Meranti shutters

Meranti Shutters Hinge on Quality

It’s commonly known that shutters were first used in ancient Greece to provide privacy and protect from light and the elements. From Greece, shutters spread west to Spain and England, which then influenced shutter use in the United States, where they can be seen on historic homes such as Monticello and Mount Vernon. Spanish-style shutters were most popular in the South, now known as Plantation Shutters, while the English-style shutters were most commonly used in New England. Over time, shutters have evolved in design and use, but remain popular to this day.

Centuries ago high-quality lumber species, like Mahogany, were often used for shutters, but with mass production and the post-World War II housing boom, manufacturers began using less expensive woods like Southern Yellow Pine. These soft wood shutters rotted and degraded more rapidly under constant exposure to rain, sun, and elements. Eventually vinyl, plastic, and other synthetic materials were used and while these didn’t rot like Pine, they looked cheap and  incongruous on an otherwise lovely home.

Today’s best millwork shops are returning to high-quality hardwood species like Meranti for shutters that last for decades, making them an excellent economical choice over the life of the shutter.

Nemesu Shutter sample.jpgMeranti is highly sought after for shutters for many reasons, both aesthetic and practical. For the homeowner, this wood species looks rich and warm with a stain, or looks just as beautiful with paint. With proper maintenance, either finish can last for decades.

Some importers selling Meranti market it as “DUC” (Dark Uniform Color) which is a misnomer, as there is a wide variance in appearance and performance. Unfortunately, this results in a product with disparate hues and poor quality. However, in order to deliver the enduring performance and more uniform appeal, Overseas Hardwoods Company offers two distinct, selected species of Meranti in its High Performance Lumber Products line. The first, Nemesu, is a dense/dark species, and the second, Dark Red Seraya, is a medium dense/dark species. Both have a rich, warm color range. By limiting our supply to two specific types, we ensure a consistent, reliable appearance and enduring qualities. Meranti also naturally resists rotting and pests, thanks to naturally-occurring oils in the wood, which is why it works well in exterior applications. Additionally, Meranti machines well, stays flat, and doesn’t warp, if painted or sealed correctly. It cuts well when going through the moulding machine, and doesn’t beat up the machinery.

Meranti is the economical choice for high-quality, long-lasting exterior shutters. They’re beautiful, durable, and have a long life.



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Look at some of the high end tools that can be made from Meranti

Selected species of Meranti wood have long been prized for strength and durability for a variety of applications, like high-end yachts, furniture, millwork, and cabinetry.  However, Sands Level and Tools has found a surprising and beautiful new use for Meranti, also known as Philippine Mahogany, in its high-end tool collection.

Sands Level and Tools, a subsidiary of Kraft Tool Company, the largest level manufacturer in the United States, knew there was a market for beautiful, handmade, heirloom levels. It was no question that those levels would be made from Meranti, highlighted with brass or stainless steel accents.

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Sands Level and Tools makes Meranti levels with a very specific customer in mind: an artisan-craftsman who takes the utmost pride in his or her work. Just imagine a high-end finish carpenter, shipwright, or master cabinet maker pulling out an uncommon and special showpiece tool on a job site. Talk about bragging rights!

Anyone who takes this much pride in their tools must be someone who cares about details and quality work.

Meranti was chosen not just for its beautiful grain pattern that shines with only a simple coat of lacquer, but also because it’s tough and durable. Unlike a level made with a softwood, a tool made of Meranti won’t dent when dropped, and is more likely to withstand dings and scratches.

These tools aren’t for everyone. Only the most skilled, most discerning craftsmen deserve a tool as special as this. These levels are made of the finest material to be used on the finest projects.


Exotic Hardwood Siding in Residential and Commercial Projects

The last several decades have seen a boom in the use of exotic hardwoods for siding in residential and commercial projects. Contractors, architects, and homeowners see the value in the investment of a long lasting hardwood. Their durability far surpasses that of a softer wood or vinyl, which are easily dented or attacked by pests. Exotic hardwood siding is so durable that once an element is up, it’s there to stay.

