What it is: Looking Glass Laser uses an art laser engraver to make a variety of unique wood items, including photo frames, tile, business cards and plaques. The company is committed to using woods grown and harvested using sustainable forest practices or from salvaged wood. Owner Jon Westdal also co-owns another business, An-West Inc., which makes furniture.
What’s new: Westdal has been using reclaimed wood from the bleacher seats of Mount Baker High School’s old gym, which was remodeled about 12 years ago, to make unique sports awards for the athletes. Westdal said he loves working with wood that has this kind of history.
DANIEL JOHNSON | THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
“These were seats that people were sitting on, watching games,” Westdal said. “It’s magical to me that perhaps the parents, or grandparents, of the student being given the award at one time sat on the very wood in the award their descendant is receiving.”
Mount Baker High School Athletic Director Brenda Terpstra wasn’t sure when the wood bleachers were first installed, but it was possibly around 1970. Westdal recently completed a set of awards for Mount Baker fall sports athletes who made the first or second conference teams.
“He did a really nice job,” Terpstra said. “The engraving was outstanding.”
The bleachers were made from fir, which he said is the kind of wood that looks better with age. “As it ages, wood develops a character to it that I’ve always found interesting,” Westdal said.
How it started: Looking Glass Laser was founded in 2005. Westdal said he was influenced by his father, who was a curator in the physics department at the University of Denver in the 1960s. His dad would bring home a laser for the family to experiment with. Westdal has worked with wood his entire adult life.
While working with the high school in designing the awards, he found out about the reclaimed bleacher seats from a friend. “There is plenty of the wood, so it’ll keep me busy making awards for quite some time,” Westdal said.