One of my all time favorite client inquiries went something like this:
“How long does it take to dry out those ancient logs that have been on the bottom of the river for 150 years?”
The answer? Well, it takes a little bit of explaining…
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We are continually seeking opportunities to meet the needs of our valued customers. Goodwin Company is in the process of developing builder ready pre-finished antique wood. This new line of fine flooring and paneling will be manufactured using the same quality standards as our traditional lines. It simply offers additional options designed to save money and time on the overall job.
Thank you for your continued support! We appreciate you and look forward to continuing to meet all of your wood flooring needs.
George Goodwin is still our company sawyer. He personally examines each and every log and has his own ritual for creating the beautiful antique wood flooring you enjoy in your home and/or office. It’s George’s process, so he tells the story best. Enjoy!
The Art of Sawing River-Recovered® Logs
Sawing River-Recovered® logs is more of an art than a process. When a load of River-Recovered® logs arrives at the sawmill, the first thing we do is measure and ‘scale’ them to determine how many board feet each log will yield. There is an industry log ‘scale’ that gives the board feet based on the diameter and length of the log. Sometimes there are significant internal fractures or other issues that affect the board footage that we take into account.
We often take the largest and best-preserved logs back to our giant log pond, where they remain in water until the right project comes along. Once I determine which ones to saw, I examine each log and decide where to mark and cut the logs for the best yield. A 36’ log might make an 8’, 12’ and 14’ sections depending on where the crooks and bends are in the log. This is called ‘bucking’.
The logs all need a power wash to remove the sand and grit off the remaining bark and exterior of the logs before they are sawn. Sand will damage the large, expensive saw blades. When I bought a large headsaw and carriage several years ago, I assembled the most equipment we could possibly afford. The River-Recovered® heart pine is dense, resinous and heavy, while the heart cypress is huge, requiring heavy-duty equipment.
“One of the most picturesque trees of the American forest is the full-grown cypress. It is slow growing tree, and reaches its best development in tidewater swamplands. Trees well over a thousand years old, towering to heights of over a hundred feet, were common in virgin stands. The mature cypress develops a swelled butt of 8 to 10 feet in diameter and is surrounded by so-called knees, which are really offshoots of the root. It is believed they serve the double purpose of respiratory organs and anchorage.”
American Bald Cypress grows in a belt along the southeastern coastal plain, mainly along rivers and swampy areas. Much of the finest and largest cypress timber grew where the land was submerged most of the year. Horses and mules could not work under such conditions and machine equipment was impractical. An early solution to the problem of making these stands accessible was to build canals through the swamps, so that large pullboats could drag the cypress logs out where they could be made into rafts and towed to the mill.
Preliminary to logging the cypress forests of the 1800’s, the trees to be felled were marked and girdled a year, or several months an advance. Girdling was done by cutting a notch three inches deep around the circumference of the trunk and about three feet above the ground with an ax. Thus, the tree was killed and the wood was allowed to lose part of the moisture, so that when it was cut, the logs would float.
Today, all the millennium giants are felled and gone. Second growth cypress is almost like a different specie. Minus the saturation of cypressein oil that takes several hundred years to develop, second growth cannot stand up to the elements like the virgin growth tree you see here.
See the table being made by Michael Doerr for his brother the owner of Auteur Winery (photo at right).