Decades have passed since the big cypress mills closed down. The Osceola Sawmill depleted all the valuable cypress and closed down around 1942. The only reminders of the great sawmill are a few concrete slabs and, of course, the logs scattered on the river bottom that never made it to the mill.
In order to properly recover the logs thousands of dollars were required for training, equipment, labor, and annual permits. It is illegal to simply take any logs you see. Rules governing distance, location, damaging, and changing natural surroundings all apply to this process and make the recovery much more difficult. And that's before the trees are even located!
If you're not familiar with the St. Johns River where most of our trees were recovered, it is very murky and visiblity is extremely low. Special equipment and knowledge of the river and logging routes was critical, along with a good bit of luck in locating old sinker logs.
Unlike the original loggers who floated these rafts down the river we used a modified boat with equipment to make the recovery as easy as possible. After we located a possible sinker log we dove down to survey the area and decided if it was worth pulling up. Often it took a whole day to locate just a couple logs, winch them up and transport them to the mill. Every once in a while, after getting the log to the surface we would realize it was hollow or only part of a log. And sometimes something unique like part of a raft with a hand-forged metal spike in it would show up.
After we find the logs and raise them from the deep (sometimes in several hundred...inches of water) we transported them to a boat ramp and loaded them for transport to our mill. Throughout this whole process we took care not to hurt or damage the surrounding river landscape and habitat.
Once the logs made it to our mill we cut them up into mantle pieces, table tops, 1" lumber , beams, river etched artistic pieces, etc...We use almost 100% of these logs- from the end pieces we cut off to the pieces that are unusuable for anything other than art.
Sometimes we are rewarded with a metal eyelet from a logger raft's, ax-cut ends of a tree, cat-faced logs used for turpentine trees, unusual hollow logs, or other things. Each piece tells us a little bit about the people who worked so hard to help build this state.
So, if you're looking for something special for your new table, mantle, cabinet, picture frame, artists slate, etc...We have a little piece of history for almost everyone's tastes. Give us a call to see what we have to offer.