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One such example is Countryside Montessori School in Northbrook, Illinois. Montessori schools have a unique educational philosophy and many of these philosophical tenets are confirmed in the look of the physical space. Countryside Montessori School values high quality, beautiful materials inside and out. They also foster a calm and peaceful environment, albeit one full of inspiration and passion.

These values are evident in the school’s building, with its beautiful Tigerwood siding.

The school is nestled into a wooded and lushly landscaped site. The building’s architects chose a variety of natural materials for the structure, from earth-red bricks to sleek stone to dark-hued Cedar beams and of course, the impressive multi-hued Tigerwood shiplap siding. Chosen for its strength, durability, and aesthetics, Tigerwood is known for its signature orange, red, and brown streaking, which grows darker in color over time, as it’s exposed to UV rays. Tigerwood is stronger than softwoods like Cedar or Pine, and has a lifespan of above 20 years. Thanks to this refined and welcoming building, the peaceful learning environment begins before students even walk in the door.


Residential projects have also seen an increase in the use of exotic hardwoods as siding. A stunning example of this comes from a private home in Wisconsin near Lake Michigan. Built in 2015, this contemporary home features a rain screen made from Ipe, an exotic, Brazilian hardwood. A rain screen is a system of slats slightly offset from a building, which allows for maximum airflow while giving the building depth and visual interest.

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This particular home, in its lakeside setting, required a wood species that could withstand the marine conditions and the massive snowfall of the area, making Ipe an ideal choice. Ipe boasts over 30-year life expectancy, and is naturally pest- and rot-resistant. For this home, it was an easy choice. The richness and luster of the Ipe is perfectly highlighted against the green tones of the grassy and wooded lot, and the sleekness of the lumber enhances the clean, modern lines of the home.


Finally, the Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago, Illinois, updated its building in 2012 by adding an Ipe facade to its first permanent home. The internationally renowned Black Ensemble Theater was founded in 1976 and has become such a cultural institution that it’s supported by the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. Combined with modern glass and concrete construction, the Ipe siding adds warmth and texture that would otherwise be lacking. The theater is an innovator in the arts community, and it needed a building that would reflect its innovation. Ipe was again chosen for this project for its beauty, strength, and durability. The Black Ensemble Theater chose to invest in a design element that both lasts for decades and suits the ethos of the theater company.


With these impressive and attractive examples it’s easy to understand the increase in exotic hardwood siding for residential and commercial applications, and when each species’ properties are taken into account, the appeal of these hardwoods is obvious.


In 1986 a Brazilian industrialist had a dream to build a three-masted staysail schooner. Handsome, powerful, and iconic, Peacemaker (originally christened Avany) was built by hand, using traditional methods, on a riverbank in southern Brazil. Built from the finest tropical hardwoods, including the highly desirable Brazilian hardwood Ipe, this ship stood out amongst more modern-looking boats.  



In 2000 a religious group bought Avany and spent the next seven years replacing all of the ship’s mechanical and electrical systems and rigging it as a barquentine, which is essentially a tall ship with three or more masts, with a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main.


In the spring of 2007 the refurbished vessel set sail under the new name, Peacemaker. Since that initial voyage in 2007 Peacemaker has been sailing around the world teaching young people valuable seamanship, navigation, sailing and boat maintenance skills. It’s also been used as an event space and a dockside attraction from Ontario, Canada to Brazil.


In 2013, while on a voyage north from Brazil, Peacemaker found itself in need of hull repairs, and based on the word-of-mouth recommendations from seamen in the know, her captain docked in Mobile Bay to avail himself of Overseas Hardwoods Company’s unparalleled selection and service.


OHC invited the captain to select the specific 4”x12”x22’ long Ipe planks needed to make the hull repairs. After a short two weeks Peacemaker was once again seaworthy and as commanding as ever. There’s no doubt that anyone needing an exotic hardwoods supplier will be equally satisfied by the exceptional service, quality, and sheer volume of board feet OHC has available.

