In Part I of this series I introduced you to the stories about how I learned to love wood, how my family got started in the business of making traditional wide plank wood floors, and some of the artisans and sawyers who influenced my knowledge and appreciation of wide pine.
When I got to the office this morning I was thinking about a phone call I received while I was putting on my boots and getting ready to head out the door. One of the many people I work with locally that cuts wide pine boards for me called and said, “Don, you wouldn’t believe the log I just saw!”
You see, every logger in the area calls him when they have a big pine log for him to look at. They know if it’s just right, he’ll buy it and cut it into wide boards for me. He also cuts wide pine for making Windsor chair seats out of just one piece, like they used to be made. It’s a different type of board that he uses for the Windsor chair: the grain needs to be wide apart and more pillowy. Whereas, for floors it’s just the opposite: the vertical grain needs to be very tight so that the board stays straight and stable.
He went on to say, “You know Don, if you need any more wide boards, the log I saw today was huge and had grain so tight you could hardly see between it! The logger tried to get me to buy it to cut for chairs, and I told him that tree grew for one reason only, and that was to make wide pine floors.”
I share this story to try and give people the true understanding of the amount of attention the whole thing takes when we say we make wide pine flooring, like the floors in just about every house in New England centuries ago. We are working with artisans who have the understanding, appreciation, character, and steadfast Yankee morals from days gone by. They aren’t driven by a quick buck, but rather the raw, basic quality of what’s right and how things should be. I find an amazing passion for this whole idea, and I try and pass as much of this on to everyone I can.
That’s why when our customers say, “Pine is soft,” we take the time to educate them about the history of wide pine, and to discuss how this will play a role in the overall look that will develop with a wide pine floor. And we tell the story about Ernie, our sawyers, our craftsmen, and how we came to really appreciate this wood.
I, along with the team here at William & Henry Wide Plank Floors, am truly dedicated to bringing this beautiful wood and the knowledge of its history to the forefront again. We have over 100 years of collective experience from generations of families that have lived with wide pine in every facet of their lives. We want to share all of this and help make sure that if you have a home or project where you would like to use this beautiful wood that everything comes out perfect, and that you’ll fall in love with it the way we have—from the installation through to the finishing and long term care of your floors. I hope you’ve enjoyed this story and look forward to hopefully crafting some wide pine floors for your home.