In 1947 a small group of wood enthusiasts from around the United States started a society dedicated to collecting wood, naming it the International Wood Collectors Society (IWCS), opening membership to people from around the world. Today there are over 500 members from 32 countries in the society. The founders started the IWCS with an emphasis on the academic collection of wood species, distributing information on collecting wood, correctly identifying and naming wood specimens and coordinating the availability of a standard sized wood sample (3”x6”x.5”) of wood species from members from all over the world. With the availability of so many beautiful woods from IWCS members from across the globe and from a multitude of commercial sources the IWCS expanded its charter to include the crafting of wood.
I became a member because, as a wood turner I was interested in learning more about the different types of wood I was buying. I wanted to know where the wood was from and the woods properties for turning, gluing and finishing before working with the wood. I was also interested to know if the wood was endangered because of over logging versus a species that was regularly harvested from renewable sources.
My membership in the IWCS over the years has provided a lot of benefits. First and foremost I have been meeting people from all over the world who share my love and interest in the diverse variety of beautiful woods. The IWCS has regional, national and international meetings where members get together and trade wood for sample collections and crafting, learn about accurate naming and classification of wood specimens, share information about trees and forests, and promote good ecology and forest management. The annual society meeting is held in the USA every other year and in another country like Australia or South Africa in alternate years. In addition there is a great bimonthly journal titled the World of Wood (WoW) that contains information about IWCS meetings, articles about wood collecting in different regions of the world and detailed articles about different wood species.
To learn more take a look at the IWCS web site at: http://woodcollectors.org. Whether you make round or flat items from wood you will find the International Wood Collectors Society a useful resource.