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Nina repairs

Ask any American what he or she learned about Christopher Columbus’ arrival at the Americas and you’ll likely hear two things. First, in the year of 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Second, his three ships were the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.



The names of the ships evoke visions of billowing white sails, towering masts, and salty ocean spray. Textbook illustrators have offered drawings of these ships, but one ambitious and creative team decided to recreate the ships for a more immersive, living experience.


In 1986 the Columbus Foundation formed in the British Virgin Islands with the idea to recreate the vessels that arrived on American shores in 1492. The Niña was built in the fishing village of Valenca, Brazil, by expert shipbuilders using only hand tools such as axes, adzes, hand saws and chisels.


An American engineer and maritime historian joined local shipwrights known for using a traditional 15th-century shipbuilding technique likely used by the Spanish builders of the original ships. The Niña was launched in 1992 and is known to be the most authentic reproduction ever built.


In 2005 the foundation launched their second reproduction, the Pinta. The Pinta is a faithful reproduction of the original, except 15 feet longer and eight feet wider, to accommodate more visitors at one time.


There are currently no plans to build a reproduction Santa Maria as it had a larger draft, making it too large to navigate some of waterways in which the Niña and the Pinta sail.


These two ships currently operate as a touring maritime museum, sailing ten months of the year to different ports from Mobile Bay, AL to Clinton, IA and a multitude of other ports from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast to the Great Lakes and the Midwestern River System.


In 2010 the Niña suffered some damages caused by a cooking fire. Her captain, Morgan Sanger, heard from trusted sources that Overseas Hardwoods Company had Ipe lumber in all the sizes he needed, so he docked the Niña in Mobile Bay. Captain Sanger selected the best material for repairs including 6x6 timbers and a large quantity of 8/4 lumber.


Since 2010 the Niña and the Pinta have sailed to Mobile Bay every two years on their way north via the Midwestern River System. Their captains know that if their vessels require any further repairs, OHC will be able to provide them with the highest quality Ipe for every possible board length required.

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The Right Flooring for U.S. Military Trailers

Overseas Hardwoods Company has enjoyed decades-long relationships with many businesses and organizations but one of the most enduring and rewarding is our relationship with the United States Military.


Several decades ago the Army came to us looking for trailer flooring. They needed trailer flooring that would perform under the constant loading and unloading, take a beating and continue to the mission, reduce maintenance cost, provide safe working area, be used to carry immense loads, and would be durable enough to last for years.


The Army (and later the Air Force, Navy and Marines) discovered that Overseas Hardwoods Company’s Road Load Tested® (RLT®) was the ideal trailer flooring. RLT uses a patented process along with proprietary techniques to create continuous boards up to 53’ long which eliminates interior board end and increases the overall strength of the floor system. Utilizing full trailer length floors created a more economical way to customize a floor to fit specific cavities of any trailer. Every lineal foot of RLT is machine stress rated to meet Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association's recommended practices for load rating.


We've provided kits to the military, which they installed in their trailer prototypes and then tested extensively at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. After their comprehensive testing showed that RLT was unequaled in strength and durability, the US Armed Forces made the performance of RLT the standard for their trailer flooring for newly manufactuered trailers, repairing and for retrofitting (complete overhaul). Many of the military’s trailers are shipped overseas to command posts where they’ll haul everything-- from tanks, Humvees, trucks, and other heavy equipment, to building products, supplies, and personnel gear.



The United States Military specifies our RLT Apitong decking because of its heavy duty, superior abrasion resistance, and it is a stronger, more durable trailer floor system that reduces maintenance and out of service time while providing a safer work environment for the troops. If a refurbishment is ever necessary, we quickly ship directly overseas, even to remote locations.

OHC is proud to provide High Performance Lumber Products to the men and women in our armed forces. Since 1992, we have maintained inventory and production allocation to meet rapid response time for our Military. We will continue to do our part to keep our military rolling and on the move so they can protect and defend the United States of America.


