Goodwin Heart Pine Owners Receive Craftsman Degrees

George and Carol Goodwin, owners of Goodwin Heart Pine Company, received Craftsman Degrees during the National Wood Flooring Association’s annual convention in St. Louis. The degrees recognized NWFA members who reach specific levels of achievement in wood flooring education, personal accomplishment and service to the industry.

Goodwin Heart Pine manufactures luxury hardwood flooring from river-reclaimed antique longleaf pine and cypress trees. Their wood is used in homes, businesses and historic restorations across the nation, including many celebrity homes and museums. The company also has led the way in longleaf pine reforestation.

They have won numerous awards including the prestigious 2002 Designer’s Choice Wood Floor by the American Society of Interior Designers, and Floor of the Year in 2000, 1999 and 1997 from the National Wood Flooring Association.

National Experts Lead Advanced Flooring Workshops

A newly published subfloor technique was just one of the topics unveiled by some the nation’s best known wood flooring leaders at two recent advanced workshops, held at Goodwin Heart Pine Company’s manufacturing facility outside Gainesville, Florida.

Flooring professionals from across the country gained hands-on, job-site experience at the Wood Floor Guild seminars by designing and installing custom flooring in Goodwin’s new showroom.

Goodwin Heart Pine Company, which specializes in river-recovered ® antique heart pine, heart cypress and wild black cherry, provided the wood for the special projects. These woods are considered to be some of the highest quality wood available and provided attendees with the opportunity to gain applied knowledge of their unusual properties.

Howard Brickman, a national wood floor consultant, featured professional in “Hardwood Floors” and Bob Villa’s “Home Again” television show and former technical director of NOFMA, led the “Advanced Installation Workshop.” This weeklong seminar featured several topics including radial layout, bent curves, custom end-grain, borders, scroll saw introduction as well as monitoring job site conditions, brass inlays, and wood anatomy. The installation segment also featured Don Bollinger, author ofHardwood Floors books and videos by Taunton Press. Jeff Foreman demonstrated advanced stairpart installation.

In addition, the group installed an eight-foot round medallion that earned the 2002 Designer’s Choice Wood Floor, which was chosen by the American Society of Interior Designers for Most Aesthetically Pleasing Floor. Other instructors included Daniel Boone and Andrew St. James, president of the Wood Floor Guild.

The “Advanced Sanding & Finishing Workshop” was led by Bob Moffett, developer of sanding equipment and instructor of more than 100 workshops. This class provided in-depth information about innovative methods, products and equipment on topics including sanding pattern floors, end-grain and medallions and understanding and using different techniques on the full array of stains, sealers and finishes with a dust free system.

Daniel Boone, past technical director of the National Wood Flooring Association, was on hand to teach a never before published subfloor installation technique with plywood. This system was developed in conjunction with Mickey Moore and the National Oak Floor Manufacturers Association.

Other participants included two chemists from Germany who provided education about a new stain system and an oil sealer for heart pine with only 10 percent solvents.

“Several of these instructors are not only the most experienced and skilled in the industry but, they are still practicing their craft on a daily basis,” said Andrew St. James, president of the Wood Floor Guild. “These workshops are intended to provide real world experience on an actual job site to address the challenges and opportunities that inevitably crop up.”

George Goodwin said ongoing education for design, building and installation professionals has always been a high priority for his company. Goodwin Heart Pine frequently sponsors workshops, such as the environmental finishes seminar held last September and scheduled again in the spring. In addition, they offer free courses for four continuing education units, which are recognized by most professional organizations.

“It was a real privilege to learn from these flooring masters and have them direct the installation, sanding and finishing of our new display area and offices,” said George Goodwin, president of Goodwin Heart Pine. “They set the standards for the most expert techniques in the industry and it is valuable information we will pass on to our customers.”

Pilings from Savannah First Dock Continue To Serve As Beautiful Flooring in Homes Across the Nation

Savannah’s port has always played a significant role in the city’s history, serving as a leading shipping avenue for New World products bound for Europe. Now the wharf pilings that launched those ships 250 years ago is continuing to live on, as reclaimed wood for new flooring in Savannah and across the country.

All of a sudden—perhaps with a remembered sense of patriotism or new nesting instinct—modern designers and homeowners are rediscovering antique wood floors. One company that specializes in recovering antique woods recognized the inherent benefits of the Savannah River dock pilings and purchased them to remill into luxury flooring, millwork and stairparts.

The pilings are made of heart pine and heart cypress older than any previously recovered antique pine and cypress, according to George Goodwin, president of Goodwin Heart Pine Company, located outside Gainesville, Fla.,

“We have been recovering heart pine and heart cypress for more than 25 years and this wood is older than any antique wood I’ve seen,” Goodwin said. “These pilings were constructed about the time General James Oglethorpe was creating Savannah and were hundreds of years old when they were cut down. And just as Savannah is rich in architectural and natural beauty, so too is the wood from it’s first dock.”

The pilings were made from original-growth Longleaf Pine and Bald Cypress. The cypress is a survivor from prehistoric times, commonly living more than 1000 years and towering over 100 feet. These giants of the southeastern swamps helped build America along with heart pine from Longleaf pine trees, which grew slowly and are hard and extremely durable. Both of these antique woods are in limited supply and available only from specialists who reclaim them.

