BILL LONG + JUSTIN HERRINGTON
“The tree gives me grain to accentuate. The beauty is in the life, stress, and rot of the tree itself.”
Born and raised in the Low country, Bill Long began his career in furniture restoration after graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Urban Administration. Classically trained in the Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton styles with almost 30 years of fine period furnishing restoration under his belt at Golden & Associates Antiques, Long began to focus on the creation of his own ideas. In ensuing years, Long started to build spec furniture in an effort to give new life to grand, exotic trees harvested for scrap wood from Low country plantations and riverbeds. Inspired by sculptor-craftsman George Nakashima, one of the fathers of the 20th-century American craft movement, Long integrates the use of various traditional hand tools as well as polish and joinery techniques into clean-lined, modern furniture. In accordance with Nakashima, Long believes in the soul of the tree, manipulating the wood to have a “free-edge” aesthetic. He explores the organic expressiveness of wood, choosing boards with knots and burls and figured grain. Long’s signature woodworking design includes furniture made of large wood slabs with smooth tops but unfinished natural edges, consisting of multiple slabs connected with butterfly joints. Perhaps most significant, he approaches woodworking with discipline and patience, striving for perfection in every stage of construction.
Bill Long has been featured in Charleston Mag as well as The Bridge Radio Station, with much of his work residing in private collections. Long’s studio is located in a 20th century farmhouse in Hollywood, South Carolina, about 30 miles from Charleston.
“Once I have a vision, the execution is nothing; I’m just letting the wood be what it is.” -Bill Long, featured in Charleston Magazine
“You can just see the love in Bill Long’s one-of-a-kind furniture pieces—love of the wood, that defining grain, and the pure form....He continues the city’s long tradition of furniture makers, and his reverence for that heritage extends down to the source of the wood itself. 'That’s just part of being Southern,' he says.” -Stephanie Boozer
BORN AGAIN HEARTWOODS:
Based in Meggett South Carolina, Born Again Heartwoods (Bill Long and Justin Herrington) is dedicated to giving life to sinker logs once lost to the untamed bottom-land swamps and rivers by early South Carolinians. Sinker logs are known by several names such as deadheads, old growth, and virgin growth. These sinker logs emerge from their dark, muddy tombs with an unmatched strength and beauty lost to timber today due to modern cultivation. By recovering these sinker logs, Born Again Heartwoods gives birth to a variety of virgin cypress, long leaf heart pine, and other heartwood products which are a GREEN resource. South Carolina was once the home of some of the largest old growth virgin bald cypress trees in the country, just over a hundred years ago. Men like Francis Beidler could see the value in what was considered worthless bottom-land swamp. Between the end of the Civil War and World War I, the southeast United States virgin bottom land forest were cleared at an alarming rate. Virgin forest were once the homes of huge cypress, black tupelo, black oaks, long leaf heart pine, short leaf heart pine, black walnut, willows, sweet gum, green ash, and so much more. Today modern cultivation has left our lands covered with southern yellow pine which grows to saw-log size in under 50 years. Thanks to Mr. Beidler, a small plot of virgin bottom-land forest still exists as the Congaree National Park where huge old-growth cypress and virgin long leaf pine can still be found.
Born Again Heartwoods not only recovers lost sinker cypress and heart pine from the rivers, bottom land swamps, and lakes of South Carolina- we also provide a variety of custom products such as furniture design, large table and bar top slabs, milling, beams, rough-cut lumber, T&G flooring and paneling, siding, and more. Sinker old growth virgin cypress and heart pine are far more durable than modern cypress and heart pine. Old growth virgin cypress siding is still found featured in most historical Charleston homes, and heart pine beams continue to support the roofs which line the Charleston Battery after centuries of hurricanes and warfare. Once great plantation halls flank the Ashley River with heart pine flooring and virgin cypress timber- looking as elegant as it first did when initially installed almost three hundred years ago. Virgin heart woods have remained long after they were forgotten. Born Again Heartwoods brings these superior old growth virgin heart woods back to life, and with it, a piece of history otherwise unseen.