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Bill Hull & Hull Forest Products Receive Aldo Leopold Conservation Award

Bill Hull of Hull Forest Products received the 2019 Aldo Leopold Award for conserving working forests in the Northeast.

Hull Forest Products founder Bill Hull is the first New England recipient of the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. Presented by the Sand County Foundation, New England Forestry Foundation, and American Farmland Trust, the award recognized outstanding achievement in the voluntary conservation of natural resources by American foresters, farmers, and ranchers.

Bill Hull showed an affinity for trees in his childhood Rhode Island backyard. By the age of 15 he convinced a local farmer to lend him the money to purchase a forest. He paid off the loan (with interest) two years later, and was on his way to becoming one of New England’s leading foresters.

While earning a forestry degree at the University of New Hampshire, Hull got his start in the lumber business sawing white oaks into barrel staves on an old-fashioned circular sawmill. Despite market downturns and collapses, bankruptcy scares, and several devastating fires, he bootstrapped a tiny business into the largest sawmill in southern New England. Today, Hull Forest Products manufactures more than 10 million board feet of lumber into sustainable building materials each year, including wood flooring sold mill-direct to the public.

With a business dependent on healthy, productive forests, he launched a woodland management division staffed with licensed foresters to help other landowners keep their woodlands intact by providing them a viable financial return.

He’s acquired more than 27,000 acres of forestland with a single-minded dedication for conserving working forests that provide bird and wildlife habitat and biodiversity across New England. In addition, Hull Forest Products manages thousands of acres of client woodlands in the Northeast, helping landowners grow value in their woods while keeping their forests as forests.

Hull Forest Products, which employs 80 people, is a family of forestland owner-investors working in the combined fields of forest management, timber harvesting, and wood products manufacturing and marketing.

Hull credits his rural background with teaching him that growing and harvesting trees helps the environment through increased wildlife habitat, improved air and water quality, and carbon sequestration. He has voluntarily placed conservation easements on 90 percent of his southern New England forests.

The Hull family has permanently protected 27,740 acres of forestland through Hull Forestlands, much of which is FSC-certified. By removing the possibility of development, it ensures that working forests will remain a source of timber for generations to come. These unique and environmentally important landscapes are home to wetlands, streams, and forests that sustain drinking water supplies for urban areas, and provide habitat for migratory waterfowl.

In 2000, Hull Forestlands participated in the largest private land protection project in Massachusetts history by permanently preserving more than 8,000 acres of working forestland. The Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs hailed the innovative project that spread across five watersheds in Massachusetts and Connecticut as a “regional model for innovative conservation of natural resources.”

“Bill Hull has been protecting and sustainably managing New England’s forests for decades, and New England Forestry Foundation is thrilled to recognize his tireless work with the Leopold Conservation Award,” said Bob Perschel, Executive Director of New England Forestry Foundation. “Over the decades, Bill has helped break new ground be introducing conservation methods like large-scale conservation easements, and he remains a key partner in our efforts to achieve a region-wide vision of forest protection and responsible management.”

“Bill Hull exemplifies the ideals of Aldo Leopold. His commitment to his industry, land conservation, community, and to the land on which he has built his legacy make him an ideal recipient of New England’s first Leopold Conservation Award,” said Nathan W. L’Etoile, New England Director of American Farmland Trust. “Like Bill, thousands of farmers, foresters, and forestland owners are working every day to protect land, provide clean water and air, combat climate change and produce safe, wholesome, high quality food and fiber for their communities.”

“Leopold Conservation Award recipients are at the forefront of a movement by America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters to simultaneously achieve economic and environmental success,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

The New England Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of New England Forestry Foundation, American Farmland Trust-New England, The John Merck Fund, The Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation, Wildlands and Woodlands, Whole Foods Market, David and Ann Ingram, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation on private land, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional foresters, ranchers and farmers. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac; Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. He wrote it was “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.

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2019 Sawmill Tour at Hull Forest Products

Join us for our sawmill tour! Connecticut’s largest sawmill, Hull Forest Products, will host free sawmill tours of its forest products manufacturing facility in Pomfret Center, CT on Saturday October 19, 2019 from 8 am to 2 pm. Learn about forest management, timber harvesting, and wood manufacturing, and watch as local timber is transformed into finished products before your eyes. Observe the forest-to-floor process and develop a greater understanding of where local wood products come from and how they are made. Participants will also learn how using local wood helps conserve local forests.

