Cypress – a thing of beauty
by Al Rogers - RodnReel.com
To most people, a piece of wood is nothing more than that – just a piece of
wood. But Wes McAdams, a craftsman, retailer and aficionado of cypress wood and
products, has a much broader view. This rare woods purist feels the textures,
analyzes intricate patterns in each cut, the grains and densities of a tree
widely regarded as Louisiana icon covered in Spanish moss.
McAdams has been long aware of the exceptional beauty, unparalleled strength
and allure that cypress wood embodies. And he and a growing number of others
believe there is no other wood that comes close in comparison. The Baker,
La.-based Cajun Cypress and Hardwood specializes in a variety of cypress wood
and cypress wood products for any conceivable project. His customer-base ranges
from owners of modest fishing and hunting camps to architectural contracted to
design and build veritable mansions that would suite the lifestyles of the rich
Much of his business is selling wood. But he also has master craftsmen who
build custom cypress doors, window frames, cabinets and tables. His siding
products, floors, ceilings and beams have graced the finest homes and outdoor
getaways in the country. Since the company’s start in the early 1980s, Cajun
Cypress and Hardwood, in the Baton Rouge, area, is one of the leading suppliers
of a product that literally laid the foundation of our country.
“There is nothing else that I know of like cypress wood,” said McAdams,
an avid fisherman and camp owner in Venice, La. “Legend has it that cypress
was the wood used to build Noah’s Ark. So I guess people have appreciated the
beauty and quality of this wood for a long time.”
His product comes in a variety of grades that cost that will fit in anyone’s
budget. In fact, McAdams said many of his new customers are surprised to learn
just how affordable it is.
“It’s hard for a lot of people to believe,” he said. “Believe it or
not, it can actually cost less than sheetrock.”
It doesn’t take long to realize why McAdams is so passionate about his work
and his product. His beaded ceilings, tongue-in-groove paneling and flooring are
among the more popular products sold. But he also deals in other wood products
such as heart pine. These woods have a vintage, nostalgic look that is perfect
for any residence in city, in the woods, or on the bayou.
Cajun Cypress and Hardwood also carries top of the line sinker cypress,
virgin timber that was lost a century ago and retrieved from the waters of south
Louisiana. Like buried treasure, the lumber and veneers recovered have
aesthetically-desirable qualities such as tighter grains and wider dimensions
that are not typically found in today’s lumber. McAdams has a deep
appreciation for the beauty of these historical remnants.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, logging companies used Louisiana waterways
to transport their lumber to local mills. The cypress logs were usually tied to
rafts and floated downstream. But the rafts often broke loose and some of the
logs floated away. As the logs floated for weeks, water gradually displaced the
oxygen in the wood cells. As the logs absorbed more than their weight in water
they would sink to the bottom where they have remained for more than 100 years.
McAdams said he hires small recovery operations in south Louisiana who locate
these logs with “old school” methods. He said the sunken cypress timber is
found by simply prodding the shallow water bottoms where these boats traveled
with long poles. When cypress logs are found, they will dive down and connect
hooks and chains to pull the treasures to the surface.
His father started the family’s business almost 25 years ago when he
decided to build a swing out of cypress wood. But he had no idea of the value or
the potential of the cypress industry at the time, McAdams said.
“He had gone to an old sawmill in Thibodaux and bought some cypress wood to
build a swing,” said McAdams. “He had the wood stacked out in the front
yard. Before he even started working on the swing, someone drove up and made him
an offer on the wood.”
After selling the cypress for a tidy profit, the elder McAdams began to
realize the potential for this business. And more than 20 years later, his son
Wes said the interest continues to increase.
Cypress is truly a thing of beauty and part of
our Louisiana heritage, he said.
For more information on Cajun Cypress and Hardwood call them at
Out of towner's can call toll free at (800) 261-4193.
Or visit their website at www.cajuncypress.com