No matter your background, if there is an artistic streak, it will eventually emerge. Bob White, a 2001 Shoshoni High School graduate, welder, and 12-year U.S. Army veteran isn’t the typical image many people have of an artist, but his work says otherwise.
At his business, Wind River Woodworks, White combines pine, fir, oak, walnut, cedar, and other American hardwoods with pour-in epoxy resin and creates spectacular works of art. White has created tables, shelves, furniture, wall art, and a wide variety of custom items.
He works full-time as a welder with Mike Dimick in Shoshoni, but on evenings, weekends, and days off you’ll find him and his sons Bobby and Tyler working away in the garage with power tools, clamps, and forms.
“Mike is a great guy,” White said. “He gives me time off when I need it.”
The garage workshop is crowded with wood stacked against one wall, shelves of chemicals and tools filling the workspace. White has plans for a shop dedicated to his projects and has completed the earthwork but hasn’t had a pad poured yet.
The path to a hobby that is rapidly progressing into a business wasn’t a straight one.
“I was working at a local optics company and they didn’t need a customer service rep any longer so I started looking for something else,” White said. “I looked at what I had in the bank and when you don’t go to college you have to work with your hands.”
That search took him online to TikTok, FaceBook, and ETSI where he discovered the creative work of others with poured resin and varieties of wood.
“No one in Riverton is doing it full time. There is one other guy, Jim LaVine who is working in this,” White said. “The hardest part is marketing.”
White reached out to local businesses and shows like Day in the Park in Riverton.
“Rocky Mountain Sports sold some of my pieces, but it was slow for Rocky,” White said. “At Day in the Park, we didn’t have many sales but picked up a lot of custom orders after the show.”
The biggest opportunity for this type of custom-made, eclectic artwork isn’t locally, but over Togwotee in Jackson Hole.
“We have some huge opportunities in Jackson,” White said. “Tourist destinations are good. We have some for sale in Dubois.”
The Honey House, owned by Kyle and Nicole Miller in Dubois has a vibrant piece on display in their showroom. “We made a piece with a honeycomb pattern made with yellow epoxy,” White said.
A honeycomb resin combined with locally grown wood is a perfect match for a honey business.
The process of creating the right color and patterned resin to match the species of wood is the essence of this artistic woodworking process.
“You can mix clear epoxy with alcohol or pounded pigment to get clear or swirl effects, “White said. “It’s not toxic, but I always wear a respirator when I sand it.”
White also sells products at the Country Store in Dubois. “Robert Murdock has ordered a batch of it for his store,” White said. “We’re open to customer ideas.”
White buys all his pine and spruce locally from Matt Shaw in Lander. Hardwoods come from Wyoming Wood Works in Casper.
One species is easy to find locally and White harvests it himself.
“Russian olive is nice to work with and makes beautiful projects,” White said.
Buying locally and buying American-made and marketed products are important to White.
“I have a veteran-owned company and we’re pro-America. We don’t buy any wood outside the country,” White said. “We still believe in the American Dream. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
White’s products are of the same quality as the best work you can find on ETSI but at a fraction of the price.
“People like nice things, and I like to supply a product that blue-collar folks can afford,” White said. “We provide a service and make a living.”
White can be reached at (307) 709-0306