James Ruig, The Man Behind Salvage Europe
Published By Scenic Road Magazine - June 17, 2019
Jim Ruig – expert in European Salvage and owner of Salvage Europe. Truly a man with a soul for adventure and a need to know what’s over the horizon. Jim Ruig, owner of Salvage Europe has spent a lifetime searching the planet driven by his passion for all things with a history. This romance has led him on many adventures in search of timber and treasures for his customers.
Jim is a character with a love for life that is infectious. You can’t help getting swept away by the stories of his many experiences, told with an enthusiasm that has opened doors to places most don’t ever go. Whether in a truck or by foot, by bike or horseback Jim has searched the world for unique experiences and products.
Born and raised in the countryside of Redland Bay, Jim played rugby for Easts until he was 28.
While raising 2 children with Leigh in various houses they renovated and sold around Paddington, Jim started his first foray into salvage and created The Big Red Shed in Milton. Selling original colonial “houseparts “ to families moving into the area with a mind for renovation. It became an icon Queensland Colonial demo yard. After selling The Big Red Shed business, Jim took the family back to a country lifestyle when purchasing a farm at Lake Manchester – Oaky Creek Ranch - at the time making one of the biggest salvage deals to be done in Queensland. Jim purchased all the timber out of the Old Brisbane Wharf’s, around 10,000 tonnes of historic hardwood “After buying the farm I then set about building a rustic style polo complex using all this amazing wharf timber. Some of the best years of my life were spent at Oaky Creek raising the kids and playing polo. We lived in rustic splendour and would ride around the lake firetrails then school the horses on the polo field. We designed a barn style home & lived in one end while the horses had the other. Endless bbqs and drinks with family, friends and staff on the deck overlooking the polo field. Music playing, always!” Early on renovating houses and being a reclaimed wood merchant, it is natural that his adventurous instincts turned his search for architectural timbers global. Today Jim combines his love of travel with the business of searching the world seeking these ancient woods. “Salvage has worked on projects throughout Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Locally in Queensland we have supplied our products to high end restaurants and resorts like Gwinganna Spa on the Gold Coast, Spicers Peak Lodge, the Alsace Polo Estate and on small and large residential projects”.
Since 2003 Jim and his team have imported and exported to all corners of the globe – Specializing in French Oak Wood to Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Through a partnership with a family mill in Burgundy, France, Salvage Europe delivers superior products sourced from where the best old oak is grown. Where the finest artisans and the oldest Chateau’s find their oak. Whilst the business is mainly in processing reclaimed woods, this particular mill sustainably harvests old growth trees which works well with Jim’s philosophy of using reclaimed wood or wood that is sustainably harvested. The reclaimed timber is salvaged from Private Estates throughout Europe. The French Oak in these buildings grown in forests from the 14th to the 16th century present a treasure trove to those seeking boutique timber for their projects. “It’s the adventure of travel and finding new suppliers of interesting things. Whether it’s Argentina France, Turkey, Serbia or Romania I love the fact that I can share this history with my customers. My clients become my close friends. Working with these products naturally just brings people together. These products bring something special to a home or project. Flooring products, being a large part of our business are a great example of how to transform a space using reclaimed French Oak. The tones and textures always deliver an impact.” Jim has spent the last 3 years travelling extensively with a focus on USA expansion.
“I rented a ranch on an Indian reservation called Tesuque, 10 minutes outside Santa Fe which has an amazing music and art scene. Also, being the high Mesa, stunning scenery. From there I traveled the States and after 3 years realized that our US home should be near the wine country of Napa Valley and San Francisco. I found PETALUMA an amazing town near a fabulous city. We open the doors in July.”
If you are looking for something truly unique for your home or project, then contact Jim and his team - become part of the ancient timber adventure. Beautiful French Oak flooring products are currently available and if you are looking for something special check out the tables!! Jim has a limited supply remaining of Old French Oak Farm Tables. Salvage Europe are a direct importer and as such offer very competitive rates, you won’t be disappointed.