The Heart Cypress supplied by Albany Woodworks, Inc. is exclusively from two sources: Sinker Cypress reclaimed from logs lost in the lumber harvest years in the late 1800's and Antique Cypress reclaimed from old buildings.They are both beautiful, reclaimed wood, just from two different sources and were originally sourced from the first growth forests of North America.
Sinker Cypress is reclaimed virgin growth materials that were lost during the frenzy of logging that lasted from the late 1800' s until the last "great grandfather" trees fell in the mid 1920's. You may have heard several names for cypress. Swamp cypress, Tidewater Red, Louisiana, Gulf, or Southern Cypress is also called Bald Cypress. "Bald" because it has needle like leaves that are shed each winter. Heart Cypress was an unusual tree that grew naturally in standing water, sending up "knees", specialized bark growths that stood above the water line to send oxygen to the underground roots. The photo at the left shows
cypress trees in the swamp in the winter when the water has receded so you can fully see their buttressed root system.
For thousands of years the forest and alluvial basins were undisturbed, allowing these stately giants to slowly grow to heights of 80 to 150 feet with trunks as large as 15 feet in diameter. It's easy to see that they are a relative of the ancient redwoods of the west. The Heart Cypress trees' ultimate demise was hastened because the lumber contained in these huge trees had uniquely subtle grain patterns, beautiful coloration, and unsurpassed rot-resistance.
When the people and industry of our country began moving west and there was need to clear land and build. Cypress was a
popular choice for many reasons. Cypress logging in the lowlands and Everglades of all the southern states was done with people power then horses, mules and oxen to bring out the logs to the river or canal banks. The loggers gathered them at the banks and then connected them into log rafts to float them to the sawmills. They would spike together a huge amount of logs and then follow along with it to make sure there were no jams. You can see how the "sinker" would happen as there were so many logs, that a few "sinking" off the rafts were left to be discovered later. As transportation developed then steam engines were used to load the trains to go to the mill. This photo shows a log winch loading logs for the trains to the mill.
Back when building was a practiced trade. Cypress was extensively utilized for all types of buildings whether commercial or residential. There was so much demand for it's rot resistant qualities and it's natural beautiful color and graining, that the virgin forest was depleted by the 1940's.
Over the years, as real estate has become more valuable than the old buildings standing on the land, we have been reclaiming this beautiful old wood as it been available from as far north as central Indiana where it had been used to make the cisterns which held the cellulose "mash" used in a gun powder factory.
The Cypress that was used for the cisterns was called "tank grade" and was very high quality, completely clear with consistant, dense graining. We also gathered Antique Heart Cypress many years ago from the Patout Sugar Mill near Franklin LA and it was re-purposed for use in the restoration of the Phipps Conseratory Glass Houses near Pittlburgh PA.