The indigenous woods withstood the elements and became the principal building materials through the entire area. The dock was made up of logs and beams, many of which still show the ax marks where they hand hewn.

Tim Wellford, who owns a restaurant on the pier at St. Simons, installed Goodwin’s Midnight Heart Pine™ flooring in his contemporary home and loves both the look and the romantic history of the historic wood. Next he plans to build an entertainment center from the Midnight Heart Cypress™.

“I didn’t even know about this wood until I start researching wood,” Wellford said. “It’s so much better than any ordinary wood because it’s a better product, it’s good looking and it has historical value. I just never knew I could have wood this nice.”

Heart Pine is hard, nearly indestructible and has a rich red patina. The Savannah River pilings offer antique heart pine with chocolate tones.
Heart Cypress, also called antique tidewater cypress, is fine grained and finishes to a warm, honeyed brown. It is often used for paneling, trim, fireplace surrounds, mantles, whole slab table tops and exterior projects. The heart cypress from the Savannah wharf piling are a bit darker.

“Throughout its eons of adaptation, original-growth cypress developed natural oils that resist insect and water damage, which you just don’t find in other woods,” Goodwin said. “It was a favorite of Frank Lloyd Wright’s and, with its blend of vertical straight grain and arching swirls, it’s easy to see why.”

Goodwin said the dock functioned through the 1800s and pilings could still be seen intact from River Street in downtown Savannah looking toward Hutchinson Island until the summer of 1997. The decision to build a theme park and raceway created the need to remove the pilings.

Known for his passion for conserving original-growth wood without cutting trees, Goodwin finally secured the rights to buy the pilings after more than 18 months of researching the issue. The homeowners fortunate enough to install this rare treasure appreciate his diligence.

“My wife is born and raised in this area,” Wellford added. “The fact that we have a floor from a local landmark just adds to the benefits we receive. If we ever sell this house, I know the historical value will be a great selling point.”

Sunken Treasure—Gold in the Rivers

Gold in the form of rich hues and grain of aged Heart Pine and Heart Cypress has been submerged for hundreds of years in the Suwannee and other Florida Rivers. This year these highly treasured trees will surface, thanks to ecologically aware people like George Goodwin, who petitioned and won the privilege to retrieve them without disturbing the surrounding Eco-systems.

When the trees were initially hewn, it was the oldest and most dense trees that rolled off the logging rafts and slipped into the darkness of the Suwannee. Most of the trees recovered by Goodwin and Company are hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old. The wood colors range from golden honey to a rich burgundy red. The well-defined grains are works of art ranging from select arches to vertical pin stripes to curly or burl grain. The wood is carefully sawn, slowly air-dried, then kiln-dried and meticulously milled to the specifications of the particular project and the customer’s needs. Goodwin follows the 1904 grading rules for Heart Pine and Heart Cypress and sets the standards for antique woods today.

Whether for restoration or for the beauty of the wood being used in modern design, Goodwin’s recovered Heart Pine has starred in PBS’s This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop. It has played a role in HGTV’s Dream Builders and has been a notable in such magazines as Women’s Day, U.S. News and World Report and Fine Homebuilding. Most recently, Goodwin was featured in Southern Living, December, 1999.

1,700 Year Old Cypress Logs Found in the River—New Yankee Workshop films in Micanopy, FL

Goodwin Heart Pine Company, specialists in recovering original growth logs from Southern rivers has pulled a mammoth size cypress tree from a private creek in west Florida. The tree, approximately 1,700 years old and over 100 feet tall when it was cut down by ax a hundred years ago, is 53” in diameter and three times larger than most cypress logs Goodwin recovers. Goodwin pulled a 34-foot section from the river, likely the bottom portion of the tree.

Because the tree was submerged in cool water, the milled lumber will be in pristine condition. The sections will provide enough wood to side or panel an entire house and most likely will be used for historic restoration and preservation projects.

Cypress trees are among the most slowly growing and have been clear-cut, like its sister tree the redwood, to near extinction. IT is one of few remaining prehistoric species. A favorite wood of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, cypress was a difficult wood to cut by hand due to is size and swampy growing conditions. A century ago loggers would chop a ring around the tree or “girdle” the tree in winter or early spring so that moisture would be pulled out as the tree put on leaves. Months later in the wet season when it was easier to get a boat into the swamps, the lumber jacks would return to harvest the tree. This particular tree probably was still too heavy and sank even after being girdled.

“In the 22 years I have been recovering and milling antique logs, this tree is certainly among the largest,” said George Goodwin, owner and operator of Goodwin Heart Pine. “It is extremely rare to find a log of this size either recovered from a river or even growing near a river. Unfortunately, Southern original growth forests of heart pine and cypress were clear-but to extinction a hundred years ago and today even young cypress trees are being cut without the benefit of replanting.”

