While the driving rain and wind of a hurricane may be a scary thought for most of us, for Kyle Martin it typically means that he will be seeing a choice selection.
“When you get a storm like the one we had recently—the hurricane —that just pushes down everything,” Martin said. “We got good walnut and cherry trees (after the storm). People want to get them off their lawns.”
Martin is the owner of , a small wood mill on East Mountain Road. Agincourt specializes in providing choice lumber and wood products directly to consumers and wood craftsmen, and in carpentry.
“I’m building some cabinets as we speak with wood that was salvaged from a storm a few years back from a majestic walnut tree,” Martin said. ”It’s a good way to keep them in the local area without putting it up the chimney.
Martin says Agincourt handles wood from from cradle to grave—which is just about everything other than planting the tree. For example, if a homeowner wants a piece of furniture or wood flooring they simply walk in and specify the type of lumber they’d like and have the piece created.
What makes Agincourt different is that Martin hand-selects the wood and lumber.
“It’s not your typical old pine, think great stuff,” Martin said. “We have over 40 species of local hardwoods and exotics but mostly your ash, walnut, cherry oaks, maples, cedars and mulberries.”
There is a reason that Agincourt can offer some of the best lumber around.
“After working for an English company, my father started Agincourt Lumber as a way to promote West Virginia hardwoods and sell them up here,” Martin said.
The mill gets its name from The Battle of Agincourt, an English victory on October 25, 1415 against a numerically superior French army in the Hundred Year’s War.
“When I started getting involved in the business,” Martin said, “I bought local logs from tree services and the township. I was always looking for higher-quality things like you get from the wholesalers. That evolved into having our own sawmill now we have everything on site here.”
Martin said that 75 percent of his lumber is from local sources in New Jersey.
“You’d be surprised (how good the wood is),” Martin said. “We have to weed through them though. There is a lot of metal in the local logs. By the time the tree service gets to them they are already in decline and not salvageable.”
One of the things that a consumer can do is go directly to Agincourt—and if they knew how much they could get for the tree they might attempt to do so. Martin said that tree services typically give homeowners a discount if they let them keep the logs. The tree service will then sell a truckload for perhaps $100. But the tree service company or the consumer can receive between $300 and $500 from Agincourt “if they get the right log,” Martin said.
Martin said that walnut wood is a hot commodity right now. “but it has to be a two plus foot diameter to be worth much," Martin said. "Four years ago, cherry was a hot commodity.”
Despite walnut's popularity, Martin said that his steady sellers are white oak and red oak.
“We have three-four foot diameter red oaks around here than 100 plus years old to produce some really nice quarter lumber," he said. "That’s one of my specialties.”
Much of that wood get turned into products such as flooring, millwork including doors, windows, cabinetry and other furniture.
Despite the hand-selected wood and all the care that goes into producing the highest quality lumber, Martin said that is prices are very reasonable to the point where he is often able to undercut big box retailers.
“Since we cut out the middleman...kiln-dried lumber directly from a sawmill that says it all right there,” Martin said.
Another area where big box retailers cannot compete: customer service.
“I talk to the customers and I try to match the perfect word to the customers needs,” Martin said. “If they want two-inch strips, I am not going to sell them three-foot wide board. I was listen to the customer and tried to match up the product with their expectations.”