Why Sinker Cypress?

Sinker cypress is know as Dead Head cypress, Old Growth cypress, River recovered cypress, Heart cypress, Reclaimed cypress, Antique cypress or deadhead cypress. Sinker cypress is preferred due to it’s durability, historic significance, green build benefits and the beautiful color varation. All heart cypress provides quality antique lumber that is recognized by the tight growth rings ( 18-35 growth rings per inch) this quality is no longer available in our growing forest today.

This historic quality of sinker cypress is used for many GREEN projects to obtain LEED points for sustainable building construction.

History of Sinker Cypress

Sinker cypress is cypress cypress logs that have been submerged in the rivers, bayous,swamps of the southeast region of the U.S. These trees were axe cut during the late 1800’s . many of these logs were axe fallen from virgin forest during the industrial timber harvest from 1880-1920. They were 150-1500 years old at the time of harvest. After the logs were fallen they were hitched to oxen and taken to the rivers for transport to the nearest riverside sawmills.

Logs were chained together to make a raft and were branded by the logging company in order to identify their log claim once the raft arrived at the sawmill.

As the logs floated down the river , many became waterlogged and were caught in a log jam and sank due to these circumstances. The minerals in the water in which the logs rested play a big part in the color of the finished lumber.

Drying Cypress

These historic logs are sawn into lumber and stacked onto sticks for a period of time depending on the thickness. This process is called air drying and later the lumber is put in a dry kiln to finish the process. If the lumber is going to be dried by a high heat kiln it is recommended to keep the lumber on sticks for a longer period of time in order for the wood to stabilize. The inner moisture level should be close to the outer moisture content. 

Sinker Treasures dries our deadhead cypress to 10-12% moisture content. Cypress Lumber holds moisture in pockets and if the wood is dried too quickly , it will cause the pockets to explode causing cracks (checking) and end splits. As a rule of thumb air drying sinker cypress takes 1 year per inch thickness of lumber. The key to drying all heart cypress stabilizing the wood while removing the moisture slow and consistently.

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Unmatched Versatility

One of the wood’s most attractive traits is its versatility. Because it is rigid and strong, it can be used for both interior and exterior applications. It has a high resistance to rotting and insects, which makes it ideal for exterior construction and trim. Its sturdiness and unique colors and hues make it the perfect choice for interior applications such as table tops, paneling, and molding.

Since the wood comes from trees that were sometimes hundreds of years old at the time of cutting, most recovered logs contain a large number of tightly configured growth rings. This slow, dense growth, combined with decades of cool-water submersion, gives the recovered cypress its remarkable stability and makes it ideal for shaping into custom-crafted trim and artfully detailed furniture. It also gives it the wood the durability that makes it an excellent exterior siding product.

Unique Colors

As mentioned, this form of cypress contains some of the broadest color and hue ranges of any wood product. This is due to several factors:

Bodies of Water: Cypress timbers were lost in a number of different types of water. Some were displaced into ponds or sloughs where the water was heavily silted and fairly stagnant. Others were lost in medium to large-sized rivers where currents constantly moved water, minerals, and tannins across the wood’s surface. Over time, these differences produce color variations that can be seen in much of the recovered wood.

Length of Submersion: The amount of time underwater also affects the wood’s appearance. Logs submerged for longer periods were usually exposed to more color-influencing minerals and tannins than more recently displaced logs. This factor often produces color differences in recovered timbers.

Type of Terrain: Cypresses that grew in watery regions and swamps tended to originally have richer, darker colored wood than trees growing in dryer, upland areas. This initial color difference was often retained while the log was submerged, and can be seen once the logs are harvested.


These and other environmental factors have produced the tremendous array of colors now available in recovered cypress wood products. From a deep rich, reddish gold to an olive-green tint, there is truly a color for every taste and purpose. This makes the wood an ideal choice for those wishing to create an exterior or interior look that’s uniquely theirs.

Carefully Prepared

Sunken cypress must be carefully conditioned after it is recovered. The drying process, in particular, is quite specialized and requires extensive experience and knowledge. Recovered cypress must first be air-dried. Because of its density, it requires a longer drying period than other varieties of recovered wood. 
Once the cypress has been sufficiently air-dried, it is placed into a specialized kiln, an oven-type device designed especially for removing moisture from wood. It's critical for air-dried cypress to attain a low moisture point before being transferred to a kiln, and the kiln itself must provide a low humidity environment with an extra-slow drying time to prevent the wood from losing moisture too fast and cracking.

All of our sunken cypress products have been reclaimed and processed by craftsmen with years of industry experience, using only the most highly advanced techniques and state-of-the-art equipment.

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Contact Us

Sinker Cypress & River Reclaimed Cypress Lumber

5161 HWY 98 West, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Phone: (850) 888-9663
Email: sales@lumberlocators.com

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