What’s in the Name? The Story of Sinker Cypress Lumber

By: Debbie George

June 20, 2016

Green Building

During the late 1800's and early 1900's, trees grew abundantly and were harvested in all regions of the southeast United States.  As the need for wood began to arise for construction, logging companies used America’s waterways to transport their lumber to the mills for processing. Along the way, some of logs broke loose from the rafts transporting them and eventually settled at the bottom of the lakes and rivers, leaving them untouched and forgotten for over 100 years. These logs are known as “sinkers”.

Expecting to find gold, divers found another form of treasure in these sunken timbers and started recovering them from the waterbeds. Sunlight, oxygen and wood-consuming organisms cause wood timbers to rot, which lakes and rivers lack.  Thus, sinker logs provide excellent quality of wood. As the logs lay in water for extended periods of time, the wood absorbs the minerals and tannins found in the water and soil which then turns the inside of the log different colors. The variety of hues of Sinker Logs reflect the area where they were recovered. For example, a sinker log recovered from the swamps of Louisiana will have a richer, redder color than that extracted from upland sites such as your “yellow cypress”.

WoodCo offers a unique collection of sinker cypress wall paneling and lumber for any of your wood working needs.  Our  Guadalupe Wallboard is perfect for any wall you want to accent in your home or project.  We also have our Frio Wallboard, which is a "pecky sinker cypress” caused by a fungus in the tree while living, but amazingly doesn’t germinate until the tree is around 125 years old!

Sinker Cypress has a wide variety of uses and can be used for exterior building applications, interior wall paneling, table tops, beams and so much more. Find yours today by contacting a member of our sales team. 

For more project inspiration, check out the  Precision Camera Project showcasing the Gaudalupe Wallboard.


Logs floating in Mississippi River. Photograph Collection, 1912.Collections Online. Minnesota Historical  Society.
Location No. HD5.41 r61 Negative No. 28817

Courtesy of Sun Journal - Sinker Log Recovery


Main Photo Credit - Paper mill logs, Grand Rapids. Photograph Collection, 1920 Collections Online Minnesota Historical Society Location No. HD5.5 p85 Negative No. 10593-A