This is a great “how it’s made” tour for all ages, free and open to the public, offered in conjunction with The Last Green Valley’s Walktober.

Hull Forest Products sawmill in Pomfret, CT
View of the Hull Forest Products sawmill, located in Pomfret, CT.

Where: Hull Forest Products, 101 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center, CT 06259

When: Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8 am to 2 pm.

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Wide Plank Wood Flooring Sawn Locally in CT – A New England Tradition

Hull Forest Products of Pomfret, Connecticut, has been making traditional wide plank wood flooring since the family sawmill got its start in New England over 54 years ago.  The company began as a tiny backyard mill and evolved  to become the largest sawmill in Connecticut, manufacturing over 10 million board feet of forest products each year.

View of the Hull Forest Products sawmill today, located in Pomfret, CT.

Today thousands of homes and buildings in New England and beyond, including storied institutions like Yale and Harvard,  feature custom wide plank wood flooring from this third generation family-run sawmill.

Hull Forest Products Oak flooring Yale University
Hull Forest Products made custom wide plank wood floors for Yale University’s newest residential colleges,  including flooring for the head of college houses. Photo credit: Otto/Pete Aaron for RAMSA Architects.

Wide Plank Wood Flooring Made With Sustainable Local Timber

Made with sustainable local timber coming from family forests in New England, Hull wide plank wood flooring adds beauty to your home and gives you the satisfaction of knowing where your wood comes from. The woodland management division of Hull Forest Products stewards over 50,000 acres of New England forests, providing long-term forest management to landowners and helping them keep their forests as forests.

Hull Forest Products has earned an Environmental Merit Award from the EPA for its role in helping to conserve the region’s working woodlands. When you choose a Hull wood floor, you are helping to conserve forests in the United States.

Dormitories and common areas at Yale’s Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges feature Hull Forest Products flooring. Photo credit: Otto/Pete Aaron for RAMSA Architects.

Mill-Direct Wide Plank Wood Flooring – Lifetime Quality Guarantee

Hull Forest Products specializes in long and wide plank wood floors and custom matching stair components – all products are made to last for generations, and customers receive a lifetime quality guarantee.  Wood products are sold mill-direct to the public with nationwide shipping.

Shop the company’s  custom wide plank floors at hullforest.com  or visit the Hull Forest Products wood flooring showroom at 101 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center, CT 06259 (open daily 8-4, nights/weekends by appointment)  1-800-928-9602.

Hull siblings and business partners at the family sawmill.
Hull siblings Sam, Mary, and Ben (shown at the Hull Forest Products sawmill in Pomfret, CT)  carry the family business forward today.

 

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Four Family-Friendly Sustainable Forestry Events This Fall in New England

September 2018 –

Hull Forest Products, southern New England’s largest sawmill and woodland management service, is participating in four family-friendly educational events this fall that highlight sustainable forestry in New England. We hope you will join us to learn about working forests and the many benefits they provide to our region!

Each fall  the Hull Forest Products forestry division offers guided woods walks of woodlands managed by Hull Forest Products to help teach the public about working forests and sustainable forestry.

Hull Forest Products will be at Celebrating Agriculture Day at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, September 22, 2018.

