Sawing Sinker Cypress

Antique Heart Cypress is one of only a few remaining prehistoric tree species. Goodwin Company is proud to specialize in working with sinker cypress. Check out this video demonstrating how Goodwin transforms River-Recovered® Heart Cypress logs into gorgeous wood paneling and ceilings:

Rescued from a North West Florida river bottom, the River-Recovered log in the video displays an ax cut end, dating its harvest prior to 1870.  This was before the large scale introduction of the steam engine and arrival of the railroad in Florida.  The sheer size of these logs attest to their age, and, with an approximate diameter of 3ft or greater, their size allows for larger cuts unattainable in modern cypress. Each log has at least eight growth rings per inch… and often times more. The unique tight, fine grain gives antique Heart Cypress a soft graceful pattern that varies from warm honey and cinnamon tones through to light chocolate coloring in its grain.

Goodwin founder George Goodwin has been the company sawyer for over 40 years.  He saws each log to ensure the most wood is preserved with each cut.  The mill carries the sawn wood down along a conveyer belt to its first level of grading by Goodwin’s specialists. After grading, the boards are cut into standard widths, placed in the kiln and later moulded into heart cypress flooring and paneling as featured in the modern offices of RRSimmons.

Dreams Do Come True… Sometimes They Are Just a Long Time in the Making!

Several years ago, we noticed an increase in the demand for pre-finished wood flooring.  So, we set out to find someone who was considered the best of the best in the industry to work with us.  It took three years before Dan Petersen appeared at our door after being introduced to us by a colleague. Dan is one of the best pre-finished wood experts in the business, as evidenced by the specially formulated finishes he has developed specifically for Goodwin.  Dan is talented and can provide the hardest finish on the market, produce any custom color unique to you and incorporate textures that look great on reclaimed wood.  Not to mention he is one of the smartest and nicest people you will ever meet! Dan operates Heritage Wood Finish Company here at Goodwin.

Finding Dan was only the first step.  Next, we needed a new building.  We drew up plans and applied to the County Growth Management office for a building permit for a factory finish facility. The County initially denied our request.  Today – after three more years of engineering, environmental and legal studies – we are very close to finally having our building.

As you can see, the turtles in our log pond are just as anxious as we are for it to be complete!

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Goodwin is one of the most fortunate companies, as we have been doing what we love for over 40 years. George Goodwin started pulling and sawing River-Recovered® logs in the mid-seventies and today he is still the company sawyer. He could hardly be happier!

Thank you, George, for an incredible 40 years. Here’s to our wildest successes yet to come!

The Goodwin Difference… Together, We Are as Strong as Our Wood!

  • Original River-Recovered® heart pine and heart cypress specialists
  • First reclaimed engineered floor “Made in the USA” right here at our mill
  • Environmentally, kid and pet friendly factory finishes, custom color and textures
  • Oldest family-owned and operated reclaimed wood company in the United States
  • River-Recovered and reclaimed flooring, paneling, siding, stair parts, moldings and lumber, solid/engineered, finished / unfinished

Please enjoy these photos of our new building – we are almost there!

Sinker Cypress – The Gentle Giants of the South Part Three

Virgin (old growth) bald cypress and modern (new) growth bald cypress are the same species.  However, there are many differences between them.  Two of the most striking differences include:

  1. Old growth sinker cypress is highly dense, as it had more than 2000-3000 years to grow. The growth rings very close together, making it a much more beautiful and durable material. New growth bald cypress is harvested after about 40 – 50 years.
  2. Old growth sinker cypress builds up a full heart of cypresene oil, making it resistant to rot. New growth bald cypress, on the other hand, most definitely will rot in an exterior application.

Goodwin’s sinker cypress is specified in many outdoor projects specifically for its rot resistance.  Although virgin growth and modern growth bald cypress are the same species, they have entirely different properties.

Enjoy part three of Sinker Cypress – The Gentle Giants of the South:

Sinker Cypress – The Gentle Giants of the South Part Two

After the Civil War and during reconstruction, things were chaotic in the south.  There was an abundance of cheap land, much of which was bought up by northern lumber and timber interest who needed a new source. The easiest way to access the longleaf pines near rivers was to cut through the bald cypress and create a road that led to them. Loggers then went to great lengths to girdle the trees in hopes of decreasing their weight in preparation to float them down river to sawmills. They would also use man-made auger holes to place a pole between one tree which had been girdled and one which had not to float them down the river. Sometimes this technique would work. However, when this strategy failed, trees would sink to the bottom and be lost.  These are the trees we recover and transform into our beautiful antique heart pine and heart cypress wood flooring, paneling and ceilings.

As you can see, there is much, much more to sinker cypress than meets the eye.  Enjoy part two of Sinker Cypress – The Gentle Giants of the South:

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.