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.
“Innovators Set the Standards Imitators Attempt to Follow”
When we first began manufacturing reclaimed and River-Recovered® wood flooring and paneling there were only a handful of competitors who sold outside of their local area. In fact, we received many long distance calls because we were one of only a few companies who advertised in Fine Homebuilding at the time. When someone called Goodwin from Boston, California or places far from Florida, we often became friends. We talked a lot and truly got to know one another in the process of understanding their expectations and needs in a reclaimed wood product.
It’s always heartwarming to be able to help a client who purchased a floor from us over 20 years ago. George and Cyndi Watkins wanted to take the wax finish off their River Recovered® Heart Pine floors, then stain and coat them with a water-based polyurethane.
The Watkins are discerning clients who know what they want and are intelligent about pursuing it. Their Thomasville, Georgia builder, Dudley Lewis, likewise, is an expert. They wanted to remedy the fisheyes in the finish caused by the wax buildup, especially between the boards. Goodwin contacted a number of floor professionals with varying solutions. Howard Brickman, Brickman Consulting, once again came to the rescue.
Dudley told us he was impressed with Mr. Brickman’s advice:
Thanks for your help and the great references. I had a long and educational talk with Howard Brickman. He recommends clear shellac instead of a primer as a first step of the recoat after cleaning up the excess wax. Interestingly he said that he doesn’t see this problem much since most people refinish with oil-base polyurethane. Apparently the problem with fisheyes from the wax contamination is more common with a waterborne finish.
I called a chemist friend of mine who is a chemical engineer. He reminded me that wax is a petroleum product and that denatured alcohol or acetone won’t work. He said to use a good grade of mineral spirits after sanding and after the final buffing that raised the wax from between the boards. He went into the organic chemistry explanation but it’s been so long since I studied chemistry that it went right over my head.
I had a conference call with the tech support guy for Bona Traffic and the manufacturer’s representative at the same time. Both said that their product was compatible with the shellac but both encouraged me to try a small area first. They also said that Bona Traffic was compatible with the Sherwin Williams Wood Classic Stain.”
Thank you, Dudley, for allowing Goodwin and our excellent support colleagues to help you make your clients happy. We hope others can benefit from this very insightful information!
By Jeffrey Forbes
Marketing Coordinator and Resident Historian
Every Goodwin floor is a conversation piece, and each detail prompts a story for its rich and historic past. We know all about the durability and sustainability of a quality heartpine floor. You can see it in the tightness of the River-Recovered® longleaf grain and you can feel it in the density. Many owners of vintage homes have told us when they perform repairs to their heartpine framed houses, “you have to pre-drill nail holes; don’t ever try just driving them in.”
We sometimes deal with potential customers who are debating between installing our wood flooring, or using an inferior product. Sometimes the cost of our flooring is a bit higher than other options. However, the durability, longevity, and alluring beauty of our woods cannot be ignored. And, with proper upkeep (which amounts to regular sweeping and cleaning) our floors eventually pay for themselves:
- No need to replace our flooring in the future. Unlike carpet, tile and vinyl, our species never go out of style and last forever.
- Wood floors add value to your home. Don’t take our word for it…the National Wood Flooring Association and HGTV host Scott McGillivray seem to concur!
- Most wood floor owners will agree they are easier to maintain and keep clean because they do not accumulate a lot of dirt and dust.
- Reclaimed wood is durable and can withstand more wear and tear than other types of flooring.
- Our reclaimed flooring is not only green, but healthy, too! Carpet fibers and tile grout lines are havens for pet dander, dust, pollen and allergens. Wood floors promote good air quality inside your home or office.