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
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.
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 little about … [Read more...] about Types of Hardwood Plywood & Core Comparisons
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?
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
Lately we have been running into a lot of wide plank flooring jobs. In high end remodeling and construction, these 12" and wider planks are a popular choice. But really anything larger than about 4" wide could be considered wide plank in comparison to the typical "strip" flooring products. In other words, "wide plank" is kind of a relative term. Proportionally speaking, the bigger the room the … [Read more...] about Wide Plank Flooring is Beautiful but Tricky
Any call or email we get for marine grade plywood results in a series of questions about why it is needed and how it will be put to use. The term "marine grade" is used a bit too liberally by manufacturers to be trusted at face value. In other words there are many shades of gray to it and and most likely a good product can be found for your project whether it be exterior home work, a … [Read more...] about Do you really Need Marine Plywood?
As if it were some kind of perpetual motion machine, wood will never stop moving. No matter how old it is, what has been done to seal it, fasten it, or restrain it, the wood will move. Accept it, and move on. Understanding how and why your wood moves is necessary if you are going to work with this wonderful medium. Understanding how a particular species and cut moves is … [Read more...] about Wood Moves, Get Over It
Over the past several months we have written about tropical decking choices, Ipe importing seasons, and Ipe pricing fluctuations. This week we want to talk about some of the issues to be aware of while installing and working with tropical decking lumber like Ipe and Cumaru. Ipe Decks Can Be Rough When First Installed To maximize the stability of exterior lumber and to showcase consistent … [Read more...] about Ipe Decking Problems During Installation
As an importer of record in many exotic species like Genuine Mahogany, Teak, and Ipe; J. Gibson McIlvain is acutely aware of the stigma attached to rainforest wood species and the spectre of global warming that looms over our industry. The facts are that deforestation is not a result of the lumber import trade, but in many cases caused by the disruption of it. Additionally, regulation … [Read more...] about Dispelling the Myth That Lumber Importing is Bad for the Environment
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
For more than a century, the hardwood lumber industry has held to a central grading standard established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). Thanks to the foresight of the early founders of the NHLA in 1898, some order has been added to the chaos that had become the lumber trade. Finally there was a standardized system of grading to determine quality of lumber. Today we take this … [Read more...] about Understanding Hardwood Lumber Grading
Plywood is confusing. There, I said it. Plywood pricing is even more confusing. Plywood thicknesses are a major factor in quality and pricing. But the thickness isn't always consistent. This is especially true when it comes to how the sheet of plywood is constructed. You can have 2 panels of identical species and thickness, but is one sheet the same as the other? Is a 3/4 sheet with 12 … [Read more...] about Plywood Thicknesses Depend on Number of Plies
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
One of the things than can be very difficult when working with wood is the range of colors you find within a single species. What makes it even more difficult is that all woods will change color throughout the process from sawmill to finished project and then years down the road. Wood like all materials fades in the sunlight, but some woods also undergo actual chemical changes that change the … [Read more...] about Wood Color Changes Explained
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
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
Color is a sticky subject for lumber dealers. More specifically, matching the color of different boards of the same species. Wood is an organic product. Maybe that goes without saying, but in today's engineered product world, it is important to realize that wood is unique. It isn't poured or extruded or dyed or infused or crackle painted (at least I hope not). Every piece you get is different. … [Read more...] about Color Matching Lumber??
As the log bans and export regulation changes in Myanmar continue to confuse the Teak market, there is a strong positive for home builders who use Teak that could make a lot of previously difficult-to-obtain lumber a lot easier to get. In general, the Teak industry centers around boat builders. These builders have understandably very high standards due to the dollar amount on their products and … [Read more...] about Teak Supply Pinch May Be Good News for Home Builders
Our customers build some truly beautiful things. They are an uncompromising bunch that require the finest quality and grade of lumber for their projects. The same holds true for the plywood they use, and this is one of the reasons our Bruynzeel line of marine plywood is so popular. I truly believe there is not a finer made panel out there, and this is one of the reasons we have built out such an … [Read more...] about Two Types of Marine Grade Plywood to Solve Many Problems
"I need some Teak for an upcoming project." "Great, how much do you need and what kind of specs?" "800 board feet of at least 6" width, and I want it to be A grade stuff." "Okay, we have FEQ, that's First European Quality, Teak and the width isn't a problem; any length spec?" "At least 12 foot lengths." "Okay, great, let me work up a quote, and I'll get you some numbers..." This conversation … [Read more...] about Lumber Grades Tell Only Half the Story