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
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.
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 by local, … [Read more...] about Dispelling the Myth That Lumber Importing is Bad for the Environment
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
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
It seems that every year another boardwalk is being replaced. Whether the catalyst is a hurricane or just age, these monstrous projects keep coming up. When "boardwalk season" comes around, new construction bids and RFQs are on everyone's minds. Unfortunately, pressure is being brought to bear on city planners from environmental lobby groups to use composite decking to rebuild the … [Read more...] about Composite Decking Problems and Boardwalks
All wood species have extractives or chemicals in the wood that can make the wood rot resistant or weather resistant or even tasty. Maple Syrup is one tasty example of a wood extractive. While some extractives are useful when actually extracted from the tree like the aforementioned Maple Syrup or Turpentine, others remain part of the wood itself to give it the working and performance … [Read more...] about Stained Decking and Color Changes
Give Your Teak a Sun Tan to Correct Its Crazy Color Every wood specie will change color in the sun and especially right after it has been planed to expose fresh fibers. Teak is a real problem child when it comes to color because of all the oils and resins in the wood that makes it such a great exterior and marine wood species. In this video we break down what is actually happening that causes … [Read more...] about How to Fix the Color Streaks in Teak
I feel like there is a theme developing on our blog lately. Tariffs, tariffs, and more tariffs! Today we saw the official announcement from the US Department of Commerce about the tariff on Canadian Softwood. To our customers this won't be a surprise since we have been talking about this for more than a month. It certainly is no secret and not news considering the long standing debates over … [Read more...] about Softwood Tariff Announced, Price to Climb 20%
No you're not experiencing a bad case of Deja Vu. You have actually read this article about a new Plywood Tariff from us before...but it was 4 years ago. And then the tariff went away... ...it's baaaaaaack! On April 18th, the US Department of Commerce passed a Countervailing Duty of 10% (9.89% actually) on Chinese Imported plywood. Some Chinese companies received up to a 111% tariff because … [Read more...] about Plywood Prices to Climb…Again
Over the years we have written a lot about the ever changing landscape of not just Ipe but the tropical decking market in general. In the last year many of our predictions and concerns have come to fruition creating a chaotic state of the market. It seems like it is time to discuss the state of the species and what we can expect over the next year with regards to Ipe availability, quality, and … [Read more...] about Ipe State of the Market
Winter Is Coming. We stand looking out over the lumber yard and shivering, knowing that the coldest months are still ahead of us. Winter is here, I don't care what Ned Stark says. Just talk to any of our customers currently buried under snow. Life goes on and we turn up the heaters in our shops and get back to work. It is this time of year and those heaters that can cause some issues with the … [Read more...] about Decking Gap: The Heat is On
We lumber guys have our share of lingo and obscure terminology just like any industry. But what I find interesting about the lumber industry is that we expect our customers also understand our lingo just to be able to buy our products. There is nothing that exemplifies this paradigm more than how lumber folk talk about thickness of a board in "quarters." For example, when referring to a 1" thick … [Read more...] about What’s With the Fractions?
All of us are at the mercy of trends. Whatever is the latest and greatest, we all have to have it. Or we have to redesign our products to embrace that trend. Since we are a large importer of genuine Burmese Teak, we understandably do a lot of business with boat builders. These boat builders almost exclusively use Teak for both exteriors and interior elements of their boats. These days we are … [Read more...] about Change of Species Changes the Rules
There is a pandemic in the lumber business where everyone wants to find wood as wide and as long as possible. Many times the specified lumber is much bigger than the eventual parts it is to be made into. The argument for this is higher waste per board, better color match, and those who want to rip and glue back together for better stability (don't get me started on that wives tale). I'm here to … [Read more...] about Want Better Quality Lumber, Reconsider Your Sizes