The Historic Value Of Antique Heart Cypress

The Historic Value Of Antique Heart Cypress

Don’t miss the opportunity to add historic value to any home or business through reclaimed, antique heart cypress.


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(Above): Albany Woodworks specializes in beautiful reclaimed, Antique Heart Cypress building materials.  This project is an example of the Antique Heart Cypress and Sinker Cypress custom mill work available on our website.  The consistent quality of our building materials make them look original to the home.

The stability of reclaimed heart cypress is one of the qualities that make it so desired. Also known as “the wood eternal,” it originates from the virgin cypress swamp forests and marshlands of the Gulf South which grew for thousands of years.  The natural resiliency and insect rot-resistance properties makes it a popular option for both indoor and outdoor applications.   Antique Cypress is unique because it was harvested from Louisiana and other southern states hundreds of years ago. It was used to build warehouses and industrial facilities, and as a result is well-seasoned and very durable from natural aging. As new wood becomes limited from environmental issues, reclaimed lumber is a sustainable resource that is recycled and protects the nation’s forests for future generations.

The Bald Cypress and Red Tidewater Cypress, are two species of cypress trees that make up some of the planet’s most important ecosystems. Consequently, safeguarding this kind of wetland area is key in order to sustain a healthy natural environment.  Due to high demand during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, cypress forests were heavily harvested until few of the original giants of the forests remained. Antique Heart Cypress, ranging from a distinctive gold to a red or dark brown, has plenty of natural character and unique grain pattern.  It is best with a clear finish to let the inner beauty of the wood shine. It is also a great option for companies and commercial spaces for grand furnishings and solid wood details.

The cypress forests of the south were very lucrative to loggers of the eighteenth and ninteenth century. The majority of cypress trees and shrubs blocking access to the swamp forests were removed manually. Loggers needed to be innovative in their methods to transport the huge logs once they were harvested. With railroads scarce at the time, loggers would drift their own wood downstream on makeshift rafts to lumber mills. The giant cypress trees were precut or ‘girdled’ ahead of time so the wood had a chance to dry out. This would make the wood lighter in weight and easier to float down river.  However, these precautions didn’t guarantee buoyancy and numerous logs known as ‘sinkers’ became waterlogged and sank to the riverbed below.  A few companies have made a business of rescuing these ancient logs from the bottom of rivers and ponds.  The result is Sinker Cypress, which has all of the same desirable qualities of Antique Heart Cypress. It has the addition of a natural greenish-gray hue that is created by mineral deposits from its time underwater.

These days, it is the wealth of color and distinctive feathery grain of reclaimed, Antique Heart Cypress that make it so famously desired. The infamous builder Frank Lloyd Wright frequently utilized cypress within his designs. Wright’s buildings, appreciated for their simplicity of design and openess. He often made use of the excellent style and dual functionality of cypress. He would place Antique Heart Cypress beams inside and outside without concern for the effect of the elements on this “eternal” wood. Antique Heart Cypress continues to be a favorite choice for flooring, doorways, cabinets, and stairparts because of its classic elegance.

While it may seem pricey to use old-growth wood rather than new-growth wood, the advantages pay off over the long life of the slow-aged reclaimed, Antique Heart Cypress. Old-growth wood is naturally durable and can be even more stunning as the cypress grow older. Since Antique Heart Cypress is reclaimed from old buildings and warehouses. There are often original nail holes along with original saw marks from when it was first milled.  This look is opted for in historic renovations for the distinctive characteristics that were desired by homeowners.  With the majority of the country’s wood currently being harvested from new-growth forests, there is a reason to understand and appreciate the value of reclaimed Antique Heart Cypress.

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