h humans

Scott Leech – Woodworker


I have a passion for working with a specific type of wood: I recover it from dying or damaged trees on the U campus. I worked as a carpenter and construction manager at the U for 28 years, and I retired in 2019 to focus on crafting platters, boxes, tables, and more out of reclaimed wood. Trees hold special meaning for so many in the U of U community. They provide a sense of time and place as they mark the changing seasons.

After a windstorm downed trees across campus last September, the grounds department called about several they thought I could use. I was feeling bad after hearing the news, but when I saw the devastation of the trees where I had spent so many years of my career, it really hit home.

Right now, I’m processing some wood recovered from a sycamore near the bookstore, a Kentucky coffeetree from Presidents Circle, and a velvet ash from Cottam’s Gulch—a gully between the William Stewart Building and University Street. I’m usually in the shop by 6 a.m., and I can’t wait to make something new or improve upon what I’ve already made. I love turning gorgeous wood into useable items that others can enjoy. Later this summer, when I have some bowls from trees from the September storm available, I’ll list them on my website, utahbowls.com.

The upcycling of a tree into a beautiful new object is invigorating, knowing that the wood isn’t going to the landfill. And when I craft an item using wood from campus, I enjoy sharing the history of the tree and its connection to the university.

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  1. Scott is an amazing human. He is one of the kindest people I know. I have had the pleasure of learning from him and his skills are truly among the best. I’ve seen up close his creations and witnessed his talents first had. He turns what could have been firewood or wood heading to the landfill into amazing art! ??

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