With more than 30 years of experience in the wood products industry, Ken Wilcox recently joined Timber Products Company in the specialty hardwoods division.
We caught up with Ken to talk about veneer trends, new products and what advice he has for cabinetmakers and distributors.
Timber Products: What are the trends you are seeing in the veneer marketplace, and which veneers are hot right now?
Wilcox: The worldwide veneer market is impacted by trends that have developed mainly in Europe. European product development is truly state-of-the-art and usually runs three to four years ahead of the U.S. When those trends come into the U.S., the architectural community picks up on those products, and it builds from there.
The hot species that we’re seeing in the market are rift white oak because of its vertical grain configuration, and quartered walnut because of the color and the texture of the wood and its vertical grain. Worldwide, there’s good demand for these products. I’m also a firm believer that we can develop some new products right here in the U.S.
TP: What would those new products be and how would they be used?
Wilcox: We’re looking at specially selected veneers and new uses for species that can provide different looks. In the U.S. there’s a big trend for rustic materials. It’s a cool look that can interface with metals and composites. We want to complement that movement.
TP: Would distributors support these changes in product line?
Wilcox: Yes, I believe that our distributors are looking for new, unique products to present to their customers. Our job is to educate them on the application of those products and where they can be used. They’re willing and excited to see new products develop.
It’s an educational process from top to bottom. It takes time and energy but it will be worthwhile.
TP: What are architects looking for these days in design and texture?
Wilcox: Architects want materials that are new and unique for their artistic visions. I see a lot of them merging metal and composite plastic with wood. Timber Products will help fill that need and offer new, exotic products.
We’re seeing these specialty products being used across the board: in high-end residential, commercial work, public works, airports, libraries, universities and courthouses. My mission is to produce new products for the architectural community and get those products moving.
TP: When it comes to specialty veneers, what advice do you have for cabinetmakers and distributors?
Wilcox: If I were a cabinetmaker, my top priority as far as purchasing wood products would be to work with a distributor that has access to manufacturers who produce a full range of products. If I have questions about the use of a given product, I want to be able to call the manufacturer and be educated on its use.
If I were a distributor, I’d be looking for a manufacturer like Timber Products Company that produces a wide range of products that fit with almost any customer base. Plus the sales staff will come to the marketplace to educate and show usability and applications.
To learn more about the exciting things going on in the Specialty Hardwoods Division at Timber Products Company, contact Ken at 800-547-9520 x232.
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