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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!