I have written briefly about how Walnut lumber is graded differently from other North American hardwoods, but it seems that customers are still surprised by the apparent lack of quality in Walnut lumber. Usually these inquiries are met with surprise on the part of our grading team, as our graders were quite proud of the quality of Walnut that left our yard. What it really comes down to are two … [Read more...] about Walnut Lumber Grade Explained
J Gibson McIlvain News Blog
Welcome to our blog where we aim to inform about all things hardwood, plywood, and millwork. As importers of record we will throw in some import and regulation information as well and give you a peek behind the curtain of the lumber industry. Much of the content here is inspired by questions from our customers so feel free to drop us a line and ask a question. If we don't already have an article about it on our site, we may just write one in the future to address it.
When you buy decking boards, they are already planed on 4 faces (S4S) and usually have the sharp corners eased (E4E). Depending on whether you are face screwing or using a clip system, there may or may not be a groove routed on the edges. This is a product ready to install right? But is it a finished product? Absolutely not, and this is where many homeowners and even contractors get confused and … [Read more...] about Ipe Deck Maintenance: New Decking is Not a Finished Product
We know that lumber needs to be dried before using it in construction, and most of us know to ask for kiln dried lumber. (We do know that right? Please say yes) But did you know that not all kiln dried lumber is equal? Depending on where the lumber comes from, the moisture content of your kiln dried material may not be what you think it is. 6-8% is the accepted moisture content of kiln … [Read more...] about Kiln Dried May Not Mean What You Think It Means
How Much Will My Lumber Cost? This question is asked several thousand times a second in the lumber business. Lumber prices cause a great deal of confusion and even anger. No matter whether the customer is buying hardwood, softwood, plywood, or even a milled wood product, it all comes down to, "How much will it cost?" The reality is that the price of any wood product is highly dependent on … [Read more...] about Lumber Prices Explained
That depends (sigh)... How do you plan to use it? What is Marine plywood used for? Marine plywood is any plywood made to withstand the elements of nature, specifically water. So it is used for Marine construction like boats and docks but also water front properties. As you can imagine the amount of exposure the plywood sees varies widely on whether it is used on a boat or on an ocean front … [Read more...] about Do you really Need Marine Plywood?
Easy answer: you can't... That's not entirely true. You could dry the timbers in a vacuum kiln and definitely not use them outside and keep them away from direct sunlight. Probably a good idea to speak in low, soothing tones around those timbers too. I joke, but the reality is that these cracks or checks are just the nature of wood. Checking can be controlled in "regular" sized 4/4 through 8/4 or … [Read more...] about How to Prevent Cracks in Your Large Timbers
Mahogany is an iconic wood for furniture and high end millwork. It has been used for hundreds of years as the prime species based on its ease of use, consistent color, and outstanding appearance. These days genuine Mahogany is not used as often. Not so much because of availability but because the price has been tough to swallow. Regulation of the species has slowed down the supply chain and … [Read more...] about Utile Is The Best Mahogany Alternative
One thing that is difficult when working with wood is the range of colors you find within a single species. All woods will change color throughout the process from sawmill to finished project. Wood continues to change color years down the road. It fades in the sunlight, but some woods also undergo chemical changes that change the wood color. The one thing you can count on is the color will … [Read more...] about Wood Color Changes Explained
Did you know that J. Gibson McIlvain sells plywood? It came to my attention recently when visiting customers that this was not a well known fact. Certainly hardwoods is where our legacy lies with hundreds of years in that market, but we decided to jump into plywood several years ago to offer some alternatives to our customers. Despite plywood's popularity, users tend to know very … [Read more...] about Types of Hardwood Plywood & Core Comparisons
You just bought some decking or flooring (or really any lumber) and one of the first things you hear is that it needs time to acclimate to its new surroundings before installing deck boards. The maddening thing is you will rarely get the same answer twice when it comes to how long that particular lumber should sit around getting in touch with its feelings. If pressed for an answer to "how long … [Read more...] about Wait Before Installing Deck Boards
What color is Teak? That is not an easy question to answer. Teak color is discussed a great deal. Specifically Teak color change is what drives people crazy. Wood is an organic material so it moves and changes. Anyone who has worked with wood has noticed the different look of freshly planed lumber from aged and oxidized lumber. In most cases a mellowing of the color and … [Read more...] about Dark Teak Color Change is Caused by Sun and Exposure
Spring time is here and with it comes deck building season. This is the time of year when our millwork department spends 75% of the day grooving Ipe decking boards for hidden fasteners. At any given moment there are several trucks being loaded with Ipe or Cumaru or Tigerwood decking to be shipped off to our customers around the country. As we have written about on this blog … [Read more...] about Tigerwood Decking or Ipe or Cumaru: Tropical Decking Choices
The supply chain is severely stressed right now as we pass the 1 year mark since the world shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction trades are reeling and trying to get lumber and millwork as fast as they can, but they are constantly running into empty shelves everywhere they look. This is not news to anyone reading this, but it is also not something we can just resign ourselves to … [Read more...] about Rethink How You Order Hardwoods and Millwork
How much space to leave between deck boards? This is the most asked question about installing a deck. The easy answer is 1/4". But that answer doesn't take into account a lot of factors and can pose problems further down the road. The moisture content of the decking boards, how long they have had time to acclimate to your environment. How much sun the deck receives, how much rain, temperature … [Read more...] about What is the Proper Deck Board Spacing?
Philippine Mahogany is synonymous with boat building, thanks to the iconic Chris Craft boats from the 1930-60s. So when asked if the species will be good for exterior projects, we answer with a strong yes. Boat building tests wood in a way that nothing else will, so if a particular wood is good enough for that, then trim, windows, or siding have nothing to fear. Times have changed, however, … [Read more...] about Yesterday’s Philippine Mahogany is Today’s Meranti
Easily one of the most popular hardwoods in our inventory has been Sapele. Each day we get requests for quotes and the Sapele species page on this site is one of the most clicked on. In my opinion all of this attention is justified as Sapele is an outstanding African species that is only gaining in popularity because of it's ease of use in so many applications. Sapele has long … [Read more...] about Sapele Wood is the Cream of the African Mahogany Market
Western Red Cedar is one of the most popular exterior species in use in North America these days. The lower cost, rot and insect resistant, and easy availability in all sizes, including large timbers, makes it an obvious choice for projects from decks to pergolas, siding, flooring, ceilings, and paneling. Like all softwoods, there is a standard grading system in place to designate how clear a … [Read more...] about Inland vs Coastal Cedar
We have carried Bruynzeel plywood for a while now and our boat building customers have always been very pleased with the high quality of the product. With 100% weather resistant plies and BS 1088 certification, you cannot ask for a panel more perfectly suited to boat building. The exciting news is that J. Gibson McIlvain is now an exclusive North American distributor of Bruynzeel plywood and we … [Read more...] about Bruynzeel Marine Grade Plywood
Popularity of wood species comes and goes just like architecture and fashion styles. In fact, these elements usually feed each other. As styles change, materials and industries shift to meet the demand for raw materials. Over the last few years we have seen a growing demand for Teak beyond the boat building industry. Minimalist Asian and Scandinavian influenced interior … [Read more...] about Afromosia Wood is Gaining in Popularity
With the trade embargo lifted on Myanmar, Teak lumber buying is set to get very confusing very quickly with many new suppliers entering the market. It is still unclear whether this will lower the barrier to entry for those looking to get into the Teak game, but it is a safe bet that with the Myanmar government already talking about banning exports, many players will try to get into the … [Read more...] about Things to Look For When Buying Teak Lumber