong Series. We’re going to honor this beautiful native of the Northwest by turning it into musical instruments, not toilette paper or wood chips. Doing the right thing never sounded better.