How a Summer of Fishing Led to a Life of River Logs?

Homeowners - Wood Flooring 10

I was fishing the Suwannee River a lot in the Summer of 1976 and kept seeing deadhead logs. The term came about because the small end of the log floats like a head bobbing in the water. My antique business was in Micanopy and a friend (Jerry Moore) helping me source the antiques told me he could bring up some of the logs if I wanted him to.

We took the logs to an old sawmill nearby and from the moment I first saw the life and light in the ancient wood I knew people would want to have some of it. So, instead of fishing we spent our spare time pulling logs and having the wood sawn into beautiful, durable, and historic lumber. Then came the sawmill to saw it ourselves.

About the only time you cannot dive to find the old logs is when the rivers are in flood stage. The water is a little warmer in the Summer, so every July Jerry and I made a pilgrimage to a different river area that we thought likely to have the ancient sunken logs.

The local libraries and archives are a good way to research old sawmill locations. Logs were often stored in the water next to the sawmill and the densest and best often sank. Or, we might find a bend in the river where an entire raft had sunk. The rafts were generally 15 or so logs across and a couple of logs for cross members. There might be 20 or so such raft sections connected with chains or ropes.

We learned the best ways to search the river bottom with a grid. And we inevitably would find a lot of ‘second growth’ logs that were downed from storms or floods. Second growth aren’t worth pulling up as the wood is neither dense nor durable. Plus, it is commercially available, whereas the ancient logs are rare and valuable.

We searched river beds in NC, SC, GA and AL. I had a hand drawn map from 1881 of Florida’s forests, so of course we traveled all around Northern Central Florida and the Florida Panhandle. What we ultimately learned after years of this research is that the spring fed Florida rivers held the most and the best ancient logs. The best heart cypress comes from the Panhandle and the best heart pine from the Suwannee, Withlacoochee, and St John’s rivers. The St. John’s also has a lot of heart cypress waiting to be discovered.

– George Goodwin

River Logging on Withlacoochee River

George Goodwin Story

The History of Florida’s Deadhead Logging Permit

Deadhead Logging

What exactly is deadhead logging? Deadhead logging is the removal of tree logs preserved underwater that were previously cut down during Florida’s logging boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Back in the day, the idea was to cut virgin logs in hopes they would float down rivers, eventually arriving at sawmills for processing. Our very own George Goodwin started his method of extracting river logs from the Suwannee River in the mid-1970s. Careful logging practices involve removing logs in an eco-friendly way, ensuring the surrounding environment and wildlife remain undisturbed.

Fun fact: Deadhead logs are named this way because the small end of the log floats around like a head out of the water!

Roughly ten years after George began pulling upriver logs, other loggers started following in his footsteps. Issues started to occur, like disrupting fishermen and interrupting people trying to enjoy the river. But perhaps the most prominent issue involving river loggers during this time period was the logs were not extracted from the river sustainably. The need for some sort of protocol designed to protect the environment became apparent quickly.

George began his journey meeting with politicians and suggested ways the State of Florida could regulate river log recovery in an environmentally sound manner. George requested meetings with the Department of Submerged Lands and the Department of Environmental Protection, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, and other organizations. Goodwin offered to demonstrate the correct way to recover these logs, which took place on the Suwannee, Apalachicola, and the Choctawhatchee Rivers. George showed the observing loggers and state officials how to tie off both ends of the log so it did not drag on the river bottom. Goodwin explained how there were many logs on the river bottom; however, most were second growth downed by storms and not worth recovering. Next, demonstrations were performed that taught how to tell log differences by examining the density of the growth rings on the end of the logs. Last but not least, we helped organize the curriculum for a Master Log Recovery Class that is required to pass for loggers in the state of Florida.

By the mid-1990s, Goodwin succeeded in helping create an environmental permit program proposal to present to the Florida legislature. Part of the permit required providing an archeological survey of the area of the river to be logged to prove that ancient sites and endangered species were not disrupted. Former Governor Lawton Chiles signed the permit into law in 1998. Goodwin Company also succeeded in owning the Federally Registered Trademark for the term ‘River Recovered®’, pioneered by our very own George Goodwin!

