Chris Howells' Profile

About

My name is Chris Howells, the owner and founder of Howells Natural Wood Products.
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I met, fell in love with, and married a beautiful young lady who was also born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Together we have a super amazing, tremendously high energy 4 year old son, Isaiah, who is the inspiration behind my toy building block items. We live in beautiful Happy Valley, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. My family is my life!

For as long as I can remember, my dad was a wood worker. He started out by making wood furniture pieces for friends and family. About 30 years ago, a friend of my dad's built his first home, and he asked my dad if he could make cabinets for his home. Having never built cabinets before, my dad confidently said, "Sure". He then immediately went out and purchased some cabinet making "how to" magazines…

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  • Male
  • Born on December 24
  • Joined January 8, 2009

Favorite materials

recycled wood, pre milled wood, shop scraps, coffee beans

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HowellsProducts
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About

My name is Chris Howells, the owner and founder of Howells Natural Wood Products.
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I met, fell in love with, and married a beautiful young lady who was also born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Together we have a super amazing, tremendously high energy 4 year old son, Isaiah, who is the inspiration behind my toy building block items. We live in beautiful Happy Valley, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. My family is my life!

For as long as I can remember, my dad was a wood worker. He started out by making wood furniture pieces for friends and family. About 30 years ago, a friend of my dad's built his first home, and he asked my dad if he could make cabinets for his home. Having never built cabinets before, my dad confidently said, "Sure". He then immediately went out and purchased some cabinet making "how to" magazines. That young builder friend of my dad's went on to become one of the Portland areas premier custom home builders, and my dad's business, Howells Custom Cabinets, became one of the most recognized custom cabinet shops in the region, having won best kitchen in the NW Street of Dreams, among other highly coveted awards.

I began working full time with my dad at our family owned business in the year 2000, and continued working through 2011. In August of 2011 my dad suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a business that was struggling due to the economy. Consequently, we had little choice but to shut down the struggling business.

With a product inspired by my son and an entrepreneurial drive to become successful inspired by my dad, I launched Howells Natural Wood Products in January of 2012.


Every natural wood toy product I make must pass two litmus tests:

First, it must be safe enough for my son to play with (and eat if you chose to do so)...and natural wood means that my products are naturally safe for children of all ages. And for the puzzles that are finished, I rub them with an all natural food grade butcher block oil...so if my son wanted to eat those as well, (which I would not allow) he could do so safely.

Second, the product must be at a level of quality and craftsmanship that would make my dad proud. In all my years of working beside him, I never once saw my dad cut corners to get ahead, and he never once sought to cheapen his product in order to make an extra dollar. Top quality craftsmanship and the highest level of customer service were his priorities. Likewise, I will settle for nothing less.

When possible, I use natural reclaimed wood. The majority of the reclaimed wood I use for toy building blocks has been retrieved from a Portland area lumber supply company that shut down its lumber mill in 2008 due to the down economy. Consequently they were left with tens of thousands of linear feet of solid wood that was milled to specific sizes and prepared to be turned into wood trim and molding pieces. Due to the specific sizes at which this wood had been pre-milled, the wood was virtually worthless for any other purpose other than being turned into firewood, ground up and shipped over seas to a particle board manufacturing facility, or sold for pennies on the dollar to local area artisans who could turn a worthless item into a worthwhile product. Believing in my products, i took a gamble and purchased 20,000 linear feet of this wood to be turned into natural reclaimed wood building blocks.

Any products that are not made of reclaimed wood, I use all natural wood harvested locally. Some of those wood types are alder, poplar, west maple, cherry, etc...

My dad was so confident in the quality of the product he made, he put his own name on it as a stamp of approval. To honor my dad's memory, and to always stand by the quality of every item I make by hand, I too have put my family's name on my business...Howells Natural Wood Product.

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