Our background is in period furniture, so we mainly carry the species used in this era, including South American mahogany, walnut, cherry, tiger maple, butternut and limited quantities of curly birch. We stock a large inventory of each species from 4/4 to 16/4 and some 20/4 and 24/4 when possible. Most of the more specialized lumber and heavy stock we carry in the domestic species comes from the logs we purchase, and we are always seeking out logs with figure and grain as well as the larger diameter logs that yield the wide boards that we focus on. Walnut, mahogany and cherry crotches are also a part of our repertoire, since they are used as accent pieces in many fine pieces of furniture. We dry the bulk of our green lumber that we produce or bring in here at our facility. The lumber is carefully stickered at 1' intervals to keep it as straight and flat as possible and then weighted and placed in open sheds and air dried down to 20% or less before going into the kiln. We use a de-humidification kiln and keep it at a low temperature to dry the wood as gently and stress-free as possible. After the selected lumber is delivered to our facility or comes out of our kiln it is trimmed and sorted to determine the potential uses of each board and set.
The first step is to put the sets back together and label them according to the qualities of the wood. If the wood has a strong grain and/or figure it is kept together for matching panel and drawer stock. Sets of matched clear boards are kept together for table tops, and the very wide boards are set aside for panels and case sides and tops for furniture. Matching sets of FAS lumber are also kept together for the grain and color, and then single boards of different widths go into packs of similar material for our regular stock. The crotches and other figured pieces are separated from the rest of the lumber so that they are can be easily accessed when needed. As a general rule we don't keep whole flitches together from each log, but cut each log to the sizes and thicknesses that it will best yield and that have the greatest demand, and then separate the lumber after drying into the appropriate categories. Since we keep a large inventory and many of our orders are pretty specific regarding sizes, yield and grain, we have designed a proprietary coding system, humorously described by the magazine Fine Woodworking as the Louie decimal system, which helps us identify the characteristics and quality of the sets without having to go through pack after pack of lumber trying to fill an order.
While the information varies from set to set, we try to identify the number of boards in the set, the lengths, widths, cuttings and the grain and figure characteristics of the lumber in each lot. Most of the sets are placed on racks in different buildings and sheds so that we can easily access the material to find what best suits the customers needs. The lumber as priced is premium FAS/select lumber with any defects graded out and is selected to order. We try not to carry common stock since the bulk of our material is shipped by truck, where the shipping price is determined by the shipping weight and the distance, so that any savings realized by the lower grades is negated by the higher price of shipping the unusable material. We also carry very little rustic stock or live edge lumber-our focus is on premium lumber, and we try to concentrate on that type of material. As a result of providing FAS lumber, we trim up some of the lumber to eliminate any damage and defects which produces some shorter, wider pieces that have the defects cut out for use as for case sides, tops and panels. We also produce some shorts, particularly in the heavier stock, that are virtually clear and defect free.
Our hours are Monday thru Thursday from 8-5, Fridays from 8-12. The lumber facility and our home are located on the same property, so we are sometimes available on weekends by appointment only for those that cannot make it here during the week. If you are coming any distance it is always best to call ahead and check our schedule-we are generally open but there are occasions when no one is here, and we are hours from anywhere. There is a 150 bd. Foot shipping minimum, and there is no minimum if you come to the facility. Customers are welcome to come and select their own stock, but it is on a self-service basis, so if you need to go through a lot of lumber you may want to bring some help.