For all you timber frame enthusiasts, check out this youtube video of the Laird family barn raising. After their barn was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the family hired Todd Mendes Woodworking to build them a new timber frame barn. The timbers were milled from locally grown wood by Hull Forest Products. It is so inspiring to see our timbers used in this way!
Attention Greater Boston residents! Don’t miss the opportunity to see our locally grown wood flooring in person at the Architecture Boston Expo, held at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center, Hall C, November 19-21st 2013. Save yourself the drive to our Connecticut sawmill and check us out while we’re in your back yard. Produced by the Boston Society of Architects, Architecture Boston is the largest regional conference and tradeshow for the design and construction industries.
We’ll be at booth 936 with samples of our different types of locally grown wood flooring: prefinished, unfinished, and engineered. We hope to see you there!
As a valued member of our community, we’re giving you a heads up on our fall woods walks so you can mark your calendar now and save the dates for these free and educational tours:
Town Forest Does the Public Good:
Explore the recent forest management activities initiated by the Preston Redevelopment Agency and Hull Forest Products on land once owned by the Norwich State Hospital mental health facility. This 2-mile, 2-hour hike over moderate terrain includes a large reservoir, panoramic views of the Thames River, beautiful timber, and historic artifacts from the crash of two Navy Hellcats that went down in these woods while practicing night interception maneuvers in October 1944. Date: October 19, 2013 10 am (rain date 10/26/13 10 am) Location: 21 Route 12, Preston, CT Directions: Approximately 1/4 mile north of the junction of Rte.12 and Rte. 2A on the right. Follow signs to a parking area near the reservoir. Contact: Hull forester Chris Casadei (860) 235-6550
Forest to Faucet:
Learn how local forests protect watersheds as you explore the beautiful reservoirs of the Southbridge Water Supply and Hull Forestland’s abutting Breakneck Brook Forest. Protected by a conservation easement from MA Fish & Wildlife, the Breakneck Brook Forest is a working woodland that provides drinking water supply protection, recreational opportunity, and a source of timber. This is a 3-mile walk over moderate terrain and should take 2.5 hours. Date: October 19, 2013 9:30 am Location: 511 Breakneck Road Southbridge, MA Directions: From the intersection of South Rd. and Breakneck Rd., take Breakneck Road south for 1 mile and park at the filtration plant. Contact: Hull forester Mike Bartlett (860) 377-0117
Interested in learning woodland management 101? Hull Forest Products offers free open-to-the-public woods walks and tours each year to explain the principles of forest management and show off our work. Can’t make it? Fret not, we have recorded the highlights of our latest woods tour in this 7-minute video:
Over 700 acres of productive forestland in Granville, Massachusetts have been permanently protected in a collaborative effort between the Hull family, the New England Forestry Foundation, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEA), and the town of Granville, MA. The conserved forestland protects Valley Brook, which is Granville’s largest stream and an important tributary to the Hartford Metroplican District’s Barkhamstead Reservoir, the primary water source for the city of Hartford, CT.
Hull Forestlands L.P., the Hull family land trust, granted a conservation easement for the 715 acres to the New England Forestry Foundation in June 2013. This land protection project is part of the Western Massachusetts Aggregation Project, which aims to create larger unfragmented parcels of land in central and western Massachusetts. The New England Forestry Foundation received a Landscape Partnership Grant from the MA EOEA in 2012 to pursue the project.
The Hull family, who already steward over 8,000 acres of permanently protected forestland in Massachusetts and Connecticut, had long expressed an interest in seeing the Granville forests protected. The newly conserved forests add to large contiguous tracts of conserved forestland in the area, including NEFF’s Phelon Memorial Forest, forests owned by the Hartford Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), and those of other private landowners.
The Hull family’s Granville forests, called the “Noble & Cooley Forest” and the “Valley Brook Forest” will remain in their natural state and continue to provide a source of timber for generations to come. The Hull family will continue to pay taxes on the land annually to the town of Granville. (And since forestland pays more in taxes than it consumes in community services like education, water, and sewer, forestland is a net financial gain for the town compared to residential land.)
The Hull family own Hull Forest Products–the largest hardwood sawmill in the region–and their mission is to preserve working forests, grow trees, and manufacture wood products, thereby satisfying society’s demand for sustainable building materials and forest ecosystem benefits. Selectively harvested timber from the Valley Brook and Noble & Cooley forests will be turned into lumber, flooring, post & beam timbers, wood chips, and fuel wood. These private forests will also continue to provide public benefits that make them important to the region as a whole, including wildlife habitat, enhanced air and water quality, carbon sequestration, and their contribution to the rural character of New England.
