From lumber sourcing to milling, storing & shipping, we take quality seriously.
At J. Gibson McIlvain, quality is more than a word we use; it’s a way of doing business. From sourcing our lumber to milling, storing, and shipping it, we take quality control seriously. Our quality control process for all species includes multiple inspections, and Ipe decking is no exception.
Because Ipe decking products are typically milled in Brazil before shipping, it’s slightly more difficult for us to monitor them for quality. However, we’ve developed an in-depth process that involves the following: decades of building relationships with trusted sources, our own on-site visits, and inspections by independent third-party agents. All of these factors play a role in helping to ensure that the Ipe decking products we receive meet our high standards of quality.
Initial Source Research
The Brazilian government has a forestry program in place that makes it easy to trace each mill’s sources and business history, making our own research quite easy. We can easily find out who owns the land as well as that particular mill’s history in working with land concessions. Each region has its own regulations, and we become familiar with each before we do business with a mill in a particular geographic region. Our research is then followed by visits to the mills and related land concessions as well as consultation with local legal experts. As we take these steps, we can determine the validity of a mill as well as the integrity of the forest and limitations of its supply. We grade the first shipment ourselves and then re-assess that same shipment when it arrives in our lumber yard.
Once we’ve completed our initial research and our own inspections and have made initial purchases, we contract with local buying agents to provide periodic inspections. They report to us with a detailed checklist of 18 types of defects, along with pictures. In addition to assisting with our own quality control process, this step assists us in providing additional documentation for Lacey Act compliance.
Even with our in-depth quality control system in place, we still prefer to have our own lumber experts inspect the Ipe after its arrival at our lumber yard. Most of the Ipe decking we sell needs to be grooved in order to work with hidden fastening systems, and milling the boards ourselves provides an additional opportunity to inspect each board. If a flaw has been overlooked by independent agents in Brazil, it won’t get past our millwork professionals, as they grade and mill each board.
Consistent high quality Ipe requires the kind of careful communication and inspection detailed above, and that’s the only kind of product we pass along to our customers. Over time, the mills with which we work realize that we won’t accept anything but the best, and they don’t even try sending us any lumber that’s sub-par. Our customers appreciate our longstanding reputation for quality, and we know that each step is important to them, too. We’ve continued the tradition of quality lumber that was begun back in 1798 when HughMcIlvain began his first lumberyard, and we’re not planning to compromise anytime soon.