Recovering Lost Treasure! 

https://floridadep.gov/water/submerged-lands-environmental-resources-coordination/content/deadhead-logging

Say Hello To Scenic Ceilings!

Ryland Wagner’s Curly Heart Pine Ceiling 1

You’ve probably seen featured photos before of ceilings designed with Goodwin wood!  But have you seen a ceiling made up of our stunning River-Recovered® Curly Heart Pine?

Take a look at this foyer ceiling appointed with Goodwin’s curly heart pine by our friend, Ryland Wagner, of Joyner Construction!  Ryland is restoring and remodeling his mid-century modern home in Gainesville, Florida.  This project required 60 whole square feet of our 3 ¼ curly heart pine.  An accent ceiling is an excellent way to draw the eye upwards and to dress an area with an outside-of-the-box approach.  Here are a few pictures of the ceiling in progress:

Ryland has lived in this house since 2002 and started the remodeling process back in December. The house was built in 1969 by the University of Florida Architecture. Dan Branch was the architect believed to have built the house. Decades ago, the architecture classes at the University of Florida would map out and design a house the first semester of class. In the following semester, the class would actually build the house! This eventually stopped when the City Building Department took greater control of inspections in the 1970’s. Ryland says his goals in the remodeling of his home were “to match the design intent of Dan Branch and his class”. The project is expected to be completed in June 2021, with more pictures of the finished product to come!

Our River-Recovered® Curly Heart Pine is extremely rare!  In fact, it is SO rare it’s only found in just the outer boards of 400 – 500 logs that we mill.  The grain is curly and burled, with luminous vibrant colors and a variety of tones.  We mill this wood much slower than traditional antique heart pine to guarantee that the burled grain remains intact. Curly heart pine is the perfect wood to use as an accent, and its pattern often looks three-dimensional, holographic, and even topographic at times.  It is truly a unique, desirable type of wood!

Ryland-Wagner’s-Curly-Heart-Pine-Ceiling-3-Web

Ryland Wagner’s Curly Heart Pine Ceiling 2

Working with Joyner Construction Partners

Ryland is a project manager at Joyner Construction Partners, LLC. Where he works alongside his father, Richard.  Goodwin has also partnered with Joyner Construction for previous projects, including:

The 1926 Firestone Building in Gainesville, FL

The restoration of The Matheson History Museum Library & Archives in Gainesville, FL

Local Provisions restaurant in Gainesville, FL

You can click the links to see the photos and videos of the projects we collaborated with Joyner Construction to create!

Dressed Up Decks

Temperatures rise, the air gets thicker and the days grow longer – summer is upon us! As the seasons change and the atmosphere becomes more inviting, we start looking for ways to spruce up our common areas. Whether you plan on having guests over or it’s just for your satisfaction, it’s always exciting to get creative and revamp our areas!

Take a look at how one homeowner chose to design the deck that surrounds his outside koi pond! Goodwin’s own Jeffrey Forbes assisted with selecting twelve of our River Recovered® Heart Cypress slabs for the project. Our cypress wood makes up either side of the deck and its associated skirting.

Goodwin Company River Recovered® Heart Cypress slabs for deck.

Goodwin Company River Recovered® Heart Cypress slabs used for deck.

Why choose cypress wood for exterior application? River Recovered® Heart Cypress certainly is an excellent wood to be used outdoors! Throughout the span of hundreds of years, an organic oil forms in the heart of the wood called cypresene. The build-up of cypresene oil makes the wood incredibly rot resistant.  An exterior grade Danish oil was used for finishing, bringing out the superior grain of the wood. Applying the finishing oil quarterly will help maintain the deck’s striking appearance and provide longevity.

But this particular homeowner did not stop with the beautiful renovations of the outside! Two of our hand hewn River Recovered® Heart Pine beams are displayed in a bedroom, and are perfect for breaking up the rather large area. These beams were harvested over a century ago, from trees between 200-500 years old! The non-structural columns add even more character to the already creative room. We would love to see how you have dressed up your deck. Especially if you have used Heart Cypress!

