If you have visited Frye Boot’s Manhattan or Boston stores, you’ve stood on Hull wide plank Oak floors. Frye Boot, the oldest continually operated shoe brand in the United States, wanted the design and visual merchandising of its stores to reference their long history of shoemaking, and they turned to “raw” ingredients like wood, leather, and metal to convey the company’s brand heritage. Hull Forest Products provided ten inch wide live sawn solid White Oak flooring for the New York store and eight inch wide live sawn White Oak flooring for the Boston location. Both floors are rustic grade, with occasional knots and character markings, and both were given a dark multi-tonal stain to help create the “vintage workshop” feel envisioned by the Frye’s design team.
Union, Connecticut– In the summer of 2014, biologists from Audubon Connecticut and scientists from the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station teamed up to conduct bird habitat assessments on privately owned woodlands across the state, with the goal of helping landowners take steps to enhance bird habitat in their forests. Connecticut has faced forest fragmentation and an ensuing loss of variety in bird habitats, but intensively managed working woodlands can provide a range of critical habitats, from the unfragmented interior forest habitat favored by neotropical migrating birds like the Scarlet Tanager, pictured above, to the early successional habitat favored by shrubland and grassland birds.
Among the woodlands assessed was the Myers Pond Forest in Union, a 450-acre woodland owned by Hull Forestlands and managed by Hull Forest Products, a CT sawmill and woodland management service. Permanently protected with a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy, Hull’s Myers Pond Forest is surrounded by the 8,000 acre Yale University Forest, creating a large tract of contiguous woodland. The property has been formally managed for timber production for over a century, and most recently has undergone harvests to remove diseased Hemlock and promote White Pine regeneration.
Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Connecticut, was impressed with the quality of the bird habitat at the Myers Pond Forest as well as the way in which Hull’s forest management activities had led to forest regeneration. He hailed the property as “truly one of the crown jewels of forestland in Connecticut.” Jeffrey Ward, Chief Scientist at the Dept. of Forestry and Horticulture at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment station, declared the Myers Pond Forest the “best managed property he had seen” so far in their bird habitat assessments, which included over 25 properties in Connecticut.
In southern New England, residential development and suburbanization have contributed to forest fragmentation, and as forest parcels grow smaller and smaller, they provide less viable habitat for birds. Smaller parcels also make it more difficult to practice forest management, and as a result, there is less variety of bird habitat. In contrast, when timber harvests are periodically conducted as part of a forest management plan, they create temporary openings in the woods that quickly regenerate to shrubbery, then young forest, eventually growing into mature forest, and they provide a variety of bird habitats in the process.
Hull Forestlands and Hull Forest Products are proud of their role in contributing critical habitat to Connecticut’s birds and grateful that Audubon Connecticut was able to perform the assessments and provide feedback for landowners.
The first floors we milled at Hull Forest Products nearly fifty years ago were wide pine floors, and wide plank pine continues to be one of our best selling wood floors for kitchens and other rooms. New England homeowners (and many others with antique, farmhouse, or period inspired homes) love traditional wide pine. There is something about the width and length of the planks, the large sound red knots, and the patina that develops that makes a wide pine floor charming. The floor has an heirloom quality.
Customers often come to us looking for a floor that emulates the look and feel of old pumpkin pine or heart pine at a reasonable price, so we show them how our clients have chosen to finish their new wide pine floors to mimic the look of an antique floor. See Figure 1 above for an example, and check out our pine flooring gallery for many others.
Some of you may be familiar with the living history museum, Old Sturbridge Village. They used our wide pine floors for their Oliver Wight Tavern Building. If you get a chance to visit there, be sure to check out this floor (shown in Figure 2 below). It is an interesting example as it had no finish applied at all and has been left to weather the heavy public foot traffic in the buff.
We source our flooring grade pine from the historic Myers Pond and Yale University Forests in Connecticut, harvesting only during the cold winter months so we get the best color retention. We mill our wide pine floors from logs predominantly twelve feet and longer, selecting for even growth and live red knots.
Wide pine flooring lovers are often history buffs, so you may be interested to know that the Eastern White Pine tree played a role in the American Revolution. Because it grows so tall, Eastern White Pine has long been used for the masts of ships, and the British Navy tried to reserve the tallest White Pines in the colonies for the masts of British naval vessels. When an act to this effect was enforced in New Hampshire, it outraged the colonists. Though forbidden to cut “any pine tree of the growth of 12 inches of diameter,” it became unfashionable to have floorboards in one’s home that were less than 12 inches wide.
