Superior Artisan Wood & Slab

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by Meredith Biesinger
photos by Lindsay Pace

Chad Fletcher of Superior Artisan Wood and Slab in Tupelo believes that every tree has a story.

As the only certified Urban Wood supplier in the state, Fletcher takes great pride in rebirthing timber into professional-grade slabs of wood. Wholesalers or artists buy slabs and create functional artwork, such as tabletops or cutting boards. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that customers aid in Fletcher’s vision: To reclaim timber to preserve the history and integrity of communities, families.

In fact, the business began with family in mind.

“My family and I were getting ready to build a home,” Fletcher said. “I had always been interested in sawmilling, so I purchased a small, manual sawmill to do some custom work for my home. Not much longer after that, I started doing some side work with it as well.”

Eventually, his 20-year career in a different industry began to wane. He enjoyed sawmilling, so he bought a larger sawmill that gave him significant production and mobile sawing capabilities. That’s when Superior Artisan Wood and Slab came to life.

Business picked up quickly, and Fletcher’s longtime friend Allen Murphree was interested in some side work at the time. As if by design, timber fell on Murphree’s property. So, the pair invested in a Lucas Mill Model 8-30, hailing all the way from Australia. This particular sawmill enables them to process massive logs, putting the power to create everything from a kitchen-island countertop to a Friday-night charcuterie board in their hands.

Preserving Mississippi history is a tenet of the company’s faith, a Southern revelation through pine and oak. Fletcher and Murphree have salvaged logs from Tammy Wynette’s birthplace and osage orange wood that Chickasaw tribe members would have used for longbows. They even recovered a poplar limb from the second-largest poplar in Pontotoc county history.

Having been involved with deeply personal, historic projects in the state, it comes as no surprise that Superior Artisan Wood was recently featured on an episode of HGTV’s Hometown in Laurel.

“It was a pleasure to work with craftsmen who understand the importance of using wood that might have otherwise been thrown away,” Fletcher said. “It was heartwarming to find that, even though the crew have become renowned for their work, they still totally get [the importance of it].”

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