Since Goodwin began its mill in 1979, it has been the original source of true pre-settlement quality Heart Pine and Heart Cypress. The company rescues logs by hand from southern river bottoms where they have lain for more than a century beneath the cool murky waters. Like the treasured timber, a visit to the mill in rural north Florida is a step back in time. George Goodwin tracked down the most knowledgeable old-timers to teach him the lost art of rendering the quality of timber from these old logs that was last available to your great-grandparents. Goodwin takes pride in being different from other lumber mills. The company’s passion for the wood, its craft and its customers demands it!

Wood With a Story—HGTV’s Dream Builders show

George Goodwin scours southern rivers hunting for sunken treasure in the form of rare Heart Pine and Heart Cypress logs lost over a century ago during water transport to nearby sawmills.

This modern-day treasure hunter actually is the owner of Goodwin Heart Pine Company. Since 1979, he and his crew have donned wetsuits to retrieve the sunken logs by hand, one at a time, so his small North Florida lumber company can mill the timber into fine antique flooring and home furnishing.

“Logging without cutting trees,” as Goodwin’s environmentally safe work has been described, makes for a fascinating tale. Goodwin, though, believes the river-recovered logs are the real story because of their rich yet heartbreaking history, which saw these magnificent resources depleted in a few short decades in the 1800s.

Now, a national television show wants to tell both stores.

Goodwin’s unusual river-recovery method of logging will be featured in December on Dream Builders, a 30-minute program on Home & Garden Television (HGTV) cable and satellite network. The show offers the latest trends, styles and techniques used by today’s builders and showcases uncommon construction projects across the country.

Goodwin and his treasured timber will be featured on the Dream Builder’s episode to air twice on December 15 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. It will repeat on December 17 and 18 at 11 p.m., December 21 at 7:30 p.m. and December 22 at 2:30 a.m. The show is viewed in nearly 31 million American households in more than 2,000 cable systems. HGTV is available nationwide through DirecTV, PRIMESTAR, and C-band packages.

The cameras will tag along with Goodwin on a log-recovery outing on a South Georgia river. They will follow the recovered timber’s trek through the milling process at the Goodwin lumberyard, where it is transformed into vintage flooring, furniture, and furnishing—literally, “history for your home,” as Goodwin calls the presettlement wood.

Wood from these trees, especially “heart of longleaf” pine, was highly valued as all-purpose timber by America’s first settlers and later was used in building the homes and factories of colonial and industrial America. Sadly, clear-cutting of vast southern forests in the late 1800s wiped out virtually the entire range of old-growth Heart Pine and Heart Cypress forests.

Today, the only place to find the last vestiges of this virgin antique wood is where it was left behind—under water on the southern rivers used by many timber operations in the 1800s to raft their logs to nearby mills.

Rare Woods Capturing the Attention of America’s Craftspeople and Homeowners

As hardwood interiors enjoy a newfound surge in popularity—in everything from home remodeling to new commercial applications—building professionals and homeowners find themselves combing through catalogs and magazines in search of “the perfect wood.”

For some, the decision is based on color. Others look at grain or for something unusual. Then it is always important to think about durability and strength.

One choice that is earning a second look, and often a first purchase, is a little understood wood that was so in demand during the 1800s and early 1900s that entire forests were clear-cut to virtual extinction. Southern Heart Pine is expected to take an even greater leap in popularity this January, when the well-regarded PBS television show, The New Yankee Workshop, features the wood sand heart pine specialist George Goodwin.

Host Norm Abram, intrigued with the unique method George uses to recover antique woods, took a camera crew on location to film Goodwin and his staff pull heart pine and cypress logs in a Southern Georgia river. The logs were lost from up to 200 years ago when loggers used the waterways to transport their cut timber down-river to the mills.

Goodwin Heart Pine Company, a small specialty lumber company owned by Goodwin in Micanopy, Florida, is one of a handful of companies in the United States that offer this rare wood and the only one to retrieve lost logs from riverbeds.

“Unfortunately, because of the changing ecological balance, the tree has nearly passed into extinction. It is only available in limited quantities either by salvaging timbers form old buildings, cutting down the few trees left, or like we do it … by putting on a wet suit and recovering the lost logs from the bottom of Southern rivers,” said Goodwin.

More than five million viewers will see the process in action Saturday, January 25, when The New Yankee Workshop airs on about 300 Public Broadcasting Stations nationally.

The show opens with the segment about the river recovery excursion and then will go on to show Abram giving step-by-step instructions in making a lidded bench from the wood of a recovered cypress log. The show is aimed at the amateur craftsperson and features a complete woodworking project from scratch.

“Sure it is hard work to recover this wood, but it is surely worth it. These logs, many of them 400 and 500 years old are preserved by the cool water and lack of oxygen so the heavy, dense heart remains in perfect condition, unspoiled by saws and nails.

“Because it is so rare and valuable, I stay involved at every stage. I do not pull every log out, but I do personally saw, dry, and inspect every board we mill. We cannot afford to make a mistake with this wood … it’s too hard to come by,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin predicts the interest in Heart Pine and other rare woods will increase as more craftspeople and homeowners gain more information about the woods. To help the process along, the company has just released a free video that documents the extinction of the Southern heart pine. For more information call Goodwin Heart Pine Company at 1-800-336-3118.