If a tree falls in a forest, but no one is there to hear it, don’t worry: OVS woodshop teacher Ryan Lang will be there to mill it.
Earlier this school year, the peaceful afternoon at the Ojai Valley School Upper Campus was disrupted by the roar of Mr. Lang’s bright orange tree mill as he offered students the opportunity to watch him use the machine and even operate it themselves for a project he was working on for the Ojai Valley Inn.
Having been passionate about working with wood since he was 18, he combined that part of his life with his career and became the woodshop teacher for the OVS Lower Campus nine years ago. He also has launched his own sustainable milling and furniture-making business, which last year caught the eye of the Ojai Valley Inn.
The Inn is in the process of creating a new event venue -- called The Farmhouse -- at their west Ojai property, and asked Mr. Lang to create a table and benches for the building using trees that had been removed to make way for the project.
When completed later this year, The Farmhouse is expected to draw crowds from all over to its halls, courtyards, terraces, and many more accommodations, opening a new chapter of hospitality for the world-famous hotel.
“The landscape architect had the idea to utilize the redwood from the site to use as artwork in the form of a table,” said Heather Dillon, director of public relations for the Ojai Valley Inn. “Ryan is incredibly talented and we thought it would be a great fit to pair a local craftsman for this project.”
Mr. Lang was elated to be chosen by the Inn and dove headlong into the project. But then the Thomas Fire hit.
Trees removed for that project had been hauled to the Upper Campus by Mr. Lang to be milled. And Mr. Lang had stored his mill -- a giant, beast of a machine known as the Woodmizer LT15 -- at one of the lower lots on campus.