October 11 2020 – Mike Yarbrough
At Rustic and Main, we tell stories. We tell your story using materials that are meaningful and carefully sourced, things that are special to you and your love. The rings that we create are a visible symbol that you can wear on your hand of your history and heritage that you can pass on from one generation to the next.
We strive to craft products that have significance beyond the materials used to make them. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many different unique and historic materials to help craft stories for so many people.
We receive many questions about the materials we use. Specifically, where do they come from? Part of our mission has always been to use materials that are sustainably sourced and that have a rich American history, and we are fortunate to be able to use some truly unique woods and other materials.
Where We Get Our Wood
No two pieces of wood are exactly the same. Consequently, no two rings we have ever made have been exactly the same. Each is unique, and we use a wide range of woods to tell stories we believe need to be told. One of the most frequent comments we hear from our customers is how much attention their ring creates and they have been able to share the story of their ring and its meaning.
Teak wood is prized for its beauty, but also for the natural oils trapped in its grain that make it all but impervious to the elements. That quality has made it popular among boat builders for centuries, and is also why the U.S. Navy used teak to furnish the decks of some of its most iconic battleships. It has been our genuine honor to be able to use reclaimed teak wood from the decks of the USS New Jersey and the USS North Carolina. The rings we've made from this wood are a part of history, and help us connect with the life stories of all the men and women who served aboard those vessels.
Rifle Stock Wood
The Springfield 1903 rifle was the standard-issue firearm that accompanied American soldiers in the trenches of World War I. It was replaced during the World War II era by the M1 Garand rifle. Both are beautiful, historic firearms that are prized by collectors and increasingly hard to come by in pristine condition. Both had stocks made of tough American walnut wood. We've been able to acquire, from private sources, a few of these historic rifle stocks which were too damaged to be suitable for rifle making, but still in fine shape for making our WWI and WWII rings.
Whiskey Barrel Wood
Whiskey barrel rings have proven to be some of our most popular products. It seems like there are many whiskey aficionados out there who savor the opportunity to make a deeper connection to their spirit of choice. We make rings using Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve and quite a few other American bourbon barrels. For those who prefer Scotch whisky, we've been able to use barrel wood from Lagavulin, Laphroaig and others.
Antique Walnut Wood
We're always on the lookout for local sources of historic wood, and we were lucky to connect with a collector from right here in North Carolina for our antique walnut. They have helped preserve history by procuring reclaimed wood from historic barns. The walnut wood we use in many of our rings comes from a historic 19th century tobacco barn just outside Asheville, NC. The barn itself is over 100 years old, and the trees used to build it were likely just as old at the time they were cut. Wearing this ring feels like having a tangible connection to our pioneer ancestors.
Weathered Maple Wood
Weathered maple has become a popular wood choice. The gray color and unique grain pattern combine to make a truly eye-capturing ring. We do all our weathering in-house, taking the light-colored maple wood through a natural process to produce a beautiful final product.
Unique, Reclaimed, and USA-Made Materials
While wood is the base of our rings, to tell a more nuanced story we also incorporate a variety of other materials into our rings, from flower petals and precious metals to Celtic tartan ribbons and coffee beans. We enjoy thinking outside the box when it comes to the materials we use for inlays in our rings. These are the stories behind some of our favorite alternative wedding band materials.
Colorado Elk Antler
Antler is a material with just as many unique qualities as wood. No two antlers are exactly alike, and the variations of color and grain make it an exciting material to incorporate into our rings. All of our antler rings are sourced from natural sheds of Colorado bull elk, so no animals were harmed. We have nothing against hunting, but we like the idea that the majestic animals these antlers came from are still out there roaming the wilderness.
WWI Uniform Wool
The uniforms worn by U.S. troops in World War I were made of wool, a material known for its superior ability to keep a soldier warm, even when wet. We've been able to acquire several pieces of WWI uniform wool—mostly from private individuals—that were suitable for use in our WWI rings. In doing so, we've been able to create rings that pay tribute to those who served in the Great War.
All of our leather rings are crafted from genuine American-made leather. We source our leather from the Horween Leather Company, based out of Chicago, IL. They were founded in 1905, and are one of the only leather makers out there still using traditional, old-world tanning techniques. It's simply the highest-quality American leather we can find.
And of course, many of our materials come straight from you! Our customers have come to us with many interesting ideas over the years, and a lot of sentimental materials with one question in mind, "Can you make a ring out of this?" These stories have touched us deeply, and we always do our best to accommodate these requests as best we can.
A woman once came to us with wood from her late grandfather’s handmade table from 1945. Another asked us to make a ring for her nephew using wood from a church pew from his grandfathers' church, and the ribbon from his grandmother's bible. We've made rings using crushed rock from a couple's favorite rock climbing location. We've used dresses and military uniforms, and wood from houses, barns and buildings of all kinds. The list goes on and on...
We're always open to your ideas and would love to hear the stories behind the elements you would like to include in your ring. If you have an idea for a ring made out of a piece of wood or other material that holds special meaning for you, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know! We're here to tell stories, and help you share your history with your loved ones.