Ancient Cypress Tree Burned

Back in January  of 2012, one of the worlds oldest living trees in central Florida  came crashing down in a  fire.  This was  reportedly caused by a woman using meth early in the morning at the tree.  She was recently convicted of arson but will receive no jail time.  The 3500 year old growth pond cypress was one of the last of these giants that grew in central and north Florida.   Most of them were  cut down to meet the need for high quality cypress lumber early in the last century and 1800’s.

It is likely the old growth cypress tree,  called  Senator,  survived the logging because  it was hollow,  common in old cypress trees due to a brown fungus that attacks living trees.  It is this fungus that produces the defect called “Pecky”. This cypress is highly sought after  by  homeowners, architects and builders.   It was this ‘hollow’ that brought down the tree in a raging fire.    After living through countless hurricanes, freezes and fires it was irresponsible behavior by a human being  that killed this tree that was 1500 years old when Christ was born. …photos rarely can capture the   size of these old giants unless you have something to scale them …the Florida Forestry Dept. photo of the stump gives you some perspective.

Much of my reclaimed cypress comes  from this area. Many of the abandoned logs were hollow just like the Senator …there were  so many solid trees  available the loggers simply discarded the hollow trees sometimes breaking up into flat chunks to make wilderness roads for the oxen teams to pull the huge logs out of the swamp.

We cannot bring back these ancient old growth trees but you could own a part of Florida history with reclaimed wood from logs left for Wiederholdcreations to make a fine door  or  garden gate.  This reclaimed cypress makes beautiful  furniture too.


senitor tree

Whats left of the Senator..


Reclaimed cypress or Recovered cypress

Many times I refer to virgin old growth cypress,  or recovered,   as reclaimed when in fact that’s not entirely correct.  I use that term to simplify the wording as most people know what reclaimed means  but not recovered .  Recovered cypress means its salvaged timber that was never used but pulled from the swamps, rivers and lakes of Florida where it lay for over a hundred years after it sank (sinker cypress) as it floated in large log rafts to the mill.

Reclaimed cypress is cypress used for some purpose in the past and salvaged when that use becomes obsolete.  Generally, when someone wants reclaimed cypress they expect it to be from virgin old growth trees, but reclaimed could be from any source if it is salvaged.
Interestedly, I  been told most of the virgin old growth cypress harvested at the turn of the last century went to Europe.  Here in the U.S. it went to the Northeastern states and was used by the Railroads everywhere to make water tanks for steam locomotives. These are good examples of reclaimed cypress if salvaged.  To date all my virgin old growth cypress is recovered , never used and lay as it sank or fell  at the bottom of a sandy Florida river bottom or in some remote swamp until salvaged and sawed.  Generally, recovered cypress is more beautiful than reclaimed because over all those years submerged the logs take in minerals and produce some amazing colors and figure .  Some of these logs are extremely valuable costing thousands of dollars before they are sawed up.

Recovered cypress lumber is highly sought after by architects and craftsman.  I will continue to use the terms reclaimed cypress or old growth cypress because most people can relate to that term.  Recovered is more an industry term and not widely used by general public but all my clients know what they are buying from me whether recovered cypress or reclaimed cypress.  Remember when I mentioned most people expect reclaimed to be old?  Be very careful when paying big dollars for so called reclaimed because even young  trees can be harvested , sawed and used then salvaged and called reclaimed.  How do you know for certain that so called “reclaimed wood” table you want, or bought, that is made overseas is really old reclaimed wood?   Trust American craftsman to do the right thing..