In 1772 a sawmill owner in Weare, New Hampshire was arrested and fined when white pine logs with the king’s broad arrow mark were found at his mill. He and a group of about 40 townspeople rioted, attacking the sheriff and his deputy and literally running them out of town in what became known as the Pine Tree Riot. This act of rebellion against British authority was an inspiration for the Boston Tea Party, which took place the following year.
For those of you who appreciate the “story” that boards can tell, see figure 3, below. This is a truly unique pine board with a very old pruning mark that was revealed when the log was sawn. (Thanks to Tom Fletcher in our flooring shop for spotting this.) The flat dark lines at the ends of the knots indicate where the tree was pruned. As you can see, the tree healed quickly and went on to produce clear grain. This board is 24″ wide and comes from a tree with an estimated age of 125-175 years.
Visit our gallery of wide plank pine floors for more information and to browse photos showing how the application of stains and/or finishes can change the look of a wide pine floor.
For quotes or samples, email us or call 1-800-928-9602.
Thinking about installing a wide plank wood floor in your kitchen? You’re not alone. Adding wood flooring is one of the most popular kitchen upgrades. And homeowners adding wood flooring are likely to see a return on their investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, homes with real wood floors are easier to sell, sell faster, and sell for more money than homes without them.
Wood Floors Establish A Tone
Wood adds warmth and interest to a kitchen like no other floor covering can. Because floors are generally the largest visible canvas in your kitchen, they set the backdrop for your furnishings and the tone for the space. Wood floors connote quality and craftsmanship, and wide plank floors can be used to convey a sense of luxury or history. (Retailers know that customers associate wood floors with quality, so they will often upgrade stores by installing wood flooring in key areas.) Installing wood flooring in your kitchen immediately raises its profile.
Since durability is especially important in high-traffic areas like kitchens, we recommend the use of harder woods such as red oak, white oak, hard maple, hickory, and ash wherever wear is a concern. But some folks find wear charming and they want a wood floor that will develop a patina more quickly. It really depends on your tolerance for dings, dents, and wear. In an old house you may want to choose a floor that looks like it belongs there, such as the wide pine kitchen floor shown in Figure 2.
Choosing a contrasting tone floor is one way to go, as shown in figures 1 and 3. On the other hand, if you love the wood tone of your kitchen cabinetry and want to build on that color, consider choosing a similar wood tone for your floor.
You can also add interest and character to your kitchen with rustic or figured wide plank wood floors. The owners of the New England kitchen shown in Figure 5 chose natural grade Ash wood flooring for its durability as well as for its character markings and color variation–then they stained the floor to emphasize the open grain and achieve a darker tone that suited their tastes. The result was a kitchen wood floor with character that has proved to be one of our most popular wood floors.
Looking to contrast darker cabinetry and finishes with a lighter colored wood floor? Check out the pale White Oak kitchen floor shown in Figure 6. The homeowners chose a lighter tone floor to contrast with their cabinetry and trim and went with all five inch planks rather than random widths in order to emphasize the contemporary design of their home.
In case you need more reasons to choose a wide plank wood floor for your kitchen, don’t forget that wood floors have an exceptionally long service life, which makes them an attractive investment. Solid wood floors have a service life of 100+ years, and they can be sanded and refinished many times as homeowner tastes change. And that’s just one advantage.
Environmental Advantages of Wood Floors
Wood is a renewable and eco-friendly building and finish material. Solid wood floors require less energy to produce than any other type of floor covering, and they hold up to the scrutiny of life cycle analysis. Choosing responsibly sourced wood floors helps conserve working forests, which provide ecological benefits in the form of enhanced air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and carbon sequestration. Learn more about what makes wood good.
You are invited to join Mike Bartlett and Michele Wood of Hull Forest Products for a Woodland Ambassador Tour at the Wood family forest, 83 Blood Road in Putnam, CT, on Saturday April 26 from 10-noon. (Raindate April 27). Three generations of the Wood family and forester Mike Bartlett will lead a tour of the property. Topics discussed will include invasive species, timber sales, and how to manage woodlands for wildlife habitat, tree growth, and health. If you are wondering about the future of your own forest, this is a great opportunity to meet other landowners, foresters, and land trust members to share information and ask questions. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Light refreshments will be served. This event is sponsored by the Southern New England Heritage Forest Partnership (SNEHFP),The Last Green Valley, Inc., and the Eastern CT Forest Landowners Association/Wolf Den Land Trust.
Hull Forest Products is proud to exhibit for the first time at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show #ADHDS 2014. We’ve been sending a lot of floors to the NYC area lately, so we thought it was time to exhibit in this neck of the woods. Thanks to the hard work of all our employees, we put together a great booth featuring our North American White Oak, Red Oak, Hard Maple, Walnut, Ash, Birch, and Curly Maple wood flooring.
