Pack Baskets Veneer Story

Pack Baskets Veneer Story

  • December 9, 2021
  • by Columbia Forest Products

What’s been around since 900 B.C. but is still in demand for heavy use or rustic decoration?

Pack baskets!

Centuries before the thought of canvas or nylon backpacks, woven wood baskets were used to carry firewood, gear, tools and harvests by trappers, hunters, fishermen and gatherers. You’ve probably seen them and maybe even used them. And as the folks at Pack Baskets of Maine (PBM) can tell you, they’re finding new audiences and customers — especially as people are spending more time outdoors, exploring nature or even just apple picking.

What you may not know is the Columbia connection.

Our veneer production facility in Presque Isle, Maine supplies sheets of maple veneer that fit PBM’s hand-crafted production process and product performance expectations. They cut our veneer into strips, soak them in water, then weave them into their beautiful and durable baskets. This video shows the process:

PBM’s Dave Lorenz fields most of the calls and inquiries the company receives from consumers. “I’m still amazed how excited people are when they realize our baskets come almost straight from nature, and they’re made in the same state where the wood is grown,” he said. “I feel like we’re delivering a timeless product made in a timeless way.”

PBM sells a wide range of pack basket sizes directly through their website, and partners with national retailers like L.L.Bean, who published a profile of the company earlier this year.

Tanya Lamoureux handles PBM’s business and is a “power user” of their baskets. “We use it for shopping, picnics and just carrying things around. It’s in our car more than it’s in our house. It’s really gratifying to see and use something that came from our facilities in raw form and to know it’ll be just as usable decades from now.”

The folks at PBM said they have put a few baskets away for last-minute Christmas gifts for people who read this story. If you’re interested, you can email Dave Lorenz at