Trade Stories

A Brief History of Horse Logging

Horse dragging logs


A trained forester revs his chainsaw as he buzzes and directionally fells a tree, then limbs it up before attaching a steel chain to the top of it. He then subtly nudges the reins and commands in a terse voice “Gee!” (right) or “Haw!” (left), to maneuver his draft horses back so he can attach the other end of the chain to the wheeled cart. Soon, the only sounds in the woods are the clop of the horses’ hooves and the jangle of the chain as the log skids across the ground. These impacts are minimal compared to the roar of the diesel engine.


Horse logging is an echo of an earlier, distant time but it is gaining steam as a modern, sustainable form of logging. This practice goes back nearly 10,0...

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Broken Down and Saved by Saints

tow truck with lights on at nightPhotographer Joe Haeberle travels the west in a rambling fashion, documenting small town Americana. A few summers ago, he found himself broken down in rural Montana and in need of a hand; what he found was new friends.

“uh, shit.” I murmured to myself. I put the truck in first gear and tried to get it to move. That plan worked for about 15 feet until I came to another grinding halt. My truck wasn’t going to move. After a quick check under the hood and seeing that nothing was on fire, I called the nearest towing company in Thompson Falls, MT. “We’ll have a guy out there soon”, the lady said. “Just hold tight.”
man securing vehicle to tow truck“We can get a rebuilt one delivered in about 5 days, and then it’ll be another day to...

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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.
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