You know the old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” While we probably all know of DIY projects gone wrong, and we all benefit from being humble enough to ask for help when we need it, we also have our own areas of expertise. Here at J. Gibson McIlvain, we’ve been producing quality millwork for generations; it’s undoubtedly one of our own areas of expertise; in fact, we’re almost obsessive about quality control when it comes to our in-house millworks operation.
In addition to researching and visiting the forest, mill, and local land concessions and then hiring independent local agents to periodically assess our orders (see Part 1), we also ask for the Ipe decking we order to be even less of a finished product than it usually is: We want to do the grooves ourselves.
Species Experts and Extra Eyes
Not only does our Ipe decking end up benefiting by the precision tooling and expert care taken in our millworks, but it also benefits from repeated inspections and evaluations by our species experts. First, they carefully review the Ipe decking boards once they arrive to us from the port. The boards we groove for hidden fastening systems will undergo additional inspections, board by board, as each board is run through our millworks. Anything possibly missed during off-site inspections by independent agents or damage that could have occurred during transit will certainly be noticed during our intensive in-house milling and grading process. The result of all this obsessive quality control is consistently high-quality Ipe and communication with our suppliers. Any shipments that don’t meet our high standards mean creating a claim. Our mills understand our high standards of quality more than anyone, and they seek to meet our standards in order to retain our business.
Added Options for our Customers
An added bonus that comes with our receiving all our Ipe without grooves for hidden fastening systems is that our customers have the option of purchasing Ipe decking without grooves. Why would someone want to do that? While hidden fastening systems are definitely more popular, some customers preferred face-screwed decks. Face screwing is a fast, secure way of installing a deck. Those who prefer hidden fastening systems usually do so based on cosmetic reasons. Especially when dealing with Ipe decking and other tropical hardwoods with high density, doing so can mean saving your tools and drill bits. You can, instead, spend a little less time drilling through extremely hard decking boards and drill into the softer deck sub-structure to fasten a clip, instead. A hidden clip system leaves one edge of the board free to move as moisture levels in the atmosphere shift, yet the boards will remain firmly attached to the support structure.
On the flip side, proponents of face screwing note that this free edge means a higher propensity for warping and twisting. As long as only a single screw is placed across the width of a decking board, the board will still be free to move while remaining affixed to the structure.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.
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