The guys at Back Forty Woods in Eugene handcraft Oregon wood into products that capture the beauty and grit of the Pacific Northwest’s countryside while also pairing well with an urban aesthetic.
Three brothers — Caleb, Jai and Tanner Ralls — co-founded the company five years ago. “We had a brainstorming session when Jai came up with the name [Back Forty Woods],” Tanner Ralls says. “It really embodied the aesthetic we were after, having the allure of wood, the grittiness.”
The Ralls brothers have hired only one other person: Eli Kreigh, a woodworker, designer and longtime friend.
Their work ranges from ping-pong paddles that turn sport into art all the way to large construction projects like designing and constructing the Will Leather Goods boxcar-style shop at the 5th Street Market.
Woods native to the Pacific Northwest like fir, walnut, maple, oak and madrone are the medium of choice for these designers. They source the wood from old buildings, trees that came down in storms or diseased trees, as well as trees from a friend’s property.
“Any time we get ahold of a log we get excited,” Tanner Ralls says, adding that there is a several-years-long process of milling and drying the wood before they can craft with it. They like doing it all themselves.
The most giftable items at the Back Forty Woods shop are the table tennis (aka ping pong) paddles, dog bowl stands and cutting boards. A black walnut leather-wrapped panel will run you around $120, and maple or walnut cutting boards start at $125.
The wood and metal raised dog feeders start at $160. Spendy, but these are not just utilitarian: They are art.
The most life-changing thing Back Forty offers is building or remodeling your home. They can redo your floor or wall into a pattern of hardwoods that is either complex and artistic, or simpler but still elegant.
Ordering soon is imperative, as this small shop is booked far in advance. It could take months for them to get to your order, according to Ralls, so plan ahead. This is especially true because they recently worked with a large brand, pushing them to their limits.
“It’s been a long haul, but it’s been a great learning experience and a lot of fun,” Ralls says.
Head over to BackFortyWoods.com for the full catalog.