Thursday, May 7, 2015

Carefully Selected And Hand-crafted Antique Pine Beams

Blogger's Note: Watching Richard Woods build our family's lumber business taught me something that has always stayed with me.  He believed then, as he does now, that providing a quality product is well worth the time that goes into hand-crafting each order.  He enjoys seeing the happiness his superior product and craftsmanship provides our customers, knowing they are adding real beauty and lasting value to their homes.  Here is the process that makes Albany Woodworks unique in the industry, and how their products dazzle while standing the test of time.

(Above): These slow-aged, well seasoned beams are carefully milled by Albany Woodworks into gorgeous flooring - or are perfect 'as-is' for an authentic touch of character.

An Ancient Forest
What is it that makes Albany Woodworks' products so unique?  Well, before our carefully hand-selected beams arrive at your home, they have taken quite a journey.  Starting life over 500 years ago in the old growth forests of the deep south, these Longleaf Pine trees grew to hundreds of feet in height and would often take two experienced axmen half a day to fell.

(Above): Ancient pine forests like this one once blanketed southern Louisiana, untouched by the hand of man.

Standing in pirogues and alternating swings of the ax, these hardy lumbermen would traverse the swampy landscape of central and southern Louisiana looking for the largest virgin timber to harvest.  Once these giants were brought to earth, they were allowed to dry out and became buoyant enough to raft together down river to one of the lumber mills lining the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

At the lumber mill, these huge logs were transferred to a mill pond to await the first cut of the saw blade.  Mostly overlooked until the 1920, these vast expanses of forests were left to the local Acadian craftsmen whose expert hands worked this sturdy pine into beautiful cottages and furniture.  Due to it's large percentage of heartwood, the strongest inner core or 'skeleton' of the tree, this old growth "Heart" Pine was a craftsman's first choice for quality building materials.  That is why Antique Heart Pine is our first choice when it comes to crafting a beautiful solid wood floor.

(Above): Often working in teams of two, and sometimes more when the size of the tree called for it, axmen in southern Louisiana were ingenious in developing unorthodox methods in harvesting timber from the swamps, often standing on a small plank or floating in a pirogue while swinging an ax.

Slow-aged and Well-seasoned Beam Stock
Once the huge pine forests of the south, untouched by man, were discovered, there was a huge demand for this stable, durable timber.  With lengths nearing 20' and the strength to rival steel, Louisiana Heart Pine was popping up all over the country for structural beams in industrial buildings and as Higgins Landing Boat keels for the war effort in the 1940's.  Our lumber is from this same stock which is why it was selected by the US Coast Guard for replacing the keel beam in a Higgins craft on display in The National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

(Above): Old growth Louisiana Longleaf pine was used in the war effort, its strength rivaling steel, to build keels for Higgins Landing Craft.  Albany Woodworks donated Antique Heart Pine to replace the keel beam on this Higgins Craft on display at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, La.
After many years slow aging and curing into a well seasoned hearty stock, these timbers were nearly lost.  In a city rejuvenation period starting in the 1970s and lasting to this day, many historic buildings are being purchased and torn down to make room for modern buildings and skyscrapers.  Once the center of a bustling industry, these aging commercial buildings are seen as blight on otherwise valuable real estate in the heart of many urban cities.

This is where Richard stepped in and began a process of giving new life to this antique lumber that is at the center of today's growing reclaimed lumber industry.  One of the first in the country to realize the amazing potential of this priceless resource of quality antique Heart Pine nearly four decades ago, Richard is now a sustainable building and reclaimed lumber expert.  He taps on this wealth of experience to provide customers with solid wood flooring and building materials that you just can't find anywhere else.   

Building For The Future
Richard's choice to save these living pieces of our country's history forty years ago has evolved into a mission for education and preservation.  With the quantity of remaining Antique Heart Pine dwindling, Richard works even harder to find and identify buildings containing this special character of wood to save it from being lost forever to the landfill.

(Above):  Each antique reclaimed pine beam is carefully hand-selected by Albany Woodworks to provide a lifetime of beauty and value to your home.

Sustainable building materials continue to be in high demand as inferior flooring with dangerous chemicals flood the market from overseas.  Richard believes that continuing to provide the best quality reclaimed product at the best price encourages customers on the path to using Eco-friendly materials - helping us build a better and greener future.

(Above): Once installed, antique building materials from Albany Woodworks will add a lifetime of beauty to your home.

Beautiful Antique Heart Pine from Albany Woodworks is a great choice for your family and the environment.  Antique products that share a real sense of  our country's history, a piece of history you can bring home.  Visit their informative website for more information or plan a visit for a more hands-on experience.