Tree-trimming business Treeworks creates usable art

Posted at 1:36 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 15:36:30-04

Spring is finally here and that means it's time for the Capital City Public Market.

Year after year, you may have noticed Treeworks at the market. They make wooden utensils.  But what’s the backstory on this thriving backyard business? And how have they continued to grow for 27 years?

It started when Michael Goulder was only a teenager. He knew hanging-out in trees was the job for him.

“Some people came to our house and I saw them climbing trees and I was like that’s what I wanna do."

Goulder became an arborist, pruning and removing branches and trunks. But what do you do with all the extra pieces? The leftover bits and branches?  Burning them or throwing them out seemed like such a waste.

“I was going through a lot of wood you know and I thought, 'I should be doing something with this,’” he said. 

So, he tried his hand at making a wooden spoon.

“I started making some spoons because I needed a spoon."

Goulder quickly realized just how many spoons he could make. He went from selling a few spoons a week to selling so many he was able to quit his job as a city arborist and go into business for himself.

Now, together with his wife Meaghan, they take wood and up-cycle it, creating usable art for their company Treeworks.  It's a dusty job and requires almost 20 individual steps from start to finish. If you call Treeworks to remove a tree, they'll know just by looking at the trunk if it's going to work.

“Which trees make the better spoon not just in species but in shape and size,” he said. 

The wood needs years to dry out before any woodworking can begin. But, if you're patient, an old tree from your yard could become your new favorite spoon.

For people in the downtown Boise area on Saturdays from April to December, Michael and Meaghan are at the Capital City Public market or online.