Wester has spent over two and half decades creating high quality custom tools and blades in the Pacific Northwest. He is now crafting specialized Adze blades for the Waa'gey carvers in order to improve the speed and safety of their work.
Contact with the Spanish in the sixteenth century saw the introduction of metal blades. Still, the specific size, shape, and material requirements for blades that would work within the handle and use parameters set by the islanders necessitated local modifications and re-configuration of the metal.
Carvers in the Waa'gey canoe project still employ scrap metal -such as old truck suspension springs- to make the blades, but are strictly limited by the limitations of these materials. Wester, who has been making customized blades for traditional and modern carvers around the world since 1987, is helping to change that.
Late in 2012, the US-based charity Habele ordered several large adze blades from Wester's North Bay Forge and donated them to the Waa'gey program. "The blade are by far the best quality the guys here have ever seen," explained Larry Raigetal who organizes the Waa'gey sailing canoe operation in Yap.