  1. Celebrating Agriculture Day, Saturday September 22, 2018  9am – 3pm at the Woodstock Fairgrounds in Woodstock, CT.  Celebrating Agriculture Day started in 2001 as part of an effort to promote community education and participation in agriculture, as well as to support consumer purchasing of local farm products. Each year, the goal is to welcome more people to learn who our farm neighbors are, and how to support local agriculture to enrich and maintain the open space — the working landscape — of our area. Hull Forest Products will be on hand with information about working forests and how they provide many public benefits. We’ll also have samples of our USA-made wood flooring on display.
  2. The Massachusetts Outdoor Expo (The Big Moe), Sunday September 23, 2018 at the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club, Sturbridge, MA from 9am -4pm. Free admission, free parking. With over 45 outdoor activity stations ranging from building bird nest boxes (with pine lumber donated by Hull Forest Products) to archery, shotgun, fishing, and wilderness survival skills, this is a great event for the kids.
  3. Family Forest Tour, from 10 am – 11:30 am on Saturday October 13, 2018 at 68 Ballamahack Road, Windham, CT.  Join Hull Forest Products foresters Chris Casadei and Michelle Wood as they lead a two-mile walk at the Andrychowski Family Forest, a 100-acre property that has been actively managed for timber production for over 40 years.  Participants will learn about recent forest management practices on this working landscape and observe several different forest types,  evidence of colonial settlement. and beautiful views of the adjacent Lake Marie on the Joshua’s Trust property.  Directions: From Route 14 take Ballamahack Road 200 feet past mailbox #68; the road turns sharply left; park in the field on the right at the sharp turn. For more info. contact Hull Forest Products (860) 974-0127.
  4. Hatchet Hill Hike, from 1:30-3:30 pm, Sunday October 21, 2018 at 1914 Eastford Road (Route 198) Woodstock, CT.  Join Hull Forest Products forester Mike Bartlett for a guided 1.5-mile woods walk in the Walker Family Woodland, which has been managed for recreation, wildlife, and forest products for over 60 years. This walk includes interesting geological features and one of the best scenic vistas in the Last Green Valley.  Directions:  The forest is located on the west side of Route 198, two miles north of the intersection of Routes 198 & 197. For more info. contact Hull Forest Products (860) 974-0127.
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Hull Forest Products Partners with National Wood Flooring Association

Intermediate installation training at NWFA University, with Hull Forest Products.

Flooring installers attending a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) University class at the NYC District Carpenters Union in July 2018 were treated to lunch and a presentation by Hull Forest Products, Connecticut’s largest hardwood sawmill and a great resource for contractors in the New York/New Jersey and Boston metro areas.

Flooring sales consultant Belinda Culp was on hand to answer questions and present the installers with information on Hull’s manufacturing, which includes custom unfinished and prefinished solid wood floors, nested bundle floors, trim, moulding, and staircase parts.

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Hull Forest Products Wood Floors Earn Best of Houzz Award

Hull Forest Products Earns Best of Houzz Award for its Wood Floors

Hull Forest Products just earned the “Best Of Houzz 2018”  customer service award – the company’s sixth award in a row from  Houzz.com, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

“We work hard to make wood floors like no one else, and we are thrilled that our American-grown and manufactured wide plank floors have proved so popular with the Houzz community,” says Mary Hull, co-owner of Hull Forest Products.  “People feel good about choosing our floors because they are unique, beautiful, sustainable products whose use helps protect working  forests here in the United States.”

“We’re delighted to recognize Hull Forest Products among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,” said Liza Hausman, vice-president of industry marketing for Houzz.

Follow Hull Forest Products on Houzz or browse our wood floors at hullforest.com.

Best of Houzz awards won by Hull Forest Products in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

 

 

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Five Reasons To Love Live Sawn White Oak Floors

Modern kitchen with wide plank live sawn wood floors
Live sawn wood floors are sawn straight off the log, allowing for wide planks with a variety of grain patterns.

Live sawn White Oak floors are a customer favorite, with good reason. This type of wide plank wood flooring has beautiful and unique grain, is extremely durable, and offers excellent value. Read on to learn more of what’s to love about the live sawn cut:

1.  Live sawing is a traditional method of sawing wood flooring that creates a beautiful grain pattern.

Live sawn White Oak floors are also known as “European center cut floors” or “French Oak floors” because this saw cut was popular in the old world. The saw passes straight through the log from the outside diameter through the heart, creating the widest possible boards and utilizing as much of each log as possible.

Oak log sits on log deck waiting to be live sawn
An oak log sits on deck at the Hull Forest Products sawmill in Connecticut. When we are making live sawn wood floors, our band mill makes a series of straight cuts all the way through the log.

Because each live sawn plank contains a mix of clear and natural grade wood, the flooring is an accurate representation of the inside of each individual tree.  Wide live sawn planks include some of each of the grain styles:  rift sawn, quarter sawn, and plain (also known as flat) sawn.

Diagram of the four types of saw cuts
Illustration 1: This graphic demonstrates the different types of saw cuts and the resulting grain pattern of the boards.

2.  Live sawn wood flooring is an extremely durable wide plank flooring choice.

Live sawn planks contain both radial grain (grain that runs perpendicular to the growth rings) and tangential grain (grain that runs parallel to the growth rings). This grain mix makes live sawn boards very stable – even at wider plank widths. We dry the floor boards carefully and mill the backs with stress relief to prevent cupping. As a result, we confidently offer our live sawn White Oak solid wood flooring in widths up to 14 inches.

