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Old-Fashioned Wooden Toys to Help Channel Your Inner Luddite



Westlake Woodwerk bursts with the handmade creations of Marty Jensen.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

 

Nestled along Westlake Avenue, just north of South Lake Union, is a workshop full of woodworking machines and supplies. Unique wooden toys for young and old alike are crafted inside. Westlake Woodwerk, housed within Eurostyle Your Life, offers small, classic wooden toys such as trains, pull toys, puzzles, mini rocking horses and their most popular item — replicas of Washington State Ferries. The woodshop, formerly called The Giving Tree, was run by the Archdiocesan Housing Authority before being bought in 2012 by Eurostyle Your Life’s Leslie Conti and Urs Berger.

 

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

The natural beauty of wood shines through with Marty Jensen's use of natural sealants.

 

Over time, the space and woodworkers have downsized—now only Marty Jensen remains, pouring his heart into every piece crafted by Westlake Woodwerk. Using high-quality wood like mahogany, poplar, and maple, Westlake Woodwerk produces a limited number of toys. Looking for a show-stopping toy? Check out the one-of-a-kind crane, with working mechanisms made from one solid piece of mahogany and many hours of hand-crafted labor, sitting high up in the display window. 

 

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

 

All of Westlake Woodwerk’s toys are made with water-based paints, and sealants allow the natural beauty of the piece to shine through. Jensen accepts custom orders, priced according to their complexity and the amount of time needed to construct them. 

He enjoys using recycled wood in his creations because it’s “kind of a gamble when you buy wood, because you don’t always know what is on the inside. There is nothing about wood that is perfect.” That may be true, but what Jensen makes out of imperfect wood is awe-inspiring. 

2008 Westlake Ave., eurostyleyourlife.com

 

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