Sometimes you just have to expect the unexpected in the lumber industry.
Normally, J. Gibson McIlvain receives several shipments of Ipe over 3-4 months. As we sell and ship out the first arrivals, we make room for the next influx of one of our top-selling species of wood. Well, this year was different. When Europe didn’t place their usual Ipe orders this year, Brazilian mills shipped to US buyers all at once what they had expected to sell overseas. When we realized we had an entire year’s worth of Ipe on the way, we honestly had no idea where we would store all that unexpected lumber!
Of course, with Ipe’s unrivalled weather-resistant qualities, we weren’t generally worried about exposure to the elements—except one: Sunlight. While the strength and durability of Ipe is certainly not compromised by the effects of the sun, Ipe’s appearance is. Like many woods, sunlight causes graying to take place. The only way to avoid the discoloration is to treat wood regularly—not something we wanted to try to do with all the board feet we had on hand!
Just when we were fresh out of ideas for how to handle this overwhelming need for storage, Hurricane Sandy hit, and we saw first-hand how what appeared to be a fiscal crisis helped pave the way for disaster cleanup. (Call it Providence, luck, or whatever you please, but this situation certainly invites wonder.)
With so many decks, boardwalks, and other outdoor structures in need of repair and replacement, we suddenly had plenty of orders to fill with the Ipe we’d expected to overflow our lumberyard. In the mean time, though, because of the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy, our supply chain along the storm-affected areas was broken down for a few weeks, slowing deliveries to many regular customers.
In the wake of such devastation along the Jersey and Long Island coasts, we’re thrilled that we were able to quickly help provide the raw materials needed to help get back them on their feet.
Coastal communities continue to rebuild throughout the winter & spring, hoping to complete cosmetic repairs in time for tourists to enjoy beachfront vacations, because tourism contributes significantly to local economies. For homeowners rebuilding their decks to tourist attractions replacing boardwalks, J. Gibson McIlvain will be able to continue supplying high-quality Ipe.
At the same time, as summer approaches, some board sizes will become scarce, just as they do every year. However, we are confident that we’ll be able to meet the needs of beach communities in need of rebuilding as well as regular decking customers. Feel free to inquire regarding specific RFQs, and we’ll promptly provide a quote and shipping estimate.
We continue to hope that the East Coast will recover fully from the devastation caused by Sandy and will continue to help rebuild in any ways we can.