Our Reclaimed Wood Expert in Ohio

Jered, our reclaimed wood expert, has been on the train and in the car visiting Ohio on his most recent trip. He also had a live trip advisor/helper as one of his sons joined him on this adventure. By Day 3, Jered had promoted him from personal assistant to traveling tech support. Both enjoyed good eats and lots of reclaimed wood.

Jered and Son    Jered and Son_Tech Support    Jered and Son_Day 2

On a quick stop in to a national retail store in Cincidrew furniture old logonnati, they checked out reclaimed oak flooring that was installed over 5 years ago. This was a special batch of Foundry Oak that we reclaimed from the Drew Furniture Factory in North Carolina. Original patina and paint are celebrated in this floor. As Jered says, “It still looks awesome!”Madewell_FoundryOakFloor_Cincinatti_OH_webMadewell_FoundryOak_Floor_Cincinatti_OH_web

Red “Shadow” Pine Salvaged From Historic Tile Manufactory

     AETCO plant demo_web     

In 1892, the American Encaustic Tiling Company (AETCO) built an expansive tile manufactory on the banks of the Muskingum River in Zanesville, Ohio. Red Pine was a significant component in its construction, as it was for many buildings during the Industrial Revolution. The structure stood for 124 years until it had outlived its usefulness and was demolished in 2015. Pioneer Millworks was able to acquire a load of Red Pine from the industrial salvage, totaling around 13,000 board feet.

When demolition of the Zanesville plant began, the original ‘American Encaustic Tile’ facades were unearthed, a reminder of one of the world’s pioneers in the tile industry. Originally founded in New York City in 1875, AETCO quickly grew and expanded operations to Zanesville. A massive producer of floor tiles, wall tiles, and accent tiles of all sizes, patterns, and colors, the Zanesville operation was considered the largest and most distinguished tile manufactory in the world at the turn of the 20th century, employing at least 1,000 people and cranking out unique ceramic tiles for homes and businesses across the nation.

AETCO bldg revealed_web

The unique features of this reclaimed Red Pine are the original paint and wear marks as well as a striped appearance created from the ceiling joists running across the underside of the floor, which left a  “shadow” when removed after a century in place. This Red Shadow Pine is celebrated for its unique character and history.

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It is always a privilege to rescue antique wood from rot or landfills. Our reclaimed Red Shadow Pine from the AETCO plant has tones of red and yellow, with streaks of resin, numerous knots and holes, as well as minor surface cracks. The joist shadows on each plank create a striking pattern and a reminder of the wood’s former life. Some of the timbers were milled into paneling in our Farmington, New York shop for a major retailer’s project. The white paint was removed and the boards were finished with a matte Polyurethane.

About Red Pine:

During the later years of the industrial revolution, builders could not solely rely on the dwindling supply of Longleaf Yellow Pine from the Southern US. Other species of softwood timbers, such as White Pine, Red Pine, and coarse-grained species of Yellow Pine were also used based on geographic availability and lower cost. The Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa) is a native of the lake states and eastward throughout New England and southeastern Canada. It grows in a narrow zone around the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River and was widely used in heavy timber industrial structures within and around those regions.

  • Red Pine timber waPinus_resinosa_Itasca_webs nearly depleted during the logging heyday of the 1890’s.
  • Red Pine will normally reach a mature height of 75-100 feet.
  • The tree gets its name from its reddish-brown, scaly bark and red heartwood.
  • Red Pine has a distinct, resinous odor when being worked.
  • Red Pine is very resistant to disease and insects.
  • During the Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted millions of Red Pine plantations.
  • Most of the wooden telephone poles in Michigan and surrounding states are Red Pine.
  • Itasca State Park, Minnesota’s oldest state park, is the best place to see some of the oldest Red Pines as the park features about 5,000 acres of them.

 

Fire & Ice: Fate of Iconic Chicago Warehouse

Photo by Reuters/John Gress

Photo by Reuters/John Gress

When fire consumed a massive historic warehouse in Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) in 2013, flaring up repeatedly for a week while the city endured freezing temperatures, it was considered a total loss, but a large amount of the structural timbers survived the fire and ice. After demolition we procured 19,000 BF of Southern longleaf pine (also known as Heart Pine*) that originally came from old growth pine forests harvested more than a century ago.

In the early 1900s mature longleaf pine reached over 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

In the early 1900s mature longleaf pine reached over 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Heart Pine played a significant role in the construction of the world’s first industrial park, the Central Manufacturing District (CMD), a 265 acre campus in south Chicago. Development of the privately planned park began in 1905 and eventually it housed several big name companies such as Spiegel, Goodyear, Starck Piano Co., the William Wrigley Co., and Westinghouse.pullmanfactory

Among these memorable trademarks was the Pullman Couch Company, a five story warehouse designed by civil engineer and architect S. Scott Joy in 1911. You might remember the Davenport-bed? That was a Pullman product.

