Trade Stories

tying knots
I had the great good fortune of growing up on the waterfront in my father’s marine business. It was an immersive, hands-on experience that captured my imagination from the start. What more could a boy want than to be surrounded by boats, engines, and an endless stream of fascinating characters? Dad and his partner started out of a shack at the top of the dock, where my folks had been living aboard their boat, carrying charter guests for day sails and dinner cruises. The America’s Cup races in the 70’s and early 80’s brought people by the droves, all looking to get out on the water.

dock ropes
Newport harbor was at the intersection of significant forces that were rapidly changing the working waterfront i...

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The blue-and-yellow tugs of Western Towboat are fixtures in the Seattle area. But harbor work on the West Coast is only a fraction of the company’s business. Its biggest job is freighting more than a billion pounds of goods each year to Alaska.

By Will Grant

The lifeline for Southeast Alaska begins in the Lower 48. Most of the coastal communities along the Last Frontier’s panhandle have exactly zero roads connecting them to the outside world. Which means that nearly everything (except fresh fish, native salmonberries, and a few other goods) must come by water, most of it packed in containers at a Seattle dock, stacked six-high on a barge, and towed north through the Inland Passage.

“That’s ho...Read More

PNW Workers: Force/Collide

Located in Seattle WA, Force/Collide is driven by owner Chelsea Gaddy's distinct style that blends geometry, minimalism, and the raw characteristics of metals into high-end furniture and architecture. "The creative process behind fabrication is the most meaningful part of my work - it's what forms the personality of the piece. And metal is my favorite material to work with because it requires a combination of brute force and extreme finesse to be persuaded."

chelsea grinding metal
chelsea working
chelsea's workspace
Learn more about Chelsea and Force/Collide and see her feature in our August Catalog.

PNW Workers: Western Neon

If you've walked Seattle's streets after sundown, you've laid eyes on Western Neon's craftsmanship. Since 1985 they've put their radiant stamp on our booming town. Along with the logo and working clock atop Filson Headquarters, they've created Seattle landmarks such as Rainier Brewery's "R" and the iconic pink elephant outside Elephant Car Wash.

bending glass tubes
Dani Kaes
Glass bender Dani Kaes exemplifies Western Neon's love of their community. "We use light to really embrace Seattle's essence, to find Seattle's voice, and where we are in the world."

neon sign
working with neon
Learn more about Western Neon and see their feature in our August Catalog.

PNW Workers: Laura Burkhart

portrait of laura
Laura Burkhart drew inspiration from the Pacific Northwest's mountains, lakes, and trees - and used it to develop a refreshing, unique style of artwork.

"Woodwork is such a physically demanding medium, forcing me to fully immerse myself in the process. This particular style came to fruition a few years ago when I was asked to help design and create the interior of a friend's local coffee shop. I wanted to take my own approach to the craft that brought in my love for surface pattern with a sculptural element. I'm intrigued by the juxtaposition between the hard lines and the stark contrast of shapes against the fluidity of the wood grain. I love the way the work celebrates nature's geometry and...Read More

PNW Workers: Meridian Forge

Located in Eatonville, WA, Meridian Forge was founded by Darryl Nelson who has spent 45 years breathing new life into the ancient art of blacksmithing. His trademark animal sculptures can be seen on the doors to Filson's Flagship Seattle store, along with much of the ironwork at Oregon's Timberline Lodge. "There are so many different avenues to blacksmithing, whether it's art, sculptural, tool making, architectural, or bladesmithing. It's one of those niche things, you have to find your own niche. What they're going to remember me for is animal heads."

hammering steel
working steel
Learn more about Meridian Forge and see them in action in our August catalog.

Located in Seattle, WA, Dovetail General Contractors specializes in bringing clients' visions to life by immersing themselves in every aspect of a project - from Japanese joinery to large-scale foundation work. Carpenter Lucas Trautman embodies this as much as anyone. "The residence we just finished on Whidbey Island is a sanctuary, personally and professionally. I moved my van up to the island and lived there for a year. Everyone who worked there found their own personal connection to that space. Part of our job is to help facilitate that connection for the client's family and establish an amazing retreat for the next generation."

carpentry work
Learn more about Dovetail and see more from them in our Augus...Read More

For 121-years, Filson has outfitted and partnered with makers, builders, fabricators and creators. These craftsmen and women work with their hands. They use brute force and extreme finesse to bring out the best in their chosen material: wood, steel, or glass. At the end of the day, their reward is the satisfaction that comes with bringing to life, from saw blades and fire, a tool, a home, or a work of art. Watch our most recent video highlighting the people who have made our Filson Flagship location what it is today.

Montauk Brewing Company

two guys sitting in a brewery
This spring I made the drive from New York City to the beach town of Montauk. The 120-mile drive took three hours and spanned the entire length of Long Island—long island indeed. As I drove due east, I saw shop and restaurant proprietors cleaning windows, painting facades, and readying themselves for the crush of summer tourists and beachgoers who in a few short weeks would swell the population of these small towns by a factor of ten.

I’d only once before been to Montauk, a small hamlet on the very easterly tip of the peninsula, often called “the End of the World.” I was familiar with the buzz about the place. It’s known for its beaches and strong Atlantic surf—a fishing community that was fi...

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Seattle-based kayak-builder and photographer, Kiliii Yuyan, spends much of his time either paddling the waters of the Pacific Northwest or documenting indigenous communities of the North. His skills are helping to return traditional knowledge of the skin-on-frame kayak and umiaq to the first builders. On the latest Filson Life, Kiliii Yuyan of Seawolf Kayak shares with us his journey towards preserving Nanai heritage on the water.  

Story by Kiliii Yuyan


Something bumped my kayak from behind. Bump. More like nudged. Nudge.

I turned around as best as I could in my seat and watched as an orca calf nudged the boat again. Then it rolled into the water and darted under me. I could feel the pressure...

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