3. Live Sawn White Oak floors are environmentally friendly.

The live sawn cut offers the best resource utilization of all the saw cuts.  It conserves the majority of the log with very little waste. Superior resource utilization is one reason why this cut was so popular in the old days. Waste not, want not.

4. Live sawn White Oak wood floors work with  modern and traditional interiors.

Live sawn white oak wood floors in a new timber frame home
Live sawn White Oak wood flooring in a new timber frame home.

Live sawn oak floors are a classic flooring look that adds a welcome organic element of wood and warmth to any interior. Browse photos of our live sawn wood floors in a variety of interior styles. 

5. Live sawn floors offer excellent value

Live sawn White Oak floors offer one of the best values in wide plank flooring. They are an affordable luxury compared to their close cousins, rift and quarter sawn floors. (Rift and quartersawn floors result in a higher waste factor so they are more expensive.) Live sawn floors offer a very wide plank floor with the stability of quarter and rift sawn floors at a fraction of the price.

Shop Live Sawn White Oak floors

Read Customer Reviews

We hope you’ll stop by the wide plank flooring showroom at our Connecticut sawmill, or have a sample mailed to you. We ship our floors nationwide.

Give us a call today at 1-800-928-9602 to order a sample and request a quote – or email us. You can also visit us online at www.hullforest.com.

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Wide Plank Wood Flooring In The Kitchen

Wide plank wood flooring in the kitchen? Yes. Wood adds a warm and organic element to what is often the most modern room in the house. Wood also contrasts well with sleek or metal kitchen surfaces. On trend for 2018,  more homeowners are choosing to add wide plank flooring as a way to put their unique imprint on kitchen remodels.

Here are a few examples of kitchens that created one-of-a-kind looks with our custom wide plank wood flooring:

Warm colored cherry wood floors brighten an all white kitchen.
Our select grade American Cherry wide plank wood flooring brings color to a white kitchen.

Imagine the white kitchen above with a more neutral color floor – without the reddish floor, this room would have a totally different look. The rich red hue of the American Cherry plank flooring really warms up this kitchen’s color palette.

Warming up a white kitchen with a variegated wood floor.
Our  premium grade American Hickory wood flooring with grain and color variation enlivens an all white kitchen.

The wide plank hickory floor in the modern Boston kitchen shown above also adds warmth and interest to an all white kitchen, but in a very different way. In this case, the wood character and the color variation between hickory’s pale sapwood and darker brown heartwood create the wow factor.

figured grain of curly birch wood flooring adds interest to a white kitchen
Our Curly Birch wide plank flooring in a coastal kitchen, Newport Beach, California.

Another white kitchen, the California example (shown above) used figured Birch wood flooring to create a unique and contrasting interior.

Also be sure to check out more examples below from our Houzz profile. Hull Forest Products was voted Best of Houzz again – for 2018. This makes seven awards in a row now because our floors and and customer service are so popular with users.

Browse wide plank floors

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Students Study Sustainability at Hull Forest Products

Seniors from Pomfret School’s Environmental Studies class tour Hull Forest Products.

Each year hundreds of students from local elementary schools, high schools, and colleges tour the Hull Forest Products sawmill in Pomfret, CT to learn about forestry and wood products manufacturing. 2017 school groups included students from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Burrillville High School in Rhode Island, and the advanced environmental studies class from nearby Pomfret Preparatory School, where teacher Annie O’Sullivan has been bringing her students to the Hull sawmill for several years now. We asked Ms. O’Sullivan to describe what role Hull Forest Products plays in her students’ learning:

“Our students have had a fantastic time touring Hull each fall for the past couple of years. I first took a tour as a grad school at Yale Forestry, so was eager to connect once I started working at Pomfret. In the fall we have a unit on Forest Ecology, so the students spend time in the Pomfret [School] forest learning their trees and about forest ecosystems in general. They then learn a bit about forestry management and why landowners might cut trees to encourage growth.

I have them think about where their wood products come from (they don’t know, except from Ikea), so that’s why we take the trip to Hull Forest Products. It’s there that the students really grasp for the first time how this natural resource they are so familiar with (red oaks) are turned into the flooring we see towards the end of the tour. They are usually pretty into the debarker and seeing the saws operating with the lasers.

