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The Maryland Wye Oak

Rick Smith

Rick Smith, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at McDaniel College, has been a lover and worker of wood for most of his life. He is dedicated to teaching about and revealing the beauty that Nature has hidden in the wood of her trees.  A particular emphasis is art fashioned from the wood of Maryland’s beloved State Tree, the Wye Oak, and from local trees.  (A bit of Wye Oak history is at the bottom of this page)


In the tradition of the Colonial woodsmith, these works of woodturning art are never filled or stained, in order to preserve the natural color, character, and history of the wood. These creations from the Wye Oak and other woods include bowls, vases, candleholders, rolling pins, wine bottle stoppers, and jewelry; all designed and finished by the artist.  Visit his website at for more examples of his workmanship.  He can be contacted at

"Togetherness" - a Colonial style Wye Oak bench

Spalted Maryland Wye Oak bowl

Maryland Wye Oak bowl

Maryland Wye Oak bowl

French rolling pin -  Julia Child's favorite style

Figured yellow poplar

Spalted maple candleholder

Vases from local hardwoods and softwoods

Maryland’s Wye Oak:

Maryland’s State Symbol


The Wye Oak, Maryland’s State Tree and the largest white oak in the United States, toppled June 6th, 2002 during a thunderstorm in the village of Wye on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  More than 460 years old, the beloved tree was purchased by the State in 1939 and was declared Maryland’s State Tree in 1941.  The purchase marked the first time in American history that a government agency purchased a single tree for preservation.  The Wye Oak was one of Maryland’s greatest living symbols and was older than the state itself.


 In 2004, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the Maryland State Arts Council, made wood from the tree available to Maryland artisans at the State Forest Nursery in Preston, MD.  Along with 150 other artists, Rick Smith journeyed to Preston on May 15, 2004 to collect a share of this venerable old state icon, for which certificates of authenticity were issued.  Under conditions of this program, Rick created artworks from this wood beginning in 2004 and made them available for sale in 2006.  THESE ARE TRULY RARE TREASURES FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO OWN A PIECE OF MARYLAND HISTORY!

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