Brent Cole, Alaska Specialty Woods

Our Forests Are Alaska banner green letters with tan/brown backdrop, 5 green buttons


Brent Cole guitars


What Alaska Specialty Woods Inc. does:  Alaska Specialty Woods, Inc. (ASW) is a family owned and operated business producing soundboards and other tonewood products from Sitka spruce, Alaskan yellow cedar, and western red cedar for over 20 years.

ASW is a high production custom shop, located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. ASW offers the finest Sitka spruce, from 100 percent salvaged old-growth material, to supply instrument manufacturers and custom instrument builders around the world with the quality material they need and desire. ASW manufactures thousands of soundboards in hundreds of products, from ukulele tops to double bass fronts. The highest percentage is acoustic guitar tops. Soundboards are their specialty. ASW started out as a one-chainsaw operation in 1997 and is now a world-class soundboard manufacturer and custom shop. ASW is the largest soundboard producer in the world that uses 100% salvage sourced, locally procured, old growth Sitka spruce timber.

Aged wood is regarded as a premium wood fiber. Lumbermen through the centuries have seasoned their logs to produce the finest wood products. ASW starts with material that has time on its side. Attributes only time will produce. Along with the time factor, elements of climate add character. Time and the abundance of water in the form of rain falling from the clouds, or some of our water cured beach salvaged logs, have naturally produced gorgeous colors of wood fiber.

Link to your forests: Located in Southeast Alaska, Prince of Wales Island is the heart of the Tongass National Forest, home to the world’s finest Sitka spruce. ASW has been utilizing experience and knowledge of the area to find the best sources for old-growth Sitka spruce to salvage.

Primarily salvage-sourced material was used since ASW was established but now 100 percent of their raw material is only from salvaged old-growth timber. ASW is resolved to promote an ethical stewardship policy throughout the scope of their business. Conservation is very important to ASW.

Responsible stewardship is the essence of their process. AWS is dedicated to salvaging old growth Sitka spruce and cedar from the Tongass National Forest. The future of music and its cultural significance depends on the forest and it is our responsibility to make the best use of it. Salvage is key in sustaining the Tongass old-growth for future generations to appreciate and experience while supplying the world with quality soundboards.


Brent Cole standing next to large tree root


Brent Cole selecting salvaged logs

Did You Know? ASW’s primary means for collecting raw material is through the USFS-facilitated Mircosale program. This program allows only a limited quantity of less than 50mbf (50,000 board feet) per sale, to ensure smaller, local operations have access to timber. 


“Responsible stewardship is the essence of our process. ASW is dedicated to Conserving old growth Sitka spruce and cedar from the Tongass National Forest”. Hence our mission statement, "Woods for the Worlds Music, In Harmony with the Land".

*Photos provided by Brent Cole Sr.