Hull Forest Products is Connecticut’s largest sawmill and premier manufacturer of locally grown wide plank wood flooring. We are located in Pomfret, Connecticut, and we have been offering CT grown wide plank wood flooring mill-direct to homeowners since 1965. In 2017 we were chosen as the wood flooring manufacturer for the new residential colleges at Yale University. You can see our floors throughout the new Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Colleges at Yale.
Connecticut is one of the most heavily forested states in New England, with over 60 percent forest cover, yet the majority of the forest products grown in Connecticut are sent out of state. If you are looking for CT hardwood flooring or pine flooring, why import a wood floor from halfway around the world when you can buy local and save money and thelocal environment in the process?
In 2011 Hull Forest Products joined the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Connecticut Grown program, which identifies local producers of forest products and helps connect them with CT homeowners and builders who are looking for local mill-direct wood flooring, paneling, and millwork.
If helping the local environment and saving money are not reason enough for you to choose Hull Forest Products as your Connecticut wood flooring supplier, consider these reasons as well: 10 Reasons to Choose Hull Forest Products.
Read Reviews from Hull Forest Products Flooring Customers
The circular saw was invented in 1813 by a Shaker sister named Tabitha Babbitt (and we still use one today), but you may be surprised to see just how modern lumber manufacturing has become! Join us for our sawmill open house on October 12, 2013, and you’ll see firsthand how sustainably harvested local timber is turned into lumber for flooring, furniture, and pallets, as well as post and beam timbers and railroad ties.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes workings of a modern sawmill and lumber manufacturing facility. Here’s what a past tour participant had to say about the experience:
“Many, many thanks for the wonderful tour of the Hull Forest Products facility. I was impressed beyond words. To see hardwood timber–right off the logging truck–being transformed with sophisticated computer-controlled milling machines into finished product right before my eyes was truly amazing. This process must be experienced firsthand to really appreciate the enormous effort required to deliver such a diverse array of wood products from railroad ties to wide plank flooring.
And to think that this family-owned manufacturing company is based right here in Connecticut at a time when sadly, very little seems to be made in our country any more. I will not only recommend your beautiful timber and flooring products, but will do so proudly and enthusiastically.Thank you for allowing me this exceptional opportunity. Keep up the good work! ”
— Philip Tankard, AIA
The Hull Forest Products open house is scheduled for October 12, 2013 from 8am to 2pm at 101 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center, CT. Tours last approximately 90 minutes. This is an easy walk and much of it is wheelchair accessible. Children are welcome. Free and open to the public. Hope to see you there! Call (860) 974-0127 for more info.
When Yale undergrad Griffin Collier approached Hull Forest Products about the possibility of donating lumber for the Yale Treehouse Project, we were excited to be able to help him reach his goal of building an arboreal retreat for recreation and wildlife viewing. The treehouse project was begun when Collier, inspired by the feelings that treehouses evoke, decided to create one for the entire Yale community. Collier used Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects, to raise over $10,000 for the project.
Located along the Branch Brook Trail just a short walk from base camp at Yale-Myers, the Yale treehouse will soon be built in an old Sugar Maple whose low spreading limbs provide an ideal embrace. Hull Forest Products is supplying kiln dried Sassasfras lumber at cost for the construction of the treehouse. The structure may well draw more Yale students to the forest, particularly ones outside the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who might not otherwise have reason to visit. And in our opinion, anytime you can bring people into nature, it’s a good thing.
Our Myers Pond Forest , which is under conservation easement to the Nature Conservancy, abuts the Yale-Myers Forest and is the only private inholding within Yale-Myers. This property was where the summer home of Yale forest founder George Hewitt Myers once stood. Myers, who told Yale Forest head David Smith, “I wanted to be able to stand on top of a hill and own all the land, as far as I could see”, would no doubt have appreciated the vantage point the Yale treehouse will offer.
How do you tell one oak wide plank floor from another? And what is the difference between red oak and white oak wide plank flooring? Well, for one thing, there is the price tag (red oak generally costs less than white oak.) Appearance wise, red oak tends to have ruddy undertones that are pinkish to red, while white oak’s undertones tend to be more gray to brown. But it is not always easy to distinguish the two. With the application of stain and/or finish, each can be made to look more like the other.
A more accurate way of distinguishing these two species within the Oak genus is by comparing ray length. Rays are vascular tissues in the tree. (Think of them as drinking straws transporting food, water, nutrients, and minerals to all parts of the tree.) In flatsawn wood, these rays appear as horizontal lines, while in quartersawn wood, they can appear as wavy lines. The rays of red oak are noticeably shorter than those of white oak. (Compare figures 1 and 2 below).
Differences in ray length are most obvious when you can compare red oak and white oak boards side by side.
