Textiles have traditionally been a huge part of the culture and economy in the South, where I’ve lived most of my life. That part of the South has been dying off fairly rapidly, leaving a lot of old textile mills. I noticed that a lot of these mills were being taken down piece by piece. I started talking with the companies that were specializing in demolishing the mills and reselling the building materials, I learned that the most valuable material in the mills is the Heart of Pine wood. After talking to several of the demolition companies I soon realized that there is a lot of due diligence required to ensure that the company can get its money’s worth out of the wood. Wood samples must be taken and evaluated to see what grade the Heart of Pine wood is. Number one grade HOP is very tightly grained with little to no knots. Second and third grade HOP are looser grained making them softer and not as valuable or aesthetically pleasing.
One of my great discoveries in learning about this industry was that there is not nearly as big demand for the Maple wood in the mills compared to that of the HOP. All the mill floors are made of maple. The subflooring and beams are all made of HOP. Some of these companies even considered the maple to be worthless, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of square feet of maple to be turned to wood chips. What a waste.