The story of SR Wood began almost 80 years ago when Charles L. Westray started working in 1933 for the Mengel Company, a furniture manufacturer located in Louisville, KY. When the company’s wood veneer supplier in Chicago declared bankruptcy, C.L. oversaw the purchase and transport of the wood veneer operation to Louisville. As the newly appointed General Manager, C.L. guided the wood veneer division through the depths of the Great Depression and World War II and the subsequent post-war boom.
In 1955, C.L. founded his own company, Laminating Services, manufacturing wood veneer sheets on cloth backing under the brand name Pliant Wood. His son, Tom Westray, joined LSI in 1963 following his service with the U.S. Army. Six years later, American Standard came calling and purchased Laminating Services in 1969. Following the sale, C.L. and Tom continued to work with American Standard’s wood veneer division.
After two years, C.L. and Tom left American Standard in 1971 and founded The Wood Rock Company, selling wood veneer sheets manufactured by other firms. A year later, C.L.’s son-in-law, Fred Heil, joined the management team, and the company began operations under a new name, SR Wood, Inc. A manufacturing facility was built in Louisville at that time to enable the company to provide its customers with custom manufactured wood veneer sheets.
1970’s – Growth
SR Wood experienced rapid growth during its initial years, requiring a larger facility just four years later. In 1976, SR Wood moved into its new home in Clarksville, IN. The Clarksville plant would be the home to many innovations in the wood veneer business, including the mass marketing of paper-backed wood veneer in 1978 and the introduction of wood-backed wood veneer in 1979.
1980’s – Expansion
SR Wood began marketing its proprietary vinyl wallcovering collection and expanded its offerings further to include imported wallcoverings from Europe and Asia.
In 1988, SR Wood introduced CraftWood® Laminate, a post-formable, stress-relieved wood laminate manufactured balanced book matched to AWI standards for Ralph Wilson Plastics Co. CraftWood® became available to all SR Wood customers beginning in 1993, and over time, the CraftWood® brand expanded to include CraftWood® PaperBacked, CraftWood® All Wood Edge (wood-backed), and CraftWood® Wallcovering (cloth-backed). Today, CraftWood® continues to indicate high quality grade and craftsmanship for SR Wood’s customers.
1990’s – Focus
Sensing market changes in the U.S. wallcovering industry, SR Wood made the strategic decision to concentrate exclusively on its core strength of wood veneer manufacturing. In 1995, SR Wood divested its vinyl operations. The company’s focus once again centered on wood veneer and wood wallcovering.
2000’s – Reinvention
In 2004, C.L.’s grandson, Brian Heil, joined the company, marking the third generation to be involved in SR Wood’s management.
New product launches this decade for SR Wood’s customers included Friendly Harvest® reconstituted veneer sheets (2006), FSC® Certified veneer sheets (2007), QuickWood® veneer sheets (2009), and QuickBand™ wood veneer edgebanding (2010).
SR Wood continues to thrive on the foundation of 44 experienced and caring employees, dedicated customers and suppliers, and the commitment to provide the best wood veneer sheet products in the market.