Pomfret, CT, February 4, 2014 – Hull Forest Products has been awarded a “Best Of Houzz” design award by Houzz.com, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The family-run forestry service, sawmill, and wide plank flooring manufacturer was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users who comprise the Houzz community. This award goes to those whose work was the most popular among Houzz users, who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, and ipad/iphone/android apps.
“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 been so popular with the Houzz community,” said Mary Hull, co-owner of Hull Forest Products. “People feel good about choosing our floors because they are beautiful, durable, and sustainably grown products whose use helps protect working forests here in the United States.”
With Houzz, homeowners can identify top-rated products like Hull Forest Products’s wide plank floors and find companies whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.
The lengths of the floor boards you choose for your room will have a big impact on the overall look of your floor. Longer plank lengths create a clean visual line because there are fewer end or butt seams/joints (places where the ends of the boards butt up against each other). In fact, depending on the dimensions of your room, you might be able to eliminate butt seams all together by using long planks. We frequently get requests from clients looking for long planks in order to avoid butt joints on their floor.
In contrast, using shorter planks will result in more end seams on your floor, and if you go with especially short boards, you will get a patchwork effect. See figure 2, below:
At Hull Forest Products we offer two plank length classes: long and extra long. Long is our standard length class, which features much longer average plank lengths than other manufacturers (generally 3 to 8 feet long), but at the most budget friendly price. Extra long (generally 4 to 10+feet with a 7 foot+ average plank length) is for those who want an extra luxurious long and wide plank floor.
To get long and extra long plank lengths, we have to start with very high quality timber so we can saw it full length off the log without having to cut around defects. Most wood floors out there today feature shorter plank lengths because they are made by cutting around defects in lower quality wood.
Long and wide floor planks are our specialty; please let us know what we can make for you. 1-800-928-9602.
The owners of this New Hampshire timber frame home wanted a neutral tone wood floor and they came to Hull Forest Products for select grade sapwood-only Ash wood flooring, which they chose for its hardness, beauty, and–most importantly–its neutral “blonde” color. They did not want their flooring to compete or clash with the warm color of their Cherry cabinetry and Douglas Fir trim. To preserve the pale color of the Ash floor, they finished the floor with Arboritec 20, a clear water-based satin poly finish. A water-based poly provides a clear coat that will not amber with age, so it is a good choice for those interested in pale colored wood floors.
“We chose this product primarily because it is the clearest poly finish available,” said the homeowners. “We did not want to use an oil-based poly because we thought the yellow discoloration that an oil-based polyurethane finish acquires with age would obscure the blonde wood color and clash with the reds in the frame, trim, and cabinetry.” And they have been very pleased with the results. The finish, which was put down in four coats, has proven to be very durable.
The husband and wife team behind this home first drafted a design for their dream timber frame, and brought it to Bonin Architects, who turned the idea into a beautiful home plan. Next they called on Timberpeg to cut their home’s frame from Douglas Fir, and on builder Old Hampshire Designs to put up the frame and shell and make it weather tight.
The couple joined forces to act as general contractors for their home, and also did much of the subcontracting (including the interior framing, electrical, and plumbing) while simultaneously holding down full-time jobs. Though challenged to find the time necessary to complete their home, the result was a labor of love and a beautiful modern interpretation of an Arts & Crafts home.
You can view more photos of this home in the Hull Forest Products Ash Flooring Gallery and you can check out the photos at our profile on Houzz.com.
Have questions about our wood floors? Contact us 1-800-928-9602.
To date we have permanently protected over 10,000 acres of our Massachusetts and Connecticut woodlands from development. These working forests provide so many public benefits, including enhanced air and water quality, large unfragmented wildlife habitat, critical wintering and staging areas for migratory waterfowl, carbon sequestration, and a steady supply of timber to meet society’s demand for sustainably grown, renewable building materials.
As part of our commitment to multiple use in our forestland (wildlife, timber, recreation), we lease some of these large forestland properties to individuals and groups interested in exclusive hunting leases and recreational access. The properties generally include access roads, gates, and miles of trails. Some even have warming cabins with wood stoves. Our clients include fish & game clubs whose suburban locations do not allow them to hunt deer; bird dog trial enthusiasts; hunters; and outdoorsmen and women of all kinds. Some of our lease clients have been with us for over 30 years, allowing them and their families to develop a special connection with the land.
For more information on our recreational leasing program, visit us at hullforest.com and click on the “Forestry” tab.