What McIlvain Lumber Quality Really Means, Part 1.
“Quality” is one of those words that gets thrown around so often, that its meaning becomes blurred. At J. Gibson McIlvain, we pride ourselves on supplying high-quality lumber, but you may be wondering exactly what we mean by that. Our quality-control process is not a secret, and we’re excited about sharing it with anyone who wants to know.
Fully Researched Sources
Quality control at J. Gibson McIlvain begins at the source, whether we’re dealing with a domestic or imported species. As a direct importer, we buy lumber from other continents, but we never begin a relationship with a supplier, site unseen. We visit each individual sawmill, checking out its harvesting, sawing, drying, and shipping-preparation practices.
Especially with exotic lumber species, with which the legality and sustainability of harvesting can be of concern, we take special care to do our homework regarding local ordinances and the paper trail throughout the supply chain. By making sure that the lumber being milled has the quality we know our customers require before it ever leaves the mill, we can greatly improve the chances that what we receive in our lumber yard will be suitable for even the most discriminating clients.
Continued Local Checks
After J. Gibson McIlvain’s own first-hand initial inspection, lumber mills from which we source our products do not go un-checked. We contract with local independent graders to completely and thoroughly document our inspection and grading forms, which are delivered to us with photographs included, before the shipments are approved to leave the mill. In that way, we can be assured that the lumber we secure meets our high standards before it even arrives on site at our Maryland headquarters, saving valuable time and money.
Detailed Arrival Inspection
Domestic and exotic lumber species come through our Maryland headquarters, after which they may be sent to any of our other locations or directly to our highly valued clients. We unload and inspect each shipment, board by board. This tedious but necessary process allows our highly trained grading specialists to effectively categorize each board; because they are skilled in recognizing species-specific characteristics, they are uniquely suited to this task. Our graders also know the unique desires of particular clients and can determine the suitability of lumber to their requirements.
Careful Initial Processing
After the initial sorting process, we carefully label, stack, and dry the lumber. Drying techniques vary by species: Depending on the species, the stable 6-8% standard moisture content for North America may mean air drying, kiln drying, or immediate yard storage. For most of the exotic lumber we carry, the typical timeline includes a 1- to 4-month air-drying period, followed by kiln drying. Domestic species often require less drying time, unless we purchase them green.
The quality control process doesn’t end there, as we’ll see in part 2 of this important series. At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we’re truly committed to delivering quality lumber products to our customers and take every step we can to make that happen.