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Wood for Boats

The earliest boats go back 8,000 years ago, starting with dugout canoes. Those early dugout canoes ignited a desire to harness the power of the water and the wind, and mankind has built on that technology. Egyptians added sails, which paved the way for historical ships such as the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, which in turn led to today’s luxury yachts, sport fishing boats and runabouts for pleasure cruising.

The structure of wooden boats has evolved over time, however, most of the basic components have only slightly changed. Since the dugout was essentially carved out of a log, advancements were made in creating a hull that mimics the human body with “ribs” and planking (skin).   Finish and trim improvements have drastically improved boat quality and durability as well as aesthetics.

 Let’s take a look at the structure of modern wooden boats.


 The boats’ ribs, named for the obvious way they resemble an animal’s ribs, were crafted from the crotch/splits of trees as they have inherent strength and are one solid piece. Today, these are typically made of strong but lightweight woods such as Juniper, Meranti or Douglas Fir. Plywood is also used to strengthen these rib parts, and help hold together the ribs until planking is put into place. In the past, when using solid lumber, ribs of the boat were steamed in order to bend them to the correct angle required to add maximum strength. The planking is then attached to the ribs.



The planking consists of boards that make up the outside of the boat’s hull. One type of hull planking is carvel, where the boards are fastened edge-to-edge, adding strength and creating a smooth surface. Another type of planking is lapstrake planking, which is when the planks are overlapped. This method is also called "clinker" construction.  You may see this type of planking on a small lake boat. In ancient days, fasteners were relied on to attach the planking during the boat’s construction, but modern waterproof glues are so superior that both carvel and clinker construction rely almost completely on glue for fastening. For many years Meranti (also known as Philippine Mahogany) was used by most wooden boat builders, including renowned boat builders like Rybovich, Chris Craft, Pacemaker, and others. Meranti planking is still used today, as well as Marine Grade Plywood which works in the same manner, but requires a little less time as it is typically ripped into larger pieces.


 Most wooden-hulled boats are finished in fiberglass after planking, which adds strength as well as sealing the hull for water tightness along the seams and joints. In addition, the fiberglass reduces moisture absorption which adds unnecessary weight to a boat. The smooth fiberglass surface also reduces resistance and drag on the watercraft, increasing speed and fuel economy.



 The trim includes all of the interior and exterior wood work: door trim, window trim, decking, floors, cover boards, transom, cabinets, etc. As this greatly influences the aesthetics of the boat, a high-end wood like Teak is typically chosen for these components.


No matter your style, or type boat you desire, almost every boat contains wooden components, from solid ribs, planking, Marine Grade Plywood, finish and trim. Not all wood and/or wood suppliers are the same. Make sure you check for quality, reliability and dependability of the material and the source, in order to ensure that you and your boat get the best. 




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5 Rivers Delta Experience

There’s a spot in Alabama where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakeley rivers converge into the Mobile Bay, fusing freshwater and marine ecosystems. The state of Alabama created a remarkable facility, 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, in an effort to preserve the hundreds of plant and animal species and create a recreational paradise for its citizens.


5 Rivers attracts visitors for its wealth of activities in the 250,000+ acres of picturesque waterways, wetlands, and woods. In addition to outdoor activities like kayaking, canoeing, hiking, nature cruising, and birdwatching, the Center is also home to a beautiful theater, convention center, classrooms, exhibit hall and gift shop.


5 Rivers decided to build several new structures to maximize access to nature for its many visitors. They called upon Overseas Hardwoods Company to create beautiful, durable, and cost-effective walkways, piers, nesting platforms, and shelter platforms.


Weather in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta demands a high-performing wood. Summer temperatures can rise above 90 degrees, there’s plenty of precipitation, and the brackish water can be tough on wooden structures. The maintenance crew at 5 Rivers  is all too familiar with continuous repairs and replacement of treated Pine.  Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood species, was chosen for the new platforms, walkways and piers.