It’s no secret in the flooring world that red oak, for over a decade, has been the poor cousin in the oak family, taking a backseat to its more popular relative, white oak. This trend reflected a backlash against the ubiquity of red oak strip flooring (which once accounted for the majority of flooring installations in the United States). But when you enter the realm of wide plank flooring, red oak becomes something very uncommon. Wide plank red oak flooring shows off the bold cathedral grain of oak in a way that is simply not possible with the narrow boards of strip flooring, which means that wide plank red oak flooring looks very different from 95 percent of the red oak floors in the world today. Personally, we feel the bias against red oak is unjustified and that it is just as beautiful as white oak.
You may be wondering how the subtle differences between red and white oak translate to the appearance of an entire floor, so here are some photos that can help. For comparison purposes, both figures 3 and 4 below show select grade oak floors with an oil-based clear poly finish.
As you can see, with a clear oil-based poly finish, the red and white oak floors look very similar. The oil-based finishes are known for imparting an amber or yellowish glow. In contrast, water-based finishes give you more of a clear coat over the natural wood and do not amber with age. Here are some examples of red oak and white oak with clear water-based finishes:
The end result from the water-based poly finish is a much paler floor in both cases, as shown in Figures 5 and 6 above. Now let’s see what happens when red and white oak are given a stain before being finished. The large pores in oak are particularly receptive to stain, so whether you start with red oak or white oak, a wide variety of color can be achieved, from pickled white to dark espresso.
As you can see, virtually any color can be achieved when you change the natural color of the wood with stains or dyes. Since monitor colors vary and since the light in your home will affect the view of your floor, the very best way to make sure you are happy with the species and color of your floor is to test out your stain and/or finish choices on samples of the raw woods. At Hull Forest Products, we offer complimentary raw wood samples so you or your designer or contractor can experiment. After all, if you’re going to be living on our slice of nature for years to come, we want you to love the way it looks.
It’s hard to imagine a wood floor that conjures up the image of the American frontier more than wide plank Hickory, which has a distinguished American pedigree. Hickory trees are found throughout eastern North America, and “Hickory” is one of the few extant Algonquin words. Along with moccasin, tomahawk, and hominy, the word pawcohiccora, from which hickory derives, was among those recorded by the explorer John Smith in Virginia circa 1608. This word survived because the wood and mast of the Hickory tree were extremely important to both the Powhatan and the early English settlers.
The Hickory nut was a significant Algonquin foodstuff; pounded and mixed with water, it made pawcohiccora, or hickory milk, a nutritious butter-like substance so prized that a quart of hickory milk was the barter equivalent of twenty pounds of pork.
Recognizing Hickory’s strength, Native Americans used its wood for their bows. European settlers used Hickory to make wooden wheels, wagon axles, plows, and tool handles. Parents inflicting corporal punishment selected hickory switches because they did not break easily (ouch). Because of its high energy content, Hickory was also a favored fuelwood, used for firewood, charcoal production, and for smoking meats.
Hickory’s toughness was so legendary in early America that the word hickory became synonymous with “strength”: a hard-wearing twill cloth was known as “hickory cloth”, and General Andrew Jackson was dubbed “Old Hickory” by his troops when he demonstrated his toughness on the battlefield.
Hickory is the only wood with the quintuple attributes of toughness, stiffness, denseness, shock resistance, and hardness. Because of these attributes, Hickory’s more modern uses have included flooring, furniture, tool handles, golf club shafts, ski bottoms, lacrosse sticks, ladder rungs, drumsticks, and other demanding applications.
Hickory floors are a perennial best seller at our sawmill; here at Hull Forest Products we utilize Hickory species native to the Northeast to make our wide plank Hickory flooring in grades from clear to character. Our Hickory floors are tough and impact resistant, and we recommend Hickory for kitchens and other high traffic areas. If you have little tolerance for dings and dents, a Hickory floor may be a good choice for you.
The striking color variation in Hickory can be played up with a clear finish (see figure 1 above) or the color difference can be minimized with a brown or darker colored stain (see figure 2 below).
In Figure 2 the floor has been stained brown to make the color more consistent. This gives the floor a very different appearance from the floor in Figure 1, which shows the striated light and dark color variation typical of Hickory wood.
Many of our log and timber frame home customers choose Hickory because they appreciate the wood’s color variation, and these customers also tend to prefer natural grade Hickory for its character markings (see figure 3), sometimes opting for a skip planed surface to add to the rusticity.
As you can see, Hickory wood floors look different depending on your choice of grade and stain/finish, and Hickory is a wood equally at home in a traditional or a modern setting. American Hickory wide plank flooring is at once a utilitarian and an attractive wood flooring choice.