For many Americans, the idyllic vision of a snow-covered Christmas tree farm evokes fond memories or at least wistful reveries. Picture a smiling father carrying an ax as he trails laughing children scrambling for the coveted position: Finder of The Perfect Christmas Tree. The most popular holiday choices of Fraser Fir and Douglas Fir timbers line the snowy hillside. This family will choose a Douglas Fir, this year, just like the year before. Mom is carrying the youngest, who’s wrestling to get down so she can join her siblings in the game. Between the warm but cumbersome apparel, though, the child can barely toddle through the foot-high drifts of winter whiteness, aiming for the footprints formed by the older members of his family.
“I found it, Daddy!” This happy invitation is answered with larger footprints following some smaller ones.
“I don’t think so, son. This one has a bare spot. Look.” Dad’s words are met with frowns, and the search continues on.
After a few more less-than-ideal candidates, The Perfect Tree has been found. It’s a little narrower than the one to dominate last year’s holiday décor, but it’s tall and seems prestigious, like Father Christmas compared to Santa’s elves.
Mom takes a dozen pictures before the ax is swung. “Be careful, kiddos. Stand back here.” They listen quietly, looking on as if magic is taking place before their very eyes.
They all take turns “helping” their daddy drag the Christmas centerpiece back to the truck. Of all the items hauled throughout the year, this piece of wood means something. It’s a prize, a symbol; it’s not just a tree.
While the heartwarming scene may not describe the typical process of choosing lumber for a construction project, it does symbolize the J. Gibson McIlvain’s commitment to quality. And that family-owned business has roots that go back over 200 years and 7 generations. Lumber is never purchased from a mill that has not been visited in person, with care taken to observe the harvesting, sawing, drying, and shipping practices employed.
The Douglas Fir timbers used by J. Gibson McIlvain are nearly all harvested in the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest. Unlike their Rocky Mountain blue Douglas Firs, which are 40-60 feet in height, these coastal Douglas Firs can grow to be much taller (up to 200 feet), allowing them to provide higher yields as well as the the long timbers ideal for Timber Framed structures.
The straight grain showcases both creamy yellow and red-brown wood lines, which blur together to provide an eye-catching warm, copper tone reminiscent of a campfire or a family fireplace.
The fireplace provides a gathering place for the family as it returns from its snowy adventure. Their Christmas tree is ready to be decked with ornaments that remind them of generations past. They sip hot cocoa and start to sing, watching the copper flames dance merrily around large logs.
When you purchase lumber from J. Gibson McIlvain, a lumber wholesaler, you’re not just buying wood, you’re buying from a family.
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