Maine, USA
+1 (207) 364 1520
+1 (207) 364 1073

Please see Contact Page for Holiday Closing details!

165 species

Widest Variety
165 species
We have a stockholding of spread over 165 wood species from around the world.

508,000
board feet

Stockholding
508,000 board feet
Buy 1 plank or 1 thousand. We ensure you can choose whatever rare and exotic wood you require to finish your special project.

33 yrs

Expertise
33 yrs
With 33 years of wood trading experience in South Africa and worldwide, Rory is now bringing “Rare Woods” and his passion for wood to the USA

Rare Woods USA Blog

Latest news and happenings at Rare Woods

Que pasa: Why Mexico, Maine?


Many woodworkers are surprised to find a “full house” exotic wood dealer in Mexico, Maine.
  • 500,000 bd ft of exotic hardwoods
  • 180 species displayed in racks and bundles
  • Extensive showroom
  • Milling facilities
  • Wood vendors passionate about their calling
It all started 30 years ago – when with $100 capital borrowed from my mother, I bought a large number of blackwood and cypress logs from thinnings in Tokai Forest, in Cape Town, South Africa.

When I arrived in my small truck to collect the huge logs I suddenly understood the enormity of the task I had undertaken. Transport contractors were appointed, a sawmill found and the first tentative foundations of the Rare Woods SA business were laid.

A 30 year rollercoaster ride of expansion followed – factories, sawmills, dry kilns, furniture manufacturing, dowel manufacturing, retail furniture and the opening of a number of branches across South Africa. Needless to say there were many hurdles big and small to overcome along the way, but I was following my dream so I took them on with vigor.

My dream was evolving though…

I now wanted to supply the new generation of US woodworkers – thousands of whom have been inspired like me by James Krenov and his fantastic books, as well as Fine Woodworking’s monthly brilliance, and whose many forms include studio furniture, turning, boatbuilding, cabinet making and luthiery.

With the crime and violence in South Africa becoming intolerable, I finally made the move in 2008.

maine1sml
Where else will you find colors like that?
I had crisscrossed the USA and Canada on many business and leisure trips over the years, admiring the excellent facilities of American timber yards and meeting lots of friendly folks along the way.

As I began planning my move to the USA I was somewhat confused though..

It would be ideal to go to a big city like New York or Boston, with plentiful potential customers and great woodworking traditions, but big city rents and logistics were problematic and my South African currency was steadily depreciating. Having decided not to move to a big city, the sheer scale of choice and variation available was hugely daunting: hot or temperate climate? Coastal or mountainous? etc. etc.

maine2sml
The rivers and lakes are stunning
maine3sml
And in winter you can enjoy proper sleigh rides - you don't get that in South Africa!
Well my mind was made up for me when a hugely charismatic and eccentric boat builder came into my timber yard in Cape Town to buy some curly maple for the 60 ft yacht he was outfitting in Table Bay Harbor.

Joey Martin Jnr is an adventurer, an incredible raconteur and bon vivant who has seen most of the world and then some. He listened to my story and without hesitation (and with his own compulsive style) told me that I needed to settle in Rumford, Maine.  He painted an idyllic picture of forests, rivers, lakes – and endless wood supplies with country living and immensely hardworking, down-to-earth “can do” people who enjoyed nothing more than doing an honest day’s work.

Well I’ve been here 3 years now and all I can say is Joey was right!

image002
Come to Maine and see the world! This sign sits just outside the town of Bethel

Maine is a state of breathtaking natural beauty, life-enriching forests and wildlife, not to mention great people. American telecoms and transport systems mean that I can run this business from anywhere. All I have to do is put it all together, move my (increasingly) fat ass and build another great business by offering a superb range of wood, quality service and passion for wood for discerning American woodworkers.

There’s so much great stuff to be thankful for, that not even the rotten economy can dampen my enthusiasm. Here’s to forging ahead with enthusiasm, superior ideas and above all, constantly evolving dreams.

maine4sml
And most importantly of all - my dog loves it too...

Share this article:

Winter road trip to Saratoga Springs
Our amazing lutherie woods: music to your ears?

WORLD WIDE CONTACTS

The Rare Woods Team has travelled extensively, from Borneo to Zimbabwe, and built up contacts and sources of supply of rare and exotic wood. If we don’t have it we can probably get it!

ENVIRONMENT & CONTINUITY

We value the environment and to ensure continuity of supply of rare wood forever, we often promote lesser known species and lower grades.

Latest Blog Posts

01 July 2011
Good showrooms can give people ideas and the stimulus to begin that project they have been dreaming about.  Unfortunately they can also cost a lot! Our challenge as a fledgling business was to come up...
24 June 2011
Life as a timber merchant has often been a steep learning curve. I’m not ashamed to say that many mistakes have been made, some worse than others!Below I thought I would run you through some of the sc...
18 June 2011
Luthiers are a different breed with very exacting needs – often happy to sort through mountains of wood to select that specific piece with the perfect combination of grain, color and taptone. With my...
30 May 2011
Many woodworkers are surprised to find a “full house” exotic wood dealer in Mexico, Maine. 500,000 bd ft of exotic hardwoods 180 species displayed in racks and bundles Extensive showroom Milling fa...

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST:

Allow us to keep you informed of exciting special offers and other developments at Rare Woods USA.
* indicates required