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?
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.
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
We have talked about shortages in Ipe recently here, and while we still have plenty of Ipe in stock, it seems appropriate to talk about another option and to do some side by side comparison. Ipe hardness makes is a superior decking product, but is hardness the only thing to consider? Certainly, we have found that Cumaru is a great Ipe alternative, and we have been selling it as fast as we can … [Read more...] about How Does Jatoba Decking Compare with Ipe Decking
I'm normally not a fan of headlines like this one as they are sensationalist, but in this case it is a reality we must grasp quickly. Frankly, I have been worried about the Ipe market for many years, as global demand rises and saw mills churn out material faster and faster. When you look closely at the Ipe supply chain, you see a house of cards that won't take much to be knocked over. Now don't … [Read more...] about Ipe Shortage isn’t Looming, It’s Already Here
Its getting cold out there. The summer tourists have gone home and seasonal repairs and renovation has begun in earnest. This year one simple yet highly effective repair you can do is to replace your dock boards with Ipe. After all a dock is just a deck right? In fact Ipe has become such an effective dock material that many of the sawmills we work with in Brazil produce 4-5 foot Ipe boards … [Read more...] about Replace those Dock Boards with Ipe and Save
We love African hardwoods. As regulation and grade inconsistencies rise for Mahogany coming out of South America, we are advising more and more of our customers to consider Mahogany alternatives from Africa like Khaya (African Mahogany), Sapele, and Utile (also known as Sipo). The availability of wider and longer African hardwood boards is much greater, the species are more durable and hold … [Read more...] about The Long and Winding Road of African Hardwood Export
As a woodworker and furniture maker I am a big fan of Genuine Mahogany. It carves, saws, and planes so easily and you can't beat the color and depth once finish is applied. However, it has been disconcerting to see how grade and availability have fallen off dramatically in the last year. South American Mahogany definitely isn't what it used to be. What is most upsetting is that much of this is not … [Read more...] about Questions about Genuine Mahogany’s Future
In March of 2013 the European Union's Timber Regulation (EUTR) legislation went into effect. Simply put, EUTR is Europe's version of the US Lacey Act as it relates to lumber production. There are similarities between the two laws and a lot of differences. For instance, EUTR does consider certifications (FSC®/PEFC) and verifications (TLTV/VLO) as risk mitigation when conducting "due diligence," … [Read more...] about EU Timber Regulation Provides Lacey Act Guidance
Recently the US Department of Commerce approved a 23% Countervailing Duty on hardwood import plywood that is imported from China. This is an effort by the US government to "protect" domestic manufacturers from import products that are subsidized by foreign governments. So import plywood prices have gone up at least by 23%. What no one seems to be talking about is the response from the domestic … [Read more...] about Import Plywood Prices Increase
In my Spanish Cedar Regulation article the case was made that the Spanish Cedar market has permanently changed and lower availability is the new normal. Spanish Cedar is still trickling out of South America but it is also now being grown on plantations in Africa. While still technically the same genus and couple of species, Cedrela odorata, fissilis, huberi, the quality and properties are not … [Read more...] about Tips for Buying Spanish Cedar
Update 9/19/20: Spanish Cedar Plywood Added to CITES Appendix II Long anticipated due to the ongoing shortage and regulation of Spanish Cedar lumber, now the manufactured Spanish Cedar plywood has been added to CITES appendix II. Up until now the distribution of manufacture of the plywood allowed for face veneers to be sourced from both Souther American Spanish Cedar, but also African sourced, … [Read more...] about Spanish Cedar Is Regulated Out of Fashion
The mad scramble to rebuild the east coast boardwalks after Hurricane Sandy has begun. As usual, many municipalities dragged their feet during the winter, and with tourist season looming just a few months away, our phones are ringing off the hook with people looking for 2x4 and 2x6 Ipe for a boardwalk somewhere along the Atlantic coast. Ipe suppliers such as J. Gibson McIlvain and many of our … [Read more...] about Are We Overbuilding Our Boardwalks?
Over the years we have supplied lumber and plywood to many companies working on some amazing millwork installations. Sometimes we just supply the materials, other times we run the millwork whether it be flooring, paneling, or moulding. Many times it just comes down to plywood for the panels. We pride ourselves on the quality of the plywood we sell and these high standards lead to a lot of … [Read more...] about Custom Plywood for Architectural Millwork
Green building and sustainability are some of the most popular concepts in the design and construction business these days. It is rare to find any new construction without some specification for LEEDS rating or at least a concern about building a green structure. New products enter the market every day claiming to be the next best thing for environmentally aware construction. In reality the … [Read more...] about Lumber is the Ultimate Green Building Material
One of the hottest design trends these days is blending the inside living spaces with the outside living space. It is common to see beautiful outdoor rooms that seamlessly dissolve into beautiful landscaping. Many architects are now designing movable glass walls that can open wide and remove any barrier between the inside and outside. This trend has grown so much on the simple principle that … [Read more...] about Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors Blend Seamlessly into Jatoba Decks
J. Gibson McIlvain has been shipping material to the Caribbean for some time now. We service a lot of builders and contractors from the Virgin Islands and Bermuda to the Bahamas and the West Indies. Our large, on the ground inventory of a huge variety of hardwoods, softwoods, and plywoods means we can ship much faster than the island brokers that these customers rely on normally. A nice bonus … [Read more...] about Shipping Improvements for Caribbean Contractors
Winter is just around the corner (less than a week according to my calendar), and while many of us are staying indoors to ride out the colder temperatures, armies of builders and contractors are braving the elements in their day to day jobs. Whether the job be renovating a summer home to get it ready for the next beach season, or making needed repairs to keep the cold out in the coming … [Read more...] about Give Your Lumber Room to Move
I have written in the past about the difficulties that come with buying Ipe, due to distinct seasons created by the rainy season. Additionally, there is global competition for the resource, and we have had to get more and more savvy about when we buy and how to extend our buying season in order to take best advantage of sizes that quickly become scarce. This year the playing field was set, … [Read more...] about Plenty of Ipe to Rebuild East Coast Hurricane Damage
There is no question that the primary use for Ipe is as a decking material. As a decking product, Ipe is surfaced on 4 sides (S4S) and eased on 4 edges (E4E) which prevents splintering and sharp edges in this very, very hard wood. Depending on how our clients choose to install the Ipe decking, we may have to rout a groove for clip fasteners, but at most, that is all we are doing to the wood … [Read more...] about Do I Need Air Dried or Kiln Dried Ipe Decking?