Pacific Rim Tonewoods has been supplying the finest wood to renowned guitar makers and independent luthiers for over 35 years.
Our shop is nestled in a forested valley of the North Cascades; neighboring British Columbia and Alaska are rich with spruce, the industry standard for soundboards. We have relationships throughout the world that allow us to ethically source a wide range of wood for guitar and instrument makers.
This is a trade that starts with trees and lives on through music; it is equally about people along the way. We like to keep everyone happy, not only with the products we build, but also with the way we do business.
As the son of a forester, Steve McMinn grew up with a deep knowledge of wood and trees from the Pacific Northwest. An avid outdoorsman, Steve put himself through college by logging, and spent summers on Park Service trail crews. Always one to work with his hands, he built wooden boats and taught wood shop at Western Washington University.
The seed that began Pacific Rim Tonewoods was planted in 1981 when Steve decided to build a guitar. He sent away for a box of basic materials, but after surveying the blocks of wood inside, immediately determined, “I can find better wood than this.”
And he did. Steve started salvaging blown down spruce from the Forest Service Lands in Alaska and Washington. He’d split up promising logs into blocks and backpack them out from the forest. After converting his home garage into a small shop, Steve talked to and worked with luthiers, to understand what a guitar wants from a piece of wood. His love for wood, aesthetics, music and craft found a practical home in creating a business that focused on milling the finest possible tonewoods.
As Pacific Rim Tonewoods grew, Steve moved his milling operations to Birdsview, a hamlet tucked in the Skagit River valley, in the foothills of the North Cascades. The guitar that started this all was eventually burned in a rubbish bonfire that Steve had set in his driveway. The soundboard, though, was saved when Steve plucked it from the flames. It hangs now on a wall at the mill, tribute to an ongoing commitment to excellence in tonewoods.