Artisan Carves door designs from wildlife to wine grapes
by Denise Keller
Yakima Valley Business Journal, March 2010.

Naches woodworker Guy Brooke is trying to carve a niche for his custome carved doors. Brooke is hoping that displaying samples of his work at events like this month's Central Washington Home and Garden Show will lead to the first of many ordeers for his hand-chiseled creations.

Brooke hand carves doors with a design of the customer's choosing. His finished products, he says, give homeowners and business owners a unique way to make a statement.

"In people's homes, their front door is the first thing guests see and the last thing they see when they leave. That's the same thing with businesses. It's the first impression and the last impression," Brooke says.

Brooke began carving doors last fall. Between building the door, and carving, sanding and finishing it, each door can take up to 80 hours to complete.

The woodworker took his first finished door to ProBuild in Yakima last December and came to a vendor agreement with the store. ProBuild now displays four samples of Brooke's custom carved doors on its sales floor.

Although the intricacy of the design and the customer's choice of wood has some bearing on the cost - with poplar and alder both providing good value, Brooke says - prices for a carved door start at $1,000. A design he calls Quail Forest, which includes a carved door and two side pannels, retails for $5,900.

"It's not for your everyday resident," Brooke says. "It is really, honestly, for the upper class clientele."

While Brooke expects orders to come mostly from residential customers, businesses may also be interested in custom doors. A design featuring grapes and a lattice may be particullarly well suited for the valley's wineries, he says.

Brooke became acquainted with woodworking when he learned how to make sandblasted signs while living in New Mexico 20 years ago. Soon after, while teaching a college guitar class, he met a student whose busy cabinetmaking business was in need of some extra help. The student enlisted Brooke to help construct custome furniture.

Brooke branched off on his own and continued making furniture and signs before eventually moving his family to Naches. He hoped to rebuild his woodworking business in the valley.

"But everybody and their brother has a table saw around here," Brooke says. "The competition was just too great. I just couldn't get my foot in the door."

Brooke put woodworking aside and entered the statuary business, but he missed the creativity of carving.

"It's about making something out of the raw into something beautiful and seeing the change, and then when you get done with it and you hand it over to the customer and they really appreciate it," Brooke says.

Home Show attendees can see samples of Brooke's work in the ProBuild booth. The event is scheduled for Mar. 19-21 in the SunDome.