James first became interested in woodworking as a child watching his father turn some wood on a benchtop lathe. James’ father was an electrial engineer who worked at a US Navy base in Maryland as part of a group testing new aircraft. When his father was not working, he enjoyed making furniture and building additions to the house or outbuildings. James could see the versatile uses of wood and became more interested in the hardwoods and the way you could make create details in them on the lathe. That appealed to James’ artistic interests, and he always had woodworking as a creative outlet.
James earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy in 1988 and worked as a counselor in hospital psychiatric units for a number of years until 2003, when it became clear that nearly all hospital psychiatric units were being shut down. James saw the idea of making his wood hobby into a new business and Griffin Exotic Wood was born. Through trial and error and a multitude of barriers, James gradually got the business started, beginning in a closet in the rental house where he was living in Palisade, Colorado. Over the years James moved the business twice, first into a two car garage and then into today’s current small warehouse with an excellent woodworking shop. James started the business when hardly any wood company was willing to carry turning wood or take woodturning seriously. The exotic wood types being sold also were very few and only one kind of rosewood, East Indian Rosewood, was usually available for turning. Working with many suppliers James pushed for a variety of types of rosewood and other species, and gradually through the efforts of multiple importers many types of wood became available to woodturners and knifemakers. The biggest problem was quality as the wood sent from overseas was often cracked, improperly sized and generally in bad condition. This is still a major problem today but James has made Griffin Exotic Wood llc a true leader in quality within the industry. While many companies still operate under the old premise that the customer should be satisfied with whatever surprises lay hidden under the wax of imported woods, Griffin Exotic Wood is still working overtime to make sure only the highest quality pieces are sent to our customers. This policy costs the company easily 50% of the profit we would make if we passed on to the customer all the defective pieces, still a common industry practice. That ethical commitment and expertise places us at the top of many woodworker’s “go to” list for all types of rare and exotic woods.
James still sources, cuts, finishes and photographs every piece of wood. Every order is also expertly packed by James and in this way knowlegeable service is offered through the entire sourcing, processing and selling experience, just as it was 20 years ago.
Sign up for the New Releases!
Be the first to get access to our new releases, they can go fast!
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from Griffin Exotic Wood llc. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email.
Unsolicited Testimonials from our customers.
Don’t take our word for it, see what our customers say…