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!


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!

Using Antique Wood to Warm Up a Contemporary Space

When it comes to warming up an contemporary interior with antique wood, Chris Webb of CW Interiors, Inc. is a master! Chris sourced our Legacy® building reclaimed heart pine and sinker cypress for this residential remodel just last year. What do you think about these beautiful tongue and groove Legacy® building reclaimed heart pine walls?


These were handcrafted for a homeowner in Tampa, Florida. Incorporating antique wood in contemporary design is most definitely trending, especially among millennials who value both the uniqueness and sustainability of reclaimed wood.

Chris also built in a stunning heart cypress credenza to complement the room. Here is a closer look:


The Legacy building reclaimed heart pine shelves really complete the space.


When using reclaimed woods, the design possibilities are limitless. We find many clients really love the look and feel of sinker cypress. And, since antique heart cypress is rot-resistant, it is perfect for outdoor applications, including siding and ceilings.

Are you ready for a change? If so, give us a call. Whether your space is modern or traditional, antique heart cypress and heartpine offers a beautiful and desirable upgrade to any room in your home or office.

Photos by Native House Photography

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.

A Tree Named George

By Jack Culpepper, USDA Forester

MrSearsinHPWoodsAs part of the 2010 Longleaf Alliance Conference, I had the pleasure of visiting the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in McBee, SC on a beautiful October day.  When I arrived, I heard the buzz of a sawmill across the forest basin.  What an unusual sound I thought for one of America’s National Wildlife Refuges … a place where conservation is mission, yet as I would come to understand, America’s business of conserving and restoring the grand longleaf fire-forests of the south include what at first appear as opposing ideals. As I viewed a forest-harvest operation and all its equipment, and listened to the sound of the sawmill, I wondered how could we be conserving this ecosystem while cutting and sawing trees?

With the sawmill buzzing in the background, a tall cleanly-dressed forester caught my attention as he explained that the huge modern-day equipment that stretched out before us was being used to selectively harvest the less vigorous and diseased trees from a 45-year old longleaf pine stand, and that these actions promoted natural conditions that exist within mature longleaf forests; furthermore, he noted that the proceeds from this timber would be used to acquire land that would become a permanent addition to the refuge, and thereby be permanently conserved for future generation of Americans.  It sounded too good to be true to be trading weakened and diseased timber for permanent conservation, but the continued growth of these forests provide exactly that … and more as I would soon learn.

I listened as the forester carefully explained how these selective thinnings manage the amount of sunlight that reaches the forest floor and thereby reestablish a varied herbaceous layer. The resultant grasses and forbs then join forces with the flammable needles and cones of the longleaf pine, and together perpetuate the fires that are the lifeblood of this ecosystem which maintain a broad diversity of life across the landscape. It was all very interesting, but my mind continued to be drawn to the buzz of the sawmill.

I would soon learn that the subject of this buzz was a large longleaf pine that I shall call George. George was 322 years old, yet even at this age, might have lived hundreds more. The gentle giant had fallen in the year of 2010 due to activities that had begun in the early 1900’s when George had been tapped for turpentine, a process that included the establishment of a box-cut at George’s base; this box-cut would fill with the plentiful resins that flowed in George’s cambium layers and be collected and used in a growing naval-stores industry of the south.

George was at that time mature and capable of providing copious amounts of resins, yet his days had begun much earlier in 1688, when the gales of November blew George, then only a winged-seed, free of his parent tree. George landed some distance away on a barren patch of sand among the wiregrass. As nutritious as he was; the turkey, deer, quail, squirrels and many other forest dwellers passed him by somehow. Soaked from the gale’s rains, George quickly began the process of absorbing that moisture and breaking free of his protective jacket. Before the ground moisture could dry, George had tapped out of his seed coat and used his nutritious packed lunch to begin the rooting process that would anchor him for more than three centuries

During those centuries, George would serve the forest inhabitants in a variety of ways including the Native American people that lived among the forest inhabitants.  All depended upon plants and animals with which George had arranged an agreeable and lasting relation with fire. With all being calm for centuries, the nature of his service to neighbors would change abruptly with the coming of a new people as the forests began to fill with men, mules and wagons needed to supply a growing lumber and naval stores industry. Because George was not as tall and straight as some of his neighbors, he was spared the saw, and instead of contributing timber would share his plentiful and wonderful resins which these newcomers eagerly sought.  For years he yielded the terpenes, but the process left George deeply scarred, and in a fire forest, this condition was a dangerous thing.

