By Heather Collins
These days, in business, it takes a little bit of luck and several calculated risks to reap the rewards. That has certainly been the case for Greg Wilson, the Founder of HempWood, a wood substitute and hemp lumber manufacturer.
“When I first started HempWood, people jokingly referred to it as ‘weed wood,'” recalls Wilson. “People simply didn’t realize hemp’s potential, but once the Farm Bill passed, everyone was curious about the benefits and sustainability associated with the new crop.”
Fifteen years prior, Wilson studied abroad then lived in China and Australia, where he worked closely with bamboo and eucalyptus as an alternative to oak and pine. Wilson adds, “Back then, hemp wasn’t really on my radar. I was taking the time to learn everything about sustainable wood production. Once I discovered that hemp was similar to bamboo, it dawned on me that maybe hemp could also serve as a sustainable and viable solution.”
Once back in the States, Wilson knew he was onto something with hemp. In 2016, he studied the intricacies of hemp, including how it was grown, processed, and used in building supplies.
“It started as a numbers game, which is why our parent company is named Fibonacci – the mathematical equation in plants. I applied my engineering experience and background and created an algorithm that would lead us to where we are today – the first of its kind manufacturer that transforms hemp fibers and protein-based bonding agents into wood,” explains Wilson.
Oak’s Out. Hemp’s In.
Based in Murray, Kentucky, HempWood creates flooring, furniture, wood frames, and woodturning materials – all made out of hemp – for artisans and craftsmen nationwide. The company’s 16,500-square-foot factory is modeled after the bamboo production facility in China where Wilson’s idea of working with sustainable wood was first introduced.
Everyone who works at the facility follows the same founding principle, “to help the environment by removing the devastating effects of deforestation from the harvesting process.”
“Hemp is far superior and is 20 percent stronger than oak – it’s eco-friendly, renewable, and grows faster. We like to say that, ‘anything oak can do, hemp can do better,’ which means we can substitute our patented HempWood for anything made with solid oak,” notes Wilson.
Musicians are also tuning in to HempWood’s unique innovation and design details. Many artists from around the globe are creating custom-made guitars, ukuleles and other wood-based instruments from HempWood’s raw materials.
Morris Beegle, Entrepreneur and Let’s Talk Hemp Media Co-founder, Producer of NoCo Hemp Expo, utilizes HempWood to create guitars, guitar cabinets, combo amps, and guitar straps for the Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars brand.
Morris Beegle, entrepreneur and Let’s Talk Hemp Media co-founder, utilizes HempWood to create guitars, guitar cabinets, combo amps, and soon, bass guitars and percussion instruments for the Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars brand. Beegle anticipates as awareness increases, more musicians will be curious about playing hemp-based musical gear, not only for the eco-earth friendly craftsmanship, but to support the industrial hemp community and it’s ingenuity and innovation from companies such as HempWood.
Partners in the Field
HempWood plans to open licensing facilities in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Canada, and Europe in the coming years, with hemp lumber readily available at retail outlets in Colorado and Tennessee.
“My goal is to make more products and then leverage HempWood and take it to the next level by making our materials more accessible to everyone, everywhere,” adds Wilson.
Wilson gives Murray State University’s Center for Agricultural Hemp office, including local and state officials, credit for taking a chance on his company and dream. The Murray State Center for Agricultural Hemp is a national leader in agricultural hemp development and serves as a leader in research, education, policy, and innovation within the hemp industry. HempWood proudly serves as a sponsor of the hemp office at Murray State.
“Thanks to Murray State, the people of Kentucky, and the hemp community, we’ve been able to make a positive impact on the environment, be a steward to nature, and thrive together for the betterment of our planet. We look forward to creating new products and outfitting homes and buildings for future generations to enjoy.”
For more information on the many uses of HempWood and its parent company Fibonacci, visit hempwood.com. HempWood also is a proud sponsor of the upcoming NoCo Hemp Expo.
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Heather Collins is an Account Manager for Compass Natural Marketing and has been working in communications and marketing in the natural products industry for the past twenty years. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo. Collins serves as a Contributing Writer of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.