 

Pullman Couch Company remained at the CMD location through the 1950s and, while a few businesses came and went over the following four decades, the warehouse stood vacant for ten years until January of 2013 when it was annihilated by fire. It was reported to be the worst fire Chicago had seen in years, commanding over 200 firefighters to tame it. With temperatures around 10 degrees, the water spray from the fire hoses swathed everything in ice – vehicles, equipment, buildings, even the firefighters.

fire-ice-pullman_img-DavidSchalliol   fire-ice-trucks_img-Reuters:JohnGress   fire-ice-bldg_img-RobertGigliottifire-ice-waterblast_img-Reuters:JohnGressWhen demolition of the building’s scorched remains began, a frozen terra cotta insignia could be seen high up on the brick exterior of the building. fire-ice-PC-Insignia_imgLeeBeyIt was that of the Pullman Couch Company, one of the last identifiers of the 102-year-old structure that was once the powerhouse of Chicago’s industrial campus.

The timbers obtained from demolition of the Pullman Couch Company warehouse were branded with ‘Bogualusa.’ Bogalusa, Louisiana was the site of the world’s largest sawmill, run by The Great Southern Lumber Company from 1908 until 1938. The company employed more than 1,700 men at the mill plus another 1,000 men in logging camps to keep a continuous supply of logs coming in. They only harvested longleaf pine, initially processing lumber at the rate of 1,000,000 board feet per day. After 30 years the virgin longleaf pine forests in southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi were depleted and the mill ceased operation.

Bogalusabrand

The historic heart pine we acquired from the former Pullman Couch Company has been used in several projects as flooring and paneling. At the time of this writing, we are wrapping up another order of our character select heart pine, this one with a walnut finish. And so the old longleaf pine timbers live on, long after the fire and ice.

psvg_heart_pine_rocking   heartpinefloor   MOD Pizza Heart Pine Paneling Web

longleaf range

Historic range of longleaf pine covered 90 million acres of southeastern coastal plains.

*According to the USDA Forest Service, longleaf pine once covered about 90 million acres of the southeastern coastal plains of the United States. Because of its quality and strength, longleaf pine lumber was a principal resource for early settlers in building ships and railroads, though it was used for just about everything from industrial buildings to furniture. It takes 30 years for longleaf pine to grow an inch and about 200 years to become mostly heartwood. Heartwood hardness comes from its resin and longleaf pine has more resin than any other species of pine. Because of its high percentage of heartwood, longleaf pine came to be called heart pine.

longleaf cutover

Cut-over longleaf pine area in Louisiana, 1930

Most of the longleaf pines were gone by the 1920s, harvested to near extinction. Today, only 3% of the original longleaf landscape remains. Restoring these forests has now become a priority in conservation efforts, particularly because there are over 30 endangered and threatened species that rely on longleaf pine for habitat. And while we can rehabilitate longleaf pine ecosystems, we will not ever have the kind of centuries-old longleaf heart pine that now exists primarily in the structural timber of industrial America.

Check out this short film on Secrets of the Longleaf Pine.

Let’s check in with our Finishing Department

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In the past five years our finishing department has grown into a well trained, well equipped, team of detail oriented professionals. This can be credited in large part to our Finishing Team Leader Steve Pettrone, who with the support and encouragement of management has deftly guided this devoted crew. SteveWith years of flooring installation experience, a strong personal environmental ethos and an easy going swagger that inspires camaraderie, Steve is quite a rock star. In addition to streamlining and updating our processes, he has proudly steered our in-house finishing options away from Tung oils and 2 part polyurethanes to the Zero VOC hard-wax oil finishes that have become the industry standard in the world of reclaimed flooring.

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Steve’s newest addition to our product line is his Custom Grey, Custom White and Custom Black finishes on American Gothic Ash.

There is nothing radical about these finishes. They aren’t groundbreaking or cutting edge. They aren’t Pantone’s color of the year (though we do have plenty of custom one-off finish possibilities, but that’s another story).

pantone colors of 2016

 

 

 

 

 

What they are, are well tested, expertly applied, high performing finishes that will expand the tonal options available to both the cosmopolitan designer and the renovating homeowner.

In general, clients come to us looking for authenticity. That’s what reclaimed wood delivers best. The time-worn surface, the rich depth of color found in original patina and old growth wood, the nail holes and fastener marks that testify to a past life. Faux finishes make us cringe. As anyone who has worked in our sample department will tell you, nothing is lamer than receiving a request for a stain that will make red oak look like walnut. Or the request to apply some Rumplestiltskin magic to make fresh-sawn Douglas Fir look like it has weathered grey naturally for 20 years under the Wyoming sun.

We prefer the modernist tenet of remaining true to the material. But we are also aware that natural color tones – no matter how lush – are not right for every project. Our three custom finishes are complex and transparent, highlighting Ash’s tight grain pattern rather than masking it. Like your neighborhood sommelier, Steve has paired finish and wood so that each works to one another’s strength.

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These custom finishes take full advantage of a product that we are very fond of: Rubio Monocoat. This hard-wax oil is favored for its ease in application, maintenance and its tested durability.

Our custom process begins with a wire-brushing to open the wood grain, a hand-applied Rubio “Pre-color” stain which gives the final finish extra depth, and a thorough denibbing which removes any raised fibers.

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At this point the flooring is laid out on a platform and the oil finished is applied with a buffer. We then inspect and wipe down every board by hand and let the finish cure for 24 hours in a rack. Before it is shipped, the finished material is lined with a sheet of protective padding and then wrapped into hand bundles of approximately 25 square feet.

From start to finish, this diligent process is free of shortcuts and it results in a product that we feel is equal if not superior to any prefinished wood floor on the market. Steve is confident that you will agree.