My course is really about educating students about sustainability. Thus, I am trying to get them to understand that we use natural resources like water and food and trees, and that’s okay – being an environmentalist is not about rejecting all commodities. It’s really about how we grow and use them that determines what our future will look like. Hull is an amazing place for the kids to see that process right in front of their eyes.”

-Annie O’Sullivan, Environmental Science Faculty, Pomfret School, Pomfret, Connecticut

Burrillville High School students tour an active timber harvest with Hull forester Chris Casadei to learn how and why woodlands are managed.

In the fall of 2017 students from Burrillville High School had the opportunity to tour an active timber harvest with Hull forester Chris Casadei, seeing how and why particular trees are marked for harvest. The students also toured the Hull sawmill to observe the manufacture of forest products from local logs. Students were able to see the entire process – forests being managed sustainably for the production of timber, the breaking down of logs on on a band head rig, the flow of boards through the sawmill and its dry kilns, and even the secondary manufacturing of flooring from some of this lumber.

Students tour the wood flooring shop at Hull Forest Products to watch as lumber is turned into custom wide plank wood flooring.

Public outreach is an important part of every forester’s job – and we encourage our entire team to help educate the public about the vital role that forests ad forest products  play in our ecosystem and economy.

Want to learn more? You can visit Hull Forest Products at these upcoming events:

March 17, 2018: Connecticut Land Conservation Conference, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
March 22-25: Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Pier 94, NYC
March 23-24: JLC Show, Providence, RI Convention Center
March 27-29: New England Society of American Foresters winter meeting, Nashua, NH: New England Forest Stories – The People – The Management – The Technical Knowledge
July 10-12: NWFA Intermediate Wood Flooring Installation, NYC

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Wood Flooring Sets the Tone for the Contemporary Renovation of an Old House

White stained wide plank pine flooring adds modern flair to a lakehouse.

Clients came to architects David Burdett and Stefanie Werner of DAS Studio  in NYC with a design dilemma: their lakefront house did not take advantage of the property’s views. And the building was divided into many small rooms, creating awkward spaces that were not functional for contemporary living. The clients wanted a clean, light, and modern aesthetic, but they also wanted to pay tribute to their home’s rural setting and past.

The solution that DAS crafted involved gutting the house to create new, larger interior spaces that maximized the lake views.  To honor the homeowner’s modern aesthetic while simultaneously acknowledging the home’s rural location, they came up with the idea to use a very traditional wood floor, wide plank pine flooring, but to finish the floor with a white stain  for a light, clean, modern look. The homeowners, who were both actively involved in researching and selecting the products used in their home, turned to a local sawmill, Hull Forest Products in Pomfret, Connecticut, to make their wood floors.  Hull Forest Products, which ships its floors mill-direct nationwide, was able to supply wide pine floors up to 19 inches wide with plank lengths of 12+ feet.

Grain and color view of white stained Eastern White Pine flooring.

To achieve the look shown above, the floor was stained with one coat of Duraseal Country White. Then the floor was lightly buffed and sanded, and another coat of Country White was applied. The floor was then finished with four coats of Duraseal Traffic water based poly, satin finish. The grain pattern of the pine floors and the white coloring were a perfect match to the project’s design criteria.

To link the three floors of the house functionally and aesthetically, the homeowners commissioned custom thick stair treads from Hull Forest Products, who made them from the same wood used on the floors. The stair treads are a perfect match for the floors, and they create a seamless flow between the home’s three levels. The stairs function as a bridge between floors and time periods, for, as Burdett points out, “the stair design contrasts the chunky heaviness of the solid wood treads with the slender detailing of the [modern] steel stringers and balustrade.”

Custom stair treads from Hull Forest Products

The completed house, with work done by West Mountain Builders of Washington, Connecticut, displays the successfully executed design and vision in every photo. As Burdett says, “It is a contemporary renovation of an older house, working with existing proportions and heights to achieve a contemporary living space that is respectful of the original house.”  The home is a poster child for how to reconfigure an old house to be a gracious and suitable host for a whole new generation.

Resources:

Custom wide plank floors and stairs by Hull Forest Products, CT,  www.hullforest.com

Design by DAS Studio, David Burdett and Stefanie Werner,  www.das-studio.us

Construction by West Mountain Builders, Washington, CT

Photos by Michael Bowman Photography, CT