Take a closer look at sinker cypress wood!

Other great ideas to spruce up your deck this summer!

Careful Craftsmanship Makes the Difference!

We often talk about how Goodwin’s wood meets or exceeds the highest industry grading standards.  This is important, especially when it comes to antique wood such as River-Recovered® and reclaimed heart cypress and heart pine.  However, another crucial component of delivering the highest quality antique wood on the market is craftsmanship.

The antique wood specialists at Goodwin take time and care to ensure each board is produced to the exact specification. Our process may take longer, but we do not believe in producing our products in bulk.  When you purchase a Goodwin, you have the comfort of knowing that each and every board was handcrafted to perfection!

Our antique wood specialists can help you design the space of your dreams.  Give us a call to learn more today.

A Closer Look at Sinker Cypress

Paula and Randy from Florida Crotchwood Mobile Sawmill drop by on occasion to saw River-Recovered® heart cypress logs into beautiful slabs that can be handcrafted into gorgeous mantles, tables, shelves, signage, accents and anything else you can imagine.

This video shows our own Joe Collins skillfully crafting a fireplace mantle out of a River-Recovered heart cypress slab.  Take a look:

Often referred to as, “The Wood Eternal”, antique heart cypress (a.k.a. sinker cypress) is one of the few remaining prehistoric species.  Coloring can vary, displaying anything from warm honey to light chocolate tones. Traditional grades (Select, Vertical) can feature a plain sawn feathery, subtle arching swirling grain and, in some cases, vertical pinstripes. Midnight, Pecky, and Character heart cypress each have their own distinguishing characteristics for a more unique look.

Looking to incorporate heart cypress into your upcoming design project? If so, the antique wood specialists at Goodwin can help you determine which grade of heart cypress best suits your upcoming project. Give us a call to learn more today!

Properly Kiln Drying Antique Wood

Rare, antique wood must be handled with great care.  One reason why Goodwin is considered the industry gold standard is our meticulous kiln drying process. There are many reasons for properly kiln drying the wood to a consistent moisture content, including eliminating and preventing mold and bugs. Our founder and company sawyer, George Goodwin, ensures each board is properly kiln dried and precisely milled to the highest standards.  Let’s take a look at our signature kiln drying process.

Prepping the Wood

We examine each River-Recovered® log and reclaimed board or beam to ensure we are preserving the best and most beautiful sections of the wood. Our company sawyer, George Goodwin, carefully saws the wood.  The ends of the boards are then sealed with a wax-based product to prevent cracking and checking.

Air Dry

The sawn wood then needs time to properly air dry. It takes a few weeks for River-Recovered heart pine to achieve its ideal moisture content. River-Recovered heart cypress can take several months due to a higher fiber saturation point.

Pre Dry

After air drying, the wood is then sent to Goodwin’s ‘pre-dryer’, which is comprised of 16 fans (4’ across each) that blow air across the boards in stacks. We allow 1” between each layer to ensure the air circulates around each board.

Dehumidification Dry Kiln

Antique heart pine and heart cypress is very dense. Kiln drying fast with steam causes cracking and checking. Goodwin has invested in a dehumidification dry kiln that dries the wood slowly over the course of several weeks to ensure the ideal moisture content is achieved without affecting its quality.

Monitor Moisture Content

The moisture content of the wood is monitored several times a day. We slowly increase the temperature until 140 degrees is consistently achieved across the entire load. Once the wood comes out of the kiln, we let it relax for a few days before milling it into our signature River-Recovered and reclaimed heart pine and heart cypress.

The following video shows pallets of River-Recovered and reclaimed wood being placed into our dehumidification dry kiln.  Enjoy!

Sinker Cypress, It Never Gets Old

Sinker cypress logs are beautiful and have such a charming mystery about them that seeing these antique River-Recovered® gentle giants never gets old!  Founder, owner and company sawyer, George Goodwin, has worked with sinker cypress for more than four decades.  George is an excellent storyteller and always enjoys educating people about antique wood.

In this video, George shows us several recently recovered sinker cypress logs that are being prepped for milling.  The first log dates back prior to the 1880s.  We know this because of its ax cut ends.  Axes were used to cut wood prior to the 1880s.  After 1880, most logs were cross cut.

