Quality control at J. Gibson McIlvain begins at the source. We buy lumber from all over the world, and we visit these locales in order to understand how the trees are harvested, sawn, dried, and prepared for shipping. By building relationships directly with these mills, we can have a hand in ensuring the quality of the lumber before it even leaves the mill.
Although our team travels the world to inspect lumber, we simply cannot be on site for every order. It is then that we contract with qualified independent graders to inspect, photograph, and complete our own grading forms which are then delivered to us before a shipment is approved for leaving the mill. When importing exotic lumber, we buy from a very small percentage of mills that provide only the best quality wood.
All of our lumber, whether domestic or exotic, comes to our headquarters in Maryland first, where it is unloaded and inspected, board by board. Our staff is highly educated in lumber grading systems with specialized training to recognize the characteristics specific to a species.
Some species cannot be graded by the same standards due to factors such as differences in how the tree grows. But we understand the demands of our customers and look for the characteristics they desire, whether it be thickness, length, width, clarity of face, etc.
Once the boards are sorted, they are stickered, stacked, and dried. Depending on the species and moisture content of the lumber as it comes into our yard, the lumber is air dried, kiln dried, or stored in the yard to be sold. With the exception of Ipe decking lumber, almost all of our inbound stock needs to be dried for a period in our lumber yard in order to reach a stable 6-8% standard for North America. For the most part, the exotic lumber is set up to air dry for a period of 1-4 months, after which it is kiln dried. Our domestic species usually don’t require as much drying unless we buy them green directly from the saw mills. We strive to do this as often as possible, as it allows us greater control over the final quality while also keeping the prices down.
Regardless of the method used, once the lumber has been dried,each board is then run across our sorter and inspected by hand by our graders once again. Any kiln defects are removed and the saw marks cut away before the rest of the lumber is stacked and moved off under cover in the yard to await a sale.
After an order is placed, our staff then selects and grades the lumber one more time. This final grading is the strictest of our tests because we now have a specific customer request and application to keep in mind while grading. This last examination of the lumber ensures an extremely low wastage level in your shipment.
When you submit an order to McIlvain, our sales staff will take the time to thoroughly understand exactly how the lumber is to be used and what your demands are for quality, grain, and sizing. If we know how you intend to use the lumber, we can play a big role in helping you maximize the yield of your wood. We’re here to help you find the right quality and species of wood for your project.
J. Gibson McIlvain takes great pride in understanding what our customers need and how our lumber products will behave in each specific application. This advanced knowledge allows us to provide the right species, size, and grain pattern for your project, delivered to your site right away. There are many quality grading systems and certification and verification systems applied to our woods, depending on their species and region of origin, and we consider all of these ratings to find the best fit for our customers’ demands. Because of this, we are able to deliver a product far superior to that of many other producers.