Our History - The Rustic Way
To understand Dan Pauly and what he creates, you must first appreciate his passion for old wood and antiques.
Dan is from the Old School, rooted in a heritage of 4 generations
of wood-working artisans. That’s his lineage, it’s in his DNA and
has forged in him a lifetime of true craftsmanship. He’s proud
of that tradition and his work reflects that pride.
The Pauly legacy spans two centuries, bridging from
Switzerland and Great-Grandfather Henry (the original
homesteader who, after emigrating in the late 1800s, built
many barns in central Minnesota, some of which are still
standing) to Grandpa Carl to Dan’s father, Bob. “As I uncover
an old barn or shed,” Dan says, “I realize that it could be the
same lumber that my great-grandfather used more than 100 years ago. I think that respect for the craftsmen and craftswomen of the past, and for the wood they used, make a difference in each new piece I create. Until you have dismantled an old barn, you can’t imagine the painstaking effort it took from Old-World craftsmen to erect it. They were each a work of art.”
There are no shortcuts in the realm in which Dan and
The Rustic Way operate. The keys to producing products
of the highest quality that are cherished for generations are
really quite basic: ˜scouring the Midwest region, and beyond, for the best sources of reclaimed wood ˜taking utmost care in dismantling/deconstructing aging structures to preserve as much usable wood as possible in its natural, weathered condition˜ and then relying on two decades of experience-proven techniques to massage the reclaimed wood -- through planning, hand-sanding and multiple layers of finish to enhance what’s already there, bringing out the beauty nature created in 100-plus years of life.
The end result..
Think of the difference between a concrete countertop…
and one made of marble. As he ushers a centuries-old piece of wood to the finishing stages. Dan’s creativity and experience make the difference. “I love applying that initial coat of low-luster finish,” Dan emphasizes, “because that’s when the beauty in the wood emerges. I know how the wood will react before I put that first varnish on and I rarely find it necessary to stain this wonderful old wood beforehand.” Simply put, Dan Pauly has a passion for old wood – its warm luster, tight grain and fascinating, unique history, first as trees harvested from old-growth forests in the 19th Century and then as lumber from old structures – barns, granaries, grain elevators, warehouses, stores.
“This wood reflects our natural heritage and has a much richer and more attractive
patina and grain than modern wood.”