George shows us another interesting log that still has part of the wooden pegs that were used to secure it to the raft as it traveled down the Altamaha River in Southeast Georgia.

These logs are naturally bug and rot resistant, making them perfect for exterior siding. They will soon be transformed into Goodwin’s gorgeous River-Recovered Heart Cypress where they will see a second life as beautiful paneling or siding for a home or commercial space.

Want to learn more about how to incorporate Heart Cypress into you living or work space?  If so, give our antique wood experts a call today!

Calling All Woodworkers and Craftsmen!

gorgeous sinker cypress log end rounds

We have 300 gorgeous sinker cypress log end rounds available and ready to ship.  We need space in our warehouse and they are priced to move.  This would be an excellent opportunity to take on a beautiful new project!

  • Each piece is approx. 4/4 thick and varies from 11” to 18” diameter.
  • Normally priced at $21.40/SF, we are offering this raw material for $10.70/sf.

Take a look at one of the recent projects which used our beautiful sinker cypress:

Cypress Log End Round Bartop

When estimating for your cut list, please use the following calculation:

  • 11” = 0.66/sf
  • 15” = 1.22/sf
  • 18” = 1.77/sf

We expect these to sell fast, so give call us today!

Sign, Sealed, Delivered!

Take a look at this sign at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo in Gainesville, Florida. It was crafted by Signs By Tomorrow using five of Goodwin Company’s 1×8 (+/-) sinker cypress boards at 14ft long with one live edge.

Unlike new growth bald cypress, old growth sinker cypress builds up a full heart of cypresene oil, making it resistant to rot. Goodwin’s sinker cypress is specified in many outdoor projects specifically for its rot resistance.

Here are a few more qualities that make Goodwin a staple in sustainable design.

Eco-Friendly

Goodwin has always been passionate about being a good steward of the environment. We know from experience that you can produce an eco-friendly product without compromising on quality. You don’t have to use harsh chemicals, damaging additives, or participate in questionable practices to achieve superior craftsmanship.

Environmentally Conscious

Goodwin partners with environmental foresters who call on us when storms cause damage to trees. We remove the threatened and/or damaged trees to ensure continued growth of the ecosystem. Goodwin then mills them into our beautiful antique wood products.

Have an outdoor project that requires beautiful, rot-resistant wood? If so, give our antique wood experts a call today!

Antique Wood Design – We Do That, Too!

Although many of our clients are building design professionals, every so often a homeowner comes to us seeking our antique wood design expertise. Take a look at these photos of a 20 ft. tall ceiling we designed for a home in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The owners desired to incorporate a traditional look to what was a really high, float away, white ceiling. We designed a gorgeous antique wood ceiling crafted from Goodwin’s River-Recovered® Heart Cypress Select. The 717 sf coffered sinker cypress ceiling – 9” wide tongue and groove installed on a 45 degree angle – was designed to add warmth and visual interest. The larger wrapped beams running east to west are 14″ deep and 8″ wide. The smaller wrapped beams running north to south are 10″ deep and 6″ wide. All of the sinker cypress was finished on site with oil.

Antique Wood Design

Wrapped Beam Layout

Antique Wood Design – We Do That, Too!

Wrapped Beam Detail

Would you like to incorporate antique wood into your home or office? If so, give our design experts a call today. We can create the look of your dreams!

Sinker Cypress Here, There, and Everywhere!

We often have building design professionals and individual homeowners contact us desiring to incorporate heart cypress into their homes and/or offices.  You may recall us featuring a sinker cypress ceiling project that involved replacing “pesky popcorn” with “pecky cypress”. https://heartpine.com/getting-rid-pesky-popcorn/

The same valued client is preparing to add a 400 square foot Florida room onto their home in Ponte Vedra, Florida.  They loved their heart cypress ceilings and will be using same pecky sinker cypress in the new Florida room.