It had all begun in 1912, when a young man cut through George’s cambium layers and excised a box-cut from which George would faithfully supply his resins; he gave plentifully to the cause for years, then as suddenly as it had begun, it ended, and George was left to enjoy the quietness of a newly formed wildlife refuge in 1939 established during the Roosevelt administration. America’s first National Wildlife Refuge had been established under a different U.S. President of the same sir-name, when then Theodore Roosevelt began the process of conserving these rare and unusual places. Likewise FDR, continued the process of conserving lands for future generations of Americans.

These actions gave reprieve for George whose scars would begin to temporarily heal, and he would continue to grow ever broader and more dominant in the landscape. Yet as George well knew, fire was a natural and repeated occurrence driven by the summer storms where the deep-rooted longleaf pine would court the lightning and begin frequent fires that perpetuated the species and ecosystem in which it thrived.  And as comfortable as he had been for centuries, George‘s scars left him susceptible to damage from the flames that he could have otherwise repelled easily.

Despite the close calls over the years that followed, George was able to withstand the low-intensity flames generated by the grasses and herbs that surrounded and protected him from fires of greater intensity. Until 2010 his fortune ran, and on March 15 of that year, the day came when the wind direction would drive the forest’s flames in a manner that would finally penetrate George’s scars sufficiently to end his life.

The giant that had stood for centuries now fell powerfully to the ground where he lay prostrate, yet his immensity would not soon vanish, and his days of service were not over. Many of the woodland creatures would continue to find food and haven among the mass of wood and bark now available to them as the least of these, the bacteria, fungi and insects, began the processes that would recycle George into the wild things that he had always sheltered, and of which he was a part … all connected as different forms of the same life force.

In death, whether George stood or fell, many forest denizens would benefit for years to come; his physical majesty diminished from some perspectives, yet enhanced from others as varied creatures found food and shelter. And in October 2010, the refuge’s local forester would consider these values before deciding that George may yet have another way to share. The forester decided that a part would remain for the woodland creatures, and that George‘s major timber would be removed and sawn as a demonstration for the refuge‘s visitors.

For decades a local family had assisted the efforts of conservation at the Carolina Sandhills NWR by extracting salvage timber as called upon by the refuge. In 2010, that responsibility fell to a man named Roosevelt Segars, a third generation logger whose father before him had also assisted conservation efforts at the Carolina Sandhills NWR. George’s bulk would strain Roosevelt’s equipment, but the sawing and delivery were nonetheless made available to the waiting sawmill. And as George first rode the truck, then the rails of the sawmill that day, he thought it was all over … what further good could come of him he wondered? It seemed his final day had come and all was ended. He had witnessed this sawing spectacle many times in the forest as his relatives and neighbors had one by one been removed, but he never understood why, and stood in silence as he watched them being carried far away.  But as George listened to the sawyer that day, he began to see his death in a new light and to understand that in death there was the potential to continue to provide for others; to continue to share of himself as he had throughout his life, always giving, yet now in a different way.

And as a visitor to the refuge, I listened to the sawyer as he discussed the potential for George. Like George, I now understood, George was not ending, but beginning a new journey that would take him to a college in Charleston, SC where he would be used to teach skilled wood crafts, and even more wonderful, he had the distinct chance of supplying support posts for an orphanage project the college was conducting. What bliss George felt as he realized that life and service doesn’t end, it only changes.

He would once and for all return his resources to this old town of the south; to Charleston where he had given so much in his younger years … and now  he would begin yet another journey in hopes of a new and wonderful beginning of service to others where he would again be the support for so many and stand firm within that orphanage as the life of our youth danced and laughed about him.

George was home again, and he smiled.


Restoring a Biscayne Park Beauty

Goodwin was proud to be part of another historic renovation.  This time, we provided our River-Recovered® Heart Pine CHARACTER to help restore a 1900s log cabin which once served as the village of Biscayne Park’s “meeting spot”. According to an article in the Miami Herald“The log cabin was built in 1933 as a way to give laborers some work during the Depression.  It cost $247 and used about 140 feet of lumber, according to state records.”

The cabin was expanded through the years to house police and village employees.  However, when it was designated a historic site by the Miami-Dade County Preservation Board, officials pursued constructing a new village hall so they could return the log cabin back to its original state.

And, that is where Goodwin’s reclaimed wood came into play.  An antique cabin needs an antique reclaimed wood floor, so when we got the call for 1100 sq. ft., we were happy to oblige!  The restored cabin – which now serves as the village commission chambers – officially re-opened last month. Richard Heisenbottle was the restoration architect and McKenzie Construction was the contractor.

Read the recent article in the Miami Herald