The Ashton Lewis Edge begins with the quality of the raw material. Our location in Gatesville, NC, is of utmost importance – because our region grows some of the densest, highest quality southern yellow pine in the entire United States, arguably in the world. The combination of swampy and sandy soil found in our coastal plains provides the perfect soil conditions for healthy old growth pine. In addition, longer winters cause the pine to grow much slower, which is reflected in a much denser material.
The best route to a quality end product is through quality raw materials. Which is why we’re so picky about which logs are accepted for producing Ashton Lewis products. Our very own forester cruises the tracts and analyzes the health of the plot to best predict which logs will yield the highest quality fiber. The result is a history of consistent tight grain, high-grade boards, clear and dense... and absolutly beautiful.
Attention-to-detail, craftsmanship, and an industry education that only a lifetime of experience can forge – Ashton Lewis Lumber Company is a living example of old world craftsmanship combined with new world automation, innovation and leadership. We’re a southern yellow pine producer committed to delivering the highest quality specialty products, produced by men and women that know the difference between good and great. That means our people have the experience and expertise to produce our outstanding products. That means every facet of our process centers around one goal: satisfying each customer – again and again – with quality and consistency.
Providing consistent quality is a start-to-finish effort, and all functions from the tree to product delivery are organized under one roof. Our highly flexible mill and progressive approach of re-manufacturing. Long-term employees are trained from the woodlands onward as to the importance of that final product. Every machine operator is a grader. And we have our own truck fleet to ensure that products can be delivered on time. At Ashton Lewis we have one goal: “Satisfy our customers, each and every time!”
The coastal plains areas of North Carolina and Southern Virginia capture the best of both growing conditions for Southern Yellow Pine. The combination of swampy and sandy soil of these coastal plains are the perfect soil conditions for healthy old growth pine. Even more importantly, we are on the northern border of the habitat. The longer winters cause the pine to grow much slower and is reflected in a much denser material.
Southern Yellow Pine (lob-lolly, long-leaf, short-leaf, and slash pine) is found in 14 states across the southeastern US. It ranges from Maryland to Florida and then west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. The term “lob-lolly” literally means “mudhole” and is a good description of the wet soil conditions on which this tree occurs naturally. The best growth is on moderately acid soils in areas of poor surface drainage which consists of a thick surface layer and a fine textured subsoil.
The quality of our final product is determined before the timber reaches the gate of our mill. We know that if we are going to be the standard in SYP appearance lumber, we must be obtaining the finest raw material available. We are so selective that our mill saws 80% to 90% butt logs.
The story of timber quality begins with our foresters. We are constantly purchasing tracts of timber and we are targeting the clearest, densest old growth in the region. Some recently purchased tracts include timber that was planted right after the Civil War. We normally hold cutting rights to timber that will carry our mill 6 months to a year. At the same time, we purchase from outside loggers their highest grade material. Holding our own timber allows us to obtain the high grade logs from these outside suppliers when it’s available and supplement with our own timber when it is not. The result is a consistent high grade raw material - clear and dense.
Our highly selective process continues when the log reaches our mill. We inspect every log for size and grade and only keep the logs which match the appearance products which we are currently sawing. Other logs which do not meet these specifications are sold to neighboring sawmills whom are purposed for less demanding production quality.
Operating in the best region for dense growth and engaging a selective process that ensures a consistent high quality raw material. Just one of the things that gives Ashton Lewis the edge in SYP appearance lumber.