In fact, they are so fond of sinker cypress they have incorporated it into many areas of their home.  Take a look at these photos they sent which showcase some of the many uses of this beloved and versatile antique wood:

Sinker Cypress Fireplace Mantle

Sinker Cypress Slab Kitchen

Sinker Cypress Column

Sinker Cypress Ceiling

Are you looking to add depth and warmth to your home or office?  If so, give us a call to schedule your personal sinker cypress consultation.

Dreaming of Sinker Cypress?

Take a look at this absolutely beautiful sinker cypress headboard and foot board.  It was handcrafted by our good friend and partner Dan Petersen of Heritage Wood Finish Company.  Dan used Goodwin’s River-Recovered® Heart Cypress (a.k.a. sinker cypress), specifically selecting the slab for its gorgeous coloring and stunning grain.  This handcrafted beauty is finished using WOCA oil and is another example of the versatility of sinker cypress.

Sweet dreams!

River-Recovered Heart Cypress Leaves an Impression in Beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina Home

Once home to massive, thousand-year-old bald cypress trees, Beaufort, South Carolina is known for its history and charm.  People from around the country are choosing to re-locate to Beaufort, and once you see this gorgeous home, you will understand why.

Allan Howell of Howell Builders is the general contractor for a contemporary residence in the area.  Goodwin milled 2500sf of 1×6 (5-1/4″) River-Recovered Heart Cypress for interior and exterior ceilings. The historic darker cypress which is synonymous with the area and contemporary white timber trusses perfectly complement each other.

“The River-Recovered Heart Cypress from Goodwin is the best cypress I have ever used,” says Allan Howell, president of Howell Builders.  “It was unbelievable. There was hardly any waste. All the material was great. We saved the laundry room for last in case there was some cull; however, it was as good as the first day we started installing.”

Take a look:  http://howellbuildersllc.com/in-progress/

The Many Faces of Sinker Cypress

Sinker cypress is a gorgeous, versatile antique wood that can be custom crafted into paneling, ceilings, walls, shelves, fireplace mantles, bar tops, tables, desk tops and just about anything else you can imagine. The density of the grain and the massive size of the slabs makes sinker cypress the perfect wood for any unique, eye-catching project.

Take a look at this beautiful sinker cypress table we handcrafted for a client. It’s about two inches thick and 18″ wide and features one live edge and one real ax cut end.

Notice how well the table complements the clients’ solid antique longleaf flooring, which was also crafted by Goodwin.

Additional project details:

  • The faux cut end was crafted by our own Joe Collins.
  • The cast iron legs are from an antique sewing table that once belonged to the client’s grandmother.
  • Rod Hunt of Cedar Key, Florida dressed the table out using a 400-grit sandpaper and Danish Penetrating oil.

Interested in adding warmth or depth to a residential or corporate space? Contact us today and we will further demonstrate how sinker cypress can be incorporated into your home or office.

Curly Heart Pine

As Rare as It is Beautiful

Curly heart pine is a burled grain found in some longleaf heart pine trees. Curly is typically identified in only one log out of several hundred that are retrieved from River-Recovered® material, making it a very rare and unique treasure. The curly or burled grain occurs most prominently at the interface of the heart and sap wood.  Often times, a milled curly board will have a red (heart) face and a yellow (sapwood) face.

Curly heart pine is a genetic anomaly and inherited trait within particular longleaf communities.  A longleaf tree that contains curly heart pine is often described as being unmistakably “bumpy.”  They tend to grow in groups, so if you find one, you will likely discover other trees in the immediate vicinity that are also curly.

Curly heart pine is most often used as an accent and is distinguished by grain that appears holographic and three-dimensional.  The grain can also be described as seeming topographic in nature.  Let’s take a closer look at this gorgeous wood:


A Rare Beauty – Notice the Prominent Bumps Synonymous with Curly Heart Pine Logs


Curly Heart Pine Slab Fresh Off of Production


Holographic and Three-Dimensional Appearing Grain

Curly Heart Pine Used for a Cabinet – Richard Geary


Curly Heart Pine is Popular for Paneling, Walls and Ceilings


Curly Heart Pine Speaker

Notice the Distinctive Grain in This Piece of Curly Heart Pine Which Has Been Crafted Into a Bar Top

Want to add character to your home or office?  Give Goodwin a call today – we can help you incorporate this rare beauty into any living or corporate space.

