The Early North American Timber Industry and The exporting of timber was one of the great staples of trade in North America during the 19th Century.
Founded upon European demand, it fostered economic development throughout the United States and Canada. It encouraged the building of towns and villages, the opening of roads, and exploration.
Wood entered 19th century trade in many forms. Large masts cut from the finest trees for the Royal Navy were the most valuable commercial product of the North American Forests; however, square timber and sawn lumber were the major wood staples. Lumber is the the product of sawmills was prepared mostly as planks and boards. Square timber, known as “ton timber”, were baulks or “sticks of wood hewn square with axes and shipped to England where they were often resawn.
Strict specifications governed the market.The square timber industry developed rapidly to meet the enormous demand from Britain, which was at war with Napoleonic France and was also undergoing industrialization. Although small quantities of White Oak, Rock Elm, Ash, Chestnut, and Hickory were squared, Longleaf Pine or “Heart Pine” as it is know today, was the major industrial species.
The History of Heart PineVast forests of Longleaf Pine or “Heart Pine” were once present along the southeastern Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast of North America. These forests were once the source of resin, turpentine, and timber. Before European settlement Longleaf Pine forest dominated as much as 90,000,000 acres stretching from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas. With the industrial Revolution in full force by the late 19th century, these virgin timber stands were among the most sought after timber trees in the country. Most commonly, the heart pine timber was used in post and beams construction for factories, mills and warehouses, throughout the United States.
By 1900 virtually all of the Virgin Pine forests had been cut over and usually replaced with faster growing, softer Loblolly Pine and Slash Pine.Heart Pine Today The only reliable source for the richly colored, dense heart pine is the “Industrial Forest”. As American manufacturing is becoming virtually obsolete due to international outsourcing, so too are the industrial sites that put it on the map. The large heart pine timbers that were used to construct the factories and mills of the industrial Revolution are now reclaimed and resawn into beautiful antique heart pine flooring, exposed beams, paneling, and reclaimed wood furniture.
The Reclaimed Wood Business Beginning in the 1970′s people began to understand the history and quality of reclaimed lumber. Reclaimed Lumber is wood that has been taken for re-use. Most often, this is timber from wood beams and decking is taken from long-standing idle buildings such as old barns, factories and and warehouses. Reclaimed and antique lumber is highly desired by architects and designers for its history, quality and character. Reclaimed wood is popular as flooring, siding, paneling, cabinet lumber, and furniture.
In some cases, reclaiming lumber is the only source for certain species of wood. For example, the American Chestnut. Beginning in 1904, a Chestnut blight spread across the United States killing BILLIONS of American Chestnut Trees. Wormy Chestnut is a popular flooring and paneling option for many architects and designers because of its beautiful grain and large color range. The source of chestnut today is primarily reclaimed barn wood.
The Growing Popularity of Barn Wood Barns serve as one of the most common sources for reclaimed wood in the United States. Barns constructed up through the early part of the 19th century were typically built using whatever trees were on site. They often contain a Antique Oak, Hickory, Chestnut, Elm, and Douglas Fir. Barn boards and beams were either sawn or hand hewn using an axe or squared with an adze. Hand hewn beams are often used by architects, designers and homeowners for their vintage yet sophisticated look. Oak Beams are the most abundant hand hewn beams, and are typically available in sizes up to 12×12.In closing, there are virtually limitless uses for reclaimed wood. Flooring, beams, furniture, siding, and paneling are the most abundant uses for reclaimed timber.
Vintage wood provides a look that is simply unmatched by new lumber. Beautiful color, stability, durability, hardness, texture and fragrance are all characteristics of reclaimed wood.
American Antique Woods Tel: (816) 728-7300