What Is the History of Stephan Wood Products?

What Is the History of Stephan Wood Products?

Let company president Jim Tenbusch explain the origins of Stephan Wood Products and how it grew throughout the years.


Stephan Wood Products Through the Years

The Tinkerer

Two blocks from our current location in 1944, Al Stephan (Steff-ANN), a tinkerer and inventor, satisfied the local need of wooden clothespins.

Realizing his woodcrafting could lead to other projects, Al grew his new business bigger and bigger, eventually making wooden brush heads for Fuller Brush Company out of Chicago. Diversifying even further, Al began creating hog slappers, plugs for Gould Electric’s electrical boxes, and dimension lumber for the Chicago stockyards.

Providing the dimension lumber led Al to look further into the military. There, he knew he could improve upon truck flooring, troop seats, and hardwood slats.

Stephan Wood Products in 1944. We've come along way from wooden clothespins. We're now the No. 1 supplier of troop carrier seats for the US military.

The Tenbusch Era

The Tenbusch family bought Stephan Wood Products in the early 1970s and expanded its reach into the military. Dissuaded by its original concept of wood and steel, the US military approached Stephan Wood Products in 1991 and said they couldn’t use the wood anymore.

Because CARC fractures on wood surfaces, the military asked us to come up with something better. Current company president Jim Tenbusch ran a pultrusion company in Detroit making fiberglass fishing rods. Using this knowledge, father paired with son to create a fiberglass and resin composite — an extrusion. The troop carrier seats we provide now are in the back of nearly every US military troop transport vehicle.

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More Frequently Asked Questions

How Is SWP’s FRP Unique?

Typically, when you have an FRP (fiberglass resin product), it is a mixture of a resin, fiberglass roving, and filler. Our fiberglass composites feature more resin and fiberglass and less filler. Watch our video to learn more.

How Do Your Military Spec Products Help Your Customers?

Military Spec materials help people looking out for pleasant appearances, longevity and utility. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does Your Military Experience Provide Better Solutions For Your Customers?

The military knows that if they come to Stephan Wood Products for a solution, we’re going to give them a solution. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does SWP Provide the Best Solutions?

When we have a customer that comes to us for a project, custom or otherwise, the first thing we want to know is if we already have the material they need in our inventory. Watch our video to learn more.

What Seating Applications Does SWP Offer?

Waterparks and theme parks, particularly in southern states, all use products that don’t hold up and need constant replacement. We do. Watch our video to learn more.

What Services Does SWP Offer?

Stephan Wood Products is unique in our field because we offer a lot of different products. Watch our video to learn more.

Is All SWP FRP Military Spec?

All Stephan Wood Products are made to military specification. We have a resin system that’s been in place since 1991. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does SWP FRP Compare To Natural Wood?​

Natural wood will twist, warp, cup, absorb moisture, and split on the ends. Plus, wood doesn’t always hold paint. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does Having Jim on My Team Create a Successful Product?

Jim Tenbusch is a stalwart advocate for Stephan Wood Products and our craftsmanship. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does the Design Process Work?​

Any potential client of ours can email from our contact form on our web page and call. Watch our video to learn more.

Why Should I Choose SWP?

If it comes from our facility, it’s something that is going to work for you. Watch our video to learn more.

How Does SWP’s E-Coat System Deliver Superior Solutions?​

Electrodeposition coating, or e-coat, is the penultimate stage of our painting system. Watch our video to learn more.


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Have a question? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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Phone: (989) 348-5496
Fax: (989) 348-2427

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P.O. Box 669

605 Huron

Grayling, MI 49738