In a world of filled with commodity wood, there remains a special niche for those lumbermen who deal in the finest grades of timber. The rarities of the wood world (the burls, the figured, the exotic, the delicate grained, the carefully seasoned) are reserved for the most exclusive wood projects and the most discriminating artisans.

Fine-hardwood dealer Rick Hearne travels the world locating these gems of nature. Once found, he ships these logs to his Pennsylvania lumber yard to be flitch-cut on the yard’s massive custom-built sawmill. Whether these trees are recovered from tropical hurricanes in South America, or salvaged from diseased trees that were felled on British estates, Rick always relishes the magic moment when he cuts them open to discover the beauty hidden within. In this video, Rick discusses how he can “read” trees (in this case, the English Wych Elm) in order to anticipate the potential secrets inside each log he purchases. For me, Rick’s enthusiasm for special woods was downright contagious. In this video, you too can experience the thrill of slicing open these massive gems of the forest. (4.5 Minute Woodworking Video)

Rick Hearne is President of Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford, Pennsylvania

(12) Comments   


Love your videos Keith!

In my pre-employment class we only get to work with pine, but even so I’m loving the uniqueness of each chunk of 2×6. Wood is so beautiful.

Brian Caldwell


As one who has had the good fortune of watching a highly figured old English oak cut open at Rick Hearne’s facility – with Mira Nakashima present – it is truly a wonderful and unique experience. You captured it perfectly with your video. Thanks.

Keith’s Note: Brian Caldwell is the Senior Writer at Woodshop News (

Really amazing videos and website. Keep up the great work and super production value.


Wonderful video, thanks for bringing the magic of wood into my living room. Rick’s passion for wood really inspires me; seeing that chunk of Elm sliced open DID give me goosebumps!


What a great video! I love how he describes what he finds as a gift. I would love to visit his yard if I only lived closer. I could easily get lost with all those treasures.


What a beautiful piece of wood! I can only describe it as if Vincent Van Gogh had been asked to paint a bonfire on the wood.


One of the most memerable videos I have ever seen thank you!

Keith, I understand what Rick said about “goose bumps” when you work with wood. Looking at that tree, so to speak, you can see he is inside the piece before it has been cut. Magic!!!!!–keep up the good work Keith.


That was so cool – watching that log open. “Goosebumps” is right even though I know I would never be able to afford a piece of this beauty, maybe veener.


Rick Hearne is a national treasure.

Larry W

I also love beautiful woods, and it’s always wonderful to find other people that are as passionate about wood.