Shenandoah Arsenal Pens was started in 2020 when a log from a tree that would have otherwise been used for firewood, was given for use to create something more. That log brought with it a history all it’s own, an experience that no other living thing had witnessed over it’s lifetime. The wood in that tree has a story to share, and a beauty to behold that shouldn’t be waisted or hidden. That one log has been turned into many small useful items that could last many more years, tell a story, touch ones soul, and leave a mark on the world around it. Wood such as this will continue to do so for many many years to come.

First Pen Made in December 2020 with White Ash Witness Tree Wood
by Michael Kendra of Shenandoah Arsenal Turning.

Like many trees that came before it, my first log came from a tree that was a Witness to the events of the American Civil War. Although there are many tall and strong trees like it still standing today around the country, they won’t stand forever, and while I believe we should cherish them for as long as they stand, I also believe that when they fall, these treasures should be shared when possible, and and used to tell the stories that they alone can tell.

Wood, collected from a fallen Witness Tree, removed during renovations or repairs at Historic Sites, or seen on many heavily used and aged relics from eras gone by, many times objects of historic interest like these are looked at by others as debris, or refuse, and are sent to the local landfill, or they are destroyed in other ways because they are past their usefulness. Some people just don’t see the value in objects like these. At Shenandoah Arsenal Pens, we know that this limited resource has great historic and significant cultural value that should be saved, and preserved in some way.

Shenandoah Arsenal Pens takes great care to in the creation of all it’s works, treating the wood I’m so lucky to have access to with all the respect that this historic treasure deserves. I take great pride in turning materials that were once part of the natural world, and perhaps also used as a tool or as part of a man made structure, and then reusing those materials that nature has provided to create something new and useful that anyone can cherish, and admire.

It was once said that “History teaches us to hope.” I hope my products can help you learn just a little bit more about American history, and if you choose, you can pass on that knowledge to others.

It’s with that hope that future generations will not forget what happened in this nation. That spark of knowledge would bring great light into our nation, and our world, and I hope it will do the same for you!