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This sideboard hutch was built using red lap siding reclaimed from a Montana barn and hand-forged, oil-blackened hardware.

Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus

Spotlighting the works of furniture maker Rory Egelus

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

Synchronicity A Voice in Stone Equus The Archie Bray Foundation Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. 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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
December 2014 | January 2015


Rory Egelus has always been interested in woodworking, from peeling logs part-time to scouring the countryside for reclaimed wood. Finally, four years ago he started Rory’s Rustic Furniture and it all came together.

“Ideas for furniture come to me at the weirdest times,” Egelus says. “I could wake up and have an idea. Or I’m out hiking or running and I’ll think of a design in my head.”

Initially, the notion of using reclaimed wood was the best way to get affordable material, but it also happened to coincide with a trend for reusable resources. Not only does the client get a unique one-of-a-kind piece of furniture, but they also get the history of the piece along with it.

“The history aspect is very unique,” Egelus says. “It’s all from Montana. And when we reclaim the wood we also have a lot of reclamation photos. Each piece has a history that can be tracked back to a farm, ranch or old building in Montana.”

One piece in his studio is made from old railroad cars Egelus found just outside Great Falls.

“The property owner contacted me and asked if I was interested in the cars,” he says. “They were just going to burn them to the ground. I drove up there and got as much as I could from them. They were bolted together and rusted over. It was one of the hardest reclamations we’ve done.”

It’s not only the wood that gets repurposed.

“If I can, I’ll use other reclaimed materials, especially some of the metals,” he says. “Sometimes it’s hard to make it functional. One of the pieces I used from the railroad cars was the sliding door hardware. I was able to reclaim two assemblies. I’m hoping to integrate them into a functioning set of sliding doors. It will take some labor and grease to get them going again.”

Many times Egelus will see something out in a field or along a road and make a call, or he might get someone who wants to get rid of an eyesore.

“I’ve worked a lot of handshake deals with farmers and ranchers around the state and started stockpiling materials for the future,” he says. “I’m always keeping my eyes out for more reclaimed wood opportunities. Even though it was the cheapest way to start, I pride myself on using reclaimed materials.”

Egelus’ work includes indoor as well as outdoor furniture and accent pieces such as fireplace mantels and kitchen cabinetry.

“We’re very busy with custom work,” he says. “I do all the custom designing in-house, on a consulting basis. Clients come in with a layout and the function — storage or an artistic centerpiece — and I’ll draw up the design and use a computer program to show the piece in three-dimensions.”

With that software, clients can see exactly how the piece will look finished and installed in the room.

“It helps people to visualize what they want,” he says. “A lot of clients don’t live here all year-round, so I can send them images of the design and this way they end up with exactly what they were expecting. It helps us build the piece, too.”

Egelus plans to open a showroom just outside Bozeman, Montana, in June 2015.

“It will feature my pieces and other artists from around the state, including some potters and metal-smiths,” he says. The showroom, Homestead 89, will be named as a tribute to the year Montana was established, 1889. 

Rory Egelus

This trestle dining set with matching bench was handcrafted from reclaimed Montana barn wood.