Heart Cypress Feature Wall

Heart Cypress Feature Wall

Adds Beauty and “Grace” to Non-Profit Reception Area

Grace Place, a non-profit organization in Naples, Florida that helps children and families, now has a gorgeous River-Recovered® Heart Cypress feature wall in their reception area to recognize their generous donors.  The wood feature wall was crafted using 120 sq.ft of River-Recovered Heart Cypress Select and Vertical with trim.  Dan Petersen of Heritage Wood Finish Company coated it with his signature UV Diamond 7, a proprietary finish he formulated specifically for Goodwin.

Goodwin partnered with David Corban Architects, who were referred to us by our good friend Tenna Florian from Lake/Flato Architects. This is one of the most creative uses of a wood feature wall we have seen.  What a unique and beautiful way for a non-profit organization to recognize and demonstrate how much they value their donors!

Heart Cypress – Perfect for Patios, Too!

We met our friend Jason Owen of Trimark Properties when we worked with them on the NIMBUS building feature wall earlier in the year.  Jason recently installed a River-Recovered® Heart Cypress Character ceiling on the porch of a client’s Gainesville, Florida home.  It was pre-finished with a two pass UV oil.  Check out these initial photos we’ve just received:

This gorgeous River-Recovered Heart Cypress Character was sourced from bald cypress forests logged 100-200 years ago. Bald cypress (taxodium distichum) can grow to be 2000 years old.

River-Recovered Heart Cypress Character is becoming more and more popular for its unique features, which include:

  • Rot resistant, making it ideal for outdoor applications
  • 95-100% heart, 100% dense growth
  • Blend of arching and vertical grain with some machine defects, face checks, cracks, peck and bug holes to add “character”
  • Knots of any size
  • Warm honey to cinnamon tan to light chocolate color tones
  • Swirling grain and feathery patterns

Looking to add a heart cypress feature wall or heart cypress ceiling inside your home or on your porch?  Give us a call, we’re here to help!

Antique Heart Cypress Adds “Character” to Contemporary Office Space

Goodwin Company was proud to supply our River-Recovered® Heart Cypress Character for a reception desk, kitchen and a number of gorgeous feature walls in the ultra-modern office space for Visit Tampa Bay. Located in one of the beautiful skyscrapers that adorn the Tampa, Florida skyline, Visit Tampa Bay is a premier promoter of “the hip, urban heart of the Gulf Coast of Florida.”

Goodwin’s River-Recovered Heart Cypress Character adorns the walls and various areas throughout the office space and is also featured in the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center. The heart cypress paneling gives a nod to the 2000-year-old bald cypress trees that historically lined all of the bayous and sloughs around the bay.  An added touch is the cigar boxes that are embedded in the various walls denoting Tampa’s (and Ybor City’s) rich history as the cigar capital of the world.

Check out these stunning photos by Native House Photography:

Goodwin produced 1600sf of 5-1/4″ River-Recovered Heart Cypress Character for this project.  The wood was prefinished with oil by Heritage Wood Finish Company and installed by AWS Carpenter/ Contractors of Clearwater, Florida.

If you are in the Tampa area, be sure to stop by the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center.  They have some great gifts and mementos of Tampa.  The wonderful staff are also available to direct you to points of interest and help plan your stay. Oh, and while there, be sure to check out the heart cypress feature wall and let us know what you think!

Sinker Cypress – Antique Wood Treasures

Goodwin works with sinker cypress that is at least 800 years old. The large diameter logs yield heart cypress slabs that are of great width. Both the size of the slabs and density of its grain makes heart cypress desirable for projects such as walls, ceilings, table tops, shelves, mantles, or bar tops.

Antique wood feature walls are trending in both traditional  and contemporary design. The accompanying video features two pieces of heart cypress that will ultimately frame a wall of Shou Sugi Ban art (a Japanese style of wood burning.) Since the slabs will each run flush with a wall, the best edge of the slab was selected and the other was sawn.

Check out this short video featuring sinker cypress slabs: