satinwood, boxwood, zebrawood and
teak. It’s almost easier to list species
not in the inventory.
When Rory succumbed to a battle
with cancer last year, his wife, Jennifer
Harcourt-Wood, and one of his sons,
Brendan, still in South Africa, worked
with local manager Bob Putnam to
keep the business alive. On a recent
visit to Mexico, Maine, we talked with
them about Rory’s legacy and how the
business planned to move forward.
“He dreamed of coming over here
(America) for 20 years before he did,”
Jennifer said. “He liked to come to
New England.” Brendan described his
father as a “closet American for as long
as I can remember.” Jennifer said that
Rory believed that “if you worked hard,
the sky is the limit in America.”
As for Rory’s love of rare wood,
Brendan said his father was a “crazy
collector man” and passionate about
wood. Rory’s wife said, “He lived and
breathed wood.” Recalls his son, “He
always had a plank of wood next to his
Rory faced huge challenges building
the business in Maine, not the least
of which was the downturn in the
wood industry that happened not long
after he got the U.S. operation up
and running. His operation in South
Africa was and still is a going concern
with some 60 employees. “We have
two very energetic sons,” said Jennifer.
Seamus has taken over running the
South Africa operation, and Brendan
One of the advantages of Rare Woods USA is its depth of inventory for most species. Shown
here are some of the bubinga offerings in 6/4 to 12/4 thicknesses.
Rory Wood’s wife, Jennifer Harcourt-Wood, and one of their sons, Brendan, are continuing to
operate Rare Woods USA from their home in South Africa with the help of local U.S. manager
Bob Putnam. They are pictured on a recent visit to the Rare Woods USA showroom.
A view of just one of the seven warehouses at Rare Woods USA gives a hint to the size of their
inventory of more than 150 species of rare and exotic wood.