By A. Woody
If you’re anything like me, you tend to want to know the why of things. Like, why does the moon look bigger when it’s lower in the sky? Why are Steven Segal movies so bad, and yet so good? And, why does an oak floor from northern mills usually cost more than one from a southern mill? Well I can only speak to the last question, but I do like Segal movies.
It’s true in wine that the best usually start from the best grapes, and the best grapes are grown in geographic regions that provide ideal conditions to bring out the full complexities of the grape. The same thing can
be said for trees. The conditions that impact the growth of trees are the seasonal changes, the average rainfall, the soil conditions and forestry practices.
The first thing to understand is what a hardwood really is. Just because it’s a hardwood, doesn’t mean it’s hard wood. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees or the trees that lose their leaves in the fall. Unlike their cohabiting partner, the conifer or evergreen trees, deciduous trees truly reflect the seasonal changes they go through. These changes are evident in the timber. Just like you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings, character traits like color, mineral streaks, grain structure and overall size are the tell tail signs of what that tree went through in its growth.
Trees from regions with longer growing seasons like the southern states, will produce timber that has greater color variations and bolder grain structure since there is more time for the tree to develop more fiber during it’s longer growing season. Once the tree loses its leaves, it enters a dormant stage and stops growing. Trees growing in northern environments have shorter growing seasons and, therefore, develop tighter structures and a more uniform color. They also tend to be smaller and, therefore, take longer to grow to harvestable sizes. For these reasons, northern woods cost more.
Aside from simple latitude, there is some impact from regions. Appalachian woods are grown in a central region at a higher elevation, which has an impact on the growth of the tree respectful of it’s growth timing and environment. It’s true that you get what you pay for. This may seem a little too detailed for most people, but for a real woody like me it’s important and we take the time to make sure when you buy from us you know exactly what you’re getting. You will never pay more for a product from us, but rest assured you will know just what you are paying for. The rest is up to you.