Ipe was the obvious choice for the 5 Rivers project. Ipe naturally resists rot and insects, requires little maintenance, and can last for 30 years. Besides these quantifiable advantages, Ipe also has a high aesthetic value, and it was important to enhance, rather than detract from, the natural beauty of the delta.


At first, the Ipe has a beautiful brown tone with amber and red hues, but as it ages, it develops a lovely silver-gray patina. If the original tone is preferred, a UV protectorate can be applied to keep the color.

OHC Ipe is the perfect wood species for the structures at this unique nature center. It’s a smart financial choice for a state-owned property, durable enough to withstand large groups of children on field trips, and beautiful enough to serve as the backdrop for an elegant delta wedding.









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Live OAK Landing



Live Oak Landing

Live Oak Landing, located near Mobile, AL, was purchased from private owners by Baldwin County in 2012 as a means to protect and conserve coastal habitats, and also to provide recreational and educational opportunities. Its verdant 318 acres are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, from Glossy Ibis to turtles to old-growth Live Oak trees with evocative Spanish Moss, all of which combine to create a beautifully Southern tableau.  

This relatively new county recreational area has already become known as one of the best fishing launches in the county, hosting high-stakes bass fishing tournaments. There’s something for everyone at Live Oak Landing - a nearby pond has even hosted fishing tournaments for disabled children.

The county parks department decided that if Live Oak Landing was to become a premier fishing spot, the boat launches, fishing piers and docks would have to be of the best quality. However, these projects had to make financial sense, as well as being handsome and structurally sound.

With 12 floating docks, 4 launches, and 2 large pavillions, Live Oak Landing is an excellent place for family outings both on and off the water, as well as the perfect place to start a young angler fishing.


Ipe from Overseas Hardwoods Company was determined to be the best species for the project.

Ipe, an exotic Brazilian hardwood, is known for its longevity and aesthetics, and is able to withstand wet conditions while resisting rot, making it a perfect species for docks and piers. Ipe is more expensive than pressure-treated wood, but the lifetime of an Ipe structure is approximately 30 years, compared to the 10 or so years a pressure-treated lumber structure might last.

When considering the longevity and durability of Ipe, it’s easily found to be the most cost-effective choice.

Besides its excellent weathering characteristics, Ipe is a beautiful wood species, with color ranging from a olive or yellowish brown to reddish brown, with a fine texture and a rich natural luster, and can also be allowed to grey to a regal silver patina. At Live Oak Landing, OHC Ipe was used to craft distinguished-looking fishing piers, floating docks, and a lovely boat launch, creating the perfect environment to relax, have fun, and reel in a big one!



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Baton Rouge flood surprise

 When the rain started falling in Baton Rouge on August 11, no one suspected that it would continue for three days and lead to catastrophic flooding. By now, we all know the scale of the flood: six lives lost; 20,000 people rescued; and over $8 billion dollars in damages. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out all those affected by the wrath of Mother Nature



Silver linings sometimes occur during catastrophic events

While the area was in the earliest stages of recovery, a millwork shop owner began assessing the damage and loss of his work. Because of the heavy rain, he was unable to deliver any completed doors to their work site, so he was forced to keep them in the shop. This meant, unfortunately, that quite a few were submerged in up to three feet of water for several days.  

Once the water receded, he began the emotional and physical hard work of culling his damaged product. He lay the completed Meranti doors out to dry but never thought they might be salvageable. Once they finished drying he discovered something remarkable: the Meranti doors  and shutters hadn’t warped or twisted at all, as compared to doors made of other wood!


Meranti wood is known for its durability and ability to withstand wet conditions, but this level of stress had never been tested on entire doors before.

The Baton Rouge millwork shop owner was able to sand the watermark off his beautiful (and valuable) doors, stain or paint them, and deliver them to their final destination. In the midst of so much destruction of property and loss of income, this one surprising turn of events brings hope and joy to one small business owner in Baton Rouge.

As for the Meranti, does anyone recommend submerging it in water for several days? Certainly not! However, the anecdotal evidence does show that this beautiful, dense, exotic hardwood is even more durable and stable than previously thought.




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