Sinker Cypress – The Gentle Giants of the South: Part One

Goodwin’s resident history enthusiast, Jeffrey Forbes, describes the origins of River-Recovered® Heart Cypress – a.k.a. sinker cypress.  Hundreds of years ago, the Suwannee River ran “clear”, more like a spring, as opposed to the murky waters we know today.  Both sides of the river were literally walls of bald cypress (a.k.a. tidewater red cypress, sinker cypress). These gentle giants were more than 100 feet tall and 2000-3000 years old. Behind the wall of bald cypress you would find millions acres of longleaf pine, which Goodwin also recovers today.

Goodwin recently recovered a 35 foot long sinker cypress log that was left by loggers of yesteryear in the Withlacoochee river (which runs into the Suwannee) hundreds of years ago.  Much of it has now been milled and is being used at the Bok Tower Gardens expansion project in Lake Wales, Florida.  This is what sustainable design is all about.  Rather than cut down forests, Goodwin recovers antique logs from river bottoms for architects and interior designers to incorporate into award-winning, sustainable designs. Homeowners love the wood because it is not only beautiful and durable, but it comes with an intriguing and rich story behind its origin.

The above video is the first in a multi-part series outlining the “story” behind  these gentle giants of the south.  Enjoy!

When We Say Custom Crafted…

Did you know we have a huge pond filled with sinker heart pine logs right behind our mill? When we say custom crafted, we mean it!

As you know, George Goodwin is the pioneer of the River-Recovered® process. Goodwin Company has been recovering sinker logs from river bottoms for 40 years and turning them into the most beautiful wood flooring, wood paneling and wood ceilings in the world. We do not immediately mill all the logs we recover; instead, some find a temporary home in our log pond, which is the best way to preserve them until needed. This isn’t a new idea either. Historically, mill sites were often accompanied by log ponds as a way to preserve and easily move their raw materials. When you place a custom order, many times we head to the pond, select a nice sinker heart pine log and mill it just for you!

Sustainable design is the heart of what we do. Building design professionals work with us because we not only partner with them every step of the way, but our eco-friendly process and high quality, sustainable products qualify for LEED credits. Homeowners contact us because they desire more than a store-bought floor in a box that will likely not wear well and will need to be replaced in a few years. Our sustainable wood flooring, paneling and ceilings are handcrafted from centuries old sinker logs and are designed to provide you and your family with a quality product that can be enjoyed for generations to come!

Take a quick peek at our large and impressive heart pine log pond:

Ready for us to begin handcrafting your new wood floor, ceiling or paneling? Please give us a call!

A Professor’s Perspective of Sinker Cypress and Heartpine

image06175142651We enjoyed vising with Penn State University professor Dr. Chuck Roy and visiting professor Dr. Ivan Sopushynskyy from the Ukraine. Dr. Roy described their approach to Goodwin in an illustrative e-mail to us:

“I could sense Ivan’s anticipation mount as we turned off the highway. We’d been seeing nothing but southern pine and swamps for awhile, and he seemed to know he was about to experience something completely different from the Carpathian mountains.”

Thank you for posting these most interesting highlights from your visit with us:

We appreciated the opportunity to host you and demonstrate how we turn River-Recovered® and reclaimed antique heart pine and heart cypress into the world’s most beautiful and exclusive wood flooring and paneling.

Are you interested in learning more about sinker cypress and other antique wood? Give us a call to schedule a personized and complimentary tour of our facility.

An Honest Comparison of Laminate vs. Wood

Many companies – including those who claim to produce high-end reclaimed wood flooring – have decided to re-direct some of their efforts into manufacturing what is marketed as high end laminate flooring. Goodwin will never venture into this market for several reasons.  While we prefer to stick with sustainable, durable, high-quality antique wood flooring, we are often asked the differences between wood and laminate.  This letter from a homeowner converting from laminate to real wood was published by Hardwood Floors.  It does an excellent job of explaining the differences from someone who knows first-hand:

Laminate cannot replace true wood, and there is no wood that is richer, more beautiful and of as high of quality as River-Recovered® or reclaimed heart pine and sinker cypress.  Compare a sample of our wood against any other finished wood in the world and you will clearly see why Goodwin is the industry gold standard.

To Bevel or Not to Bevel!

On A Factory Finished Wood Floor That Is…

Here is an article by Andrew St. James, Goodwin’s Technical Consultant:

After years of observing the performance of factory finished wood floors the micro-bevel has emerged as the standard side profile for prefinished flooring. Some building owners prefer the look of square edge flooring, but it is more difficult to achieve good results with square edge prefinished wood floor.

Installation of a square edge factory finished floor demands better jobsite conditions in addition to more skill and care in the installation process. If a square edge is raised slightly higher than the adjacent board not only is there a visual problem, the potential for later damage is increased. Here are some suggestions to help improve your outcome if you choose a square edge factory finished floor:

  • The subfloor must be precisely flat to assure alignment of adjacent boards. This requires more care to achieve variation less than 3/16” out in 10 feet or 1/8” in a 6-foot radius that is normally allowed.
  • Nailing must be precise and with even pressure to avoid exposed square edges. The elastic nature of wood allows deflection if some boards are pulled down too much (or too little) when nailing. When nails are not set evenly the result can be similar to that seen with subfloor irregularities.
  • Minor seasonal cupping caused by the growth ring structure is normal in solid wood.  Boards change size and shape slightly. This slight movement is more noticeable in a square edge factory finished product.

Goodwin’s micro-bevel starts at twenty thousandths of an inch and is less after sanding and finishing. The tongue and groove help maintain alignment of the board ends. This stabilizing effect combined with the better strength properties of the end grain of the boards minimizes the need to bevel the ends.

Please send us your feedback on this short summary of Pros and Cons on To Bevel or Not To Bevel!

Beveled Edge

Goodwin’s Antique Longleaf Stained Brown Micro Beveled Edge

Goodwin’s Antique Longleaf Stained Brown Micro Beveled Edge

Pros

  • Can be very slight
  • Minimizes noticeability of misalignment
  • Normal subfloor variance within industry standards is allowed

Cons

  • Concern of dust in the groove
  • Slight line visible between boards

Square Edge

  • Suitable for an onsite finish
  • Matches existing historic flooring
  • Avoids a slight line between boards
  • Subfloor requires more care to make precisely flat
  • More skill needed to nail precisely, with even pressure
  • Any over / under increases the potential for finish failure
  • Slight movement from seasonal changes is more noticeable