Wood-Mizer Planet 10.4.2010

In one way or another, Wood-Mizer customers are artists. Some sawyers want to saw usable lumber for sale or construction purposes. They view the wood as a means to an end – take two-by-fours, add some nails and a little elbow grease, and suddenly you’re looking at the framework for a solid structure.

But LT40 owner Duane Shoup and owner of Wildwood Rustic Furnishings sees something different in wood. He sees beyond the basic functions it can provide, sees the potential for something greater. Duane sees each knot and each curve as an opportunity to create timeless, artistic furniture.

In the wooded near-wilderness of Shelvin, Minnesota sits a small shop filled with whimsical, all-wood chairs, benches, lamps, tables, and models of individuality. Each and every piece is custom made by Duane who describes himself as a skilled craftsman inspired by rustic furniture designs and techniques from the past.

On his website, Duane continues by writing that he, “produces honest, unpretentious, one-of-a-kind furnishings with a natural appeal, crafted from fine hard woods found in northern Minnesota.”

Duane’s story begins seventeen years ago when he moved from Chicago to northern Minnesota. There he establishedWildwood Rustic Furnishings in a wooded area so he could have access to the hardwoods he needs to construct each unique piece.

His work “incorporates the natural shapes and bends of the hardwoods into his creative furnishings, as the wood’s natural shapes dictate the design. When Duane walks through his forest looking for materials, he visualizes finished pieces.

Parts of trees are joined as in nature – knots and bark remain, adding beauty and rustic charm to the finished pieces. Often Duane uses downed timber, damaged or already dead trees. He also thins growth areas to aid larger trees. It is through careful consideration of existing growth that there is a continuous supply of this renewable resource.”

Duane’s studio is open to the public – the very same studio where he crafts his awe-inspiring furniture. He invites anyone to visit so they can see, first hand, where he creates unique rustic and freeform furnishings destined to become family heirlooms.