Friday, August 28, 2015

Hidden Gems: Cypress Trees In Unusual Places

Bloggers Note: Cypress Trees are generally synonymous with the swamps of the South, particularly Louisiana. However, this blogger has found some unusual places where Cypress Trees and Cypress Tree remains have popped up. In light of the the 10 year anniversary, here is a positive spin on how Hurricane Katrina uncovered an amazing and unusual place to find a Cypress Tree forest.

From the article "Primeval Underwater Forest Discovered in Gulf of Mexico" from the website

Scuba divers have discovered a primeval underwater forest off the coast of Alabama.The Bald Cypress forest was buried under ocean sediments, protected in an oxygen-free environment for more than 50,000 years, but was likely uncovered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said Ben Raines, one of the first divers to explore the underwater forest and the executive director of the nonprofit Weeks Bay Foundation, which researches estuaries.The forest contains trees so well-preserved that when they are cut, they still smell like fresh Cypress sap, Raines said.

The stumps of the Cypress trees span an area of at least 0.5 square miles (1.3 square kilometers), several miles from the coast of Mobile, Ala., and sit about 60 feet (18 meters) below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Raines reached out to several scientists to learn more about the forest. One of those scientists was Grant Harley, a dendrochronologist (someone who studies tree rings) at the University of Southern Mississippi. Harley was intrigued, and together with geographer Kristine DeLong of Louisiana State University, set out to discover the site's secrets.

The research team created a sonar map of the area and analyzed two samples Raines took from trees. DeLong is planning her own dive at the site later this year. Because of the forest depth, scuba divers can only stay below for about 40 minutes before coming up.

Carbon isotopes (atoms of the same element that have different molecular weights) revealed that the trees were about 52,000 years old. The trees' growth rings could reveal secrets about the climate of the Gulf of Mexico thousands of years ago, during a period known as the Wisconsin Glacial period, when sea levels were much lower than they are today. In addition, because Bald Cypress trees can live a thousand years, and there are so many of them, the trees could contain thousands of years of climate history for the region, Harley said.

"These stumps are so big, they're upwards of two meters in diameter — the size of trucks," Harley told OurAmazingPlanet. "They probably contain thousands of growth rings." The team, which has not yet published their results in a peer-reviewed journal, is currently applying for grants to explore the site more thoroughly.

Harley estimates they have just two years. "The longer this wood sits on the bottom of the ocean, the more marine organisms burrow into the wood, which can create hurdles when we are trying to get radiocarbon dates," Harley said. "It can really make the sample undatable, unusable."

Stay tuned for more Hidden Gems!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sneak Peak: Albany Woodworks Featured in N.C. Design Studio

Nestled between the picturesque Smoky Mountains and the sustainable world of Asheville lies Andrews, N.C., the home of newly founded Locust Trading Company. With the goal of housing sustainable building materials, Locust Trading Company was the perfect match for Albany Woodworks' products, offering people on the east coast an opportunity to get hands on with our flooring.

As one of the featured companies, Albany Woodworks will be displaying a variety of Solid Wood Flooring along with our new Engineered Flooring options, both perfect for nail down or glue down applications.

Hot Trend Alert: Our Barn Wood Oak Collection (pictured above) will be a main feature in the showroom! With all the aged beauty that only weather and time can give, and it's just what you wanted.

Andrews, once a small, sleepy town, is starting to see growth from the Harrah's Casino being built down the road in Murphy, NC and expected to open Fall 2015. The $100 million project is anticipated to bring over 1,000 jobs to the area. Andrews is already seeing a flurry of new businesses opening, including Locust Trading Company, with the anticipation of additional foot fall through the area.

Locust Trading Company will have its Grand Opening soon so stayed tuned for more photos from the event and the showroom area!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Part Two: Reclaimed Lumber in the Big Apple

Blogger's Note: The continued story from the front page article in the New York Times about Reclaimed Lumber from the Domino Sugar Factory taking the Big Apple by storm. 

From the New York Times Article "
Salvaging a Long­ Lasting Wood, and New York City's Past"

As the timber industry gobbled through northeastern and western forests, it began turning to the longleaf pine, also known as yellow or heart pine, that covered as many as 90 million acres from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas and northern Florida, a forest where John Muir wrote in 1867 that he had “sauntered in delightful freedom.”

Some of the trees were three centuries old. Dense, durable and saturated with resin that made it unusually resistant to rot and insects, the timber proved rough work for builders to mill. But in the decades before steel began to dominate, longleaf pine was the strongest material around.

“Everybody in the wood business says the longleaf pine tree was the best wood the Lord ever made,” said Pat Fontenot, the owner of Olde Wood Accents in Washington, La., an antique pine dealer. “If it wouldn’t have been for the longleaf pine tree, we wouldn’t have been able to do the Industrial Revolution.”

The largest mass of longleaf pine in the city probably sits under the two towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, the bridge was built using caissons, essentially enormous airtight timber chambers that engineers sank into the riverbed, allowing workers inside to dig deeper into the earth below and workers above water to construct stone towers on top.

By 1938, the Great Southern Lumber Company, based in Pennsylvania, had sold its last longleaf pine log. Only about 3 percent of the original old growth forest survives, according to the United States Forest Service. Pine harvested today comes from farmed trees that are cut down young.

The only way to find original ­strength longleaf pine these days: Mine it from buildings like the Domino Sugar Factory or 443 Greenwich Street in TriBeCa, the brick and mortar vertebrae of northern cities’ industrial might.

“It’s a Southern tree that has been a part of New York City for 150 years,” Alan Solomon, the owner of Sawkill Lumber, who hunts down old lumber, from the Coney Island boardwalk to a Western Beef supermarket in the Bronx, said during a recent expedition to the TriBeCa building. “The city’s always reinventing itself. Stuff’s always getting knocked down.” It has taken Mr. Solomon’s team a year and a half to strip the brick ­and stone Romanesque Revival plant in TriBeCa, finished in 1883, of all its pine. The building’s tenants have included the Novelty Toy Company, which is said to have produced the first teddy bear; the American Steel Wool factory; a printing house; and, as manufacturing jobs drained out of the city, studios for architects, filmmakers and artists.

Stay tuned for the rest of the article!