Specialty Lumber Solutions had some pretty modest beginnings. Myself and my business partner-to-be Charles Menifee were working construction during the winter of 2006-7 in downtown Kansas City. The project was located at the Manhattan condominiums on Charlotte Street, and the penthouse called for preassembled ipe panels to be hung from the ceiling.
These panels were damned heavy. I was more than a bit skeptical about hanging these things over my head, but over time, some confidence was gained toward the application. The place had arclengths for wall space through the main hallway, and the panels contoured the walls…I’ll have to kick up some pictures of that thing…Like I said, a modest start here.
Before long, Charles was running around to the local trade shows, and was making contacts with local suppliers that dealt in exotic lumber supplies. (Between finishing, assembling, and hanging these panels.) I had never worked that species of lumber prior to that job. I lived, as I still do, in Baldwin City, Kansas, some 45 miles southwest of KC. I just kept putting up the lumber…
And a few other jobs followed. Mostly decks. I’m pretty sure Thanksgiving Eve of 2007 featured me, Charles, and my brother Travis installing some decking. We rolled out about dinnertime. I think it got down to damned near zero that night. Memory is a tricky thing, but I certainly remember removing frost from the lumber under floodlights. And it was damned cold.
Thanksgiving morning, I got a flat tire on the way back to Olathe. That was a blast. It was awfully cold. A couple of Kansas State Troopers pulled over to watch me change the tire and curse under my breath. The home was adjacent to that of a local news and endorsement celebrity, but I didn’t ask him for his seal of approval. I was late for Thanksgiving dinner…but it was still there once the thing got tied up.
I kept puttering around, building log cabins and such, and Charles would help out a bit here and there. But he had moved on to selling wood. Almost a couple of years ago now, he contacted me and told me he was striking out on his own. He’s been selling wood ever since. Now, we’re an LLC in the state of Missouri. I helped him out here and there for most of the past year, trying to keep the taxes filed, etc. etc. etc., and I’ve been giving this thing a “full-time run” ever since the start of this year. That’s dishonest–Charles was all-in before I would catch up to the work he’d already done… But now, it looks like I’m committed to keeping this thing going full-speed.
So I write this blog. Actual content will follow–I promise. My initial thought is to provide periodic insight into the domestic lumber market, its newest products and supplies, and hopefully get valuable feedback from our customers and future clients. I don’t claim to have all the answers about anything, but I’ll sure look into something if it might be relevant to the domestic exotic lumber industry.