Four years ago, Tom Locatell started spending time at Gilbrook Nature Area in Winooski. This retired woodworker noticed the plethora of fallen trees in the forest and was inspired to get back to work. For the past year, he has been hand-hewing the massive logs into pieces of furniture. His first creation was a bench that sits on the park loop beside its original stump and the remainder of the decomposing tree.
Tom does much of the work in his apartment and has created a few tables, a bench and a chest. He also works outside in Gilbrook Nature Area, and visitors can often find him next to a downed tree, encircled by a pile of wood chips, and using an ax and a slick chisel to shape the chunks. The logs are often marked by woodpecker and insect holes, but Tom finds these imperfections charming.
In his ongoing effort to give back to the place where he enjoys spending time, Tom recently built a set of stairs in Gilbrook from a pile of pressure-treated lumber that sat unused at the location for two years. Tom’s current project is creating a 16-foot picnic table from his hand-hewn timbers, and he plans to place it in the woods for all to enjoy.
Music: Density & Time, “Morning Dew”
Filming date: 5/1/21