#HomeGrownStories – Cody Long
Cody Long and his father, Rod, started Tuscarora Wood MidWest in 2006 in Covington, Ohio. They salvage wood from old barns and other structures in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The wood is then milled and repurposed into unique, one-of-a-kind products. They work on local projects as well as supply wood for projects across the country.
On living in Miami County:
I grew up here in Covington. My dad grew up near Columbus Grove and my mom is from here so they settled here. I live near Pleasant Hill now. I always thought I would stay in the area when I was growing up. My dad built houses for about 35 years in the Troy and Tipp City area. I worked for him when I was growing up. It’s always what I thought I would do.
About Tuscarora Wood MidWest:
I had a brother-in-law who lived in the Tuscarora [pronounced tuhs-kuh-rawr-uh] Mountains of Pennsylvania. He started a wood shop called Tuscarora Wood. His business got big enough that he needed to spread out. In 2006 we got out of construction and started our shop to supplement his business. Since he was Tuscarora Wood we called our shop Tuscarora Wood Midwest. He has since sold out of the business and moved out west.
We work with reclaimed wood from barns and structures in Ohio and Pennsylvania. We also get barn wood from up-and-down the whole east coast. Occasionally we get some factory and house timber.
We salvage barn wood from a variety of different situations. Some barns are falling down or caving in. They’re often on abandoned property and need to come down. Other barns are in good shape; they’re nice structures but they do not fit the needs of the current owner or farmer. If a barn has structural issues or it costs too much to fix, the homeowners will have the barn removed. There are working farms where the farmer cannot use the old barn the way he would like to. The barn was built 100 to 150 years ago and big tractors and equipment weren’t around then. Once the barn is removed they can build a nice pole barn that they actually can use. We’ve provided wood in several areas around Russia and Minster for barn restoration. We salvaged specific barns in Miami County for those new barns.
We bring the wood here on semi. If there is any metal or hardware in the wood we remove it before sawing the wood into boarding and kiln drying it. Kiln drying is really important, even in old wood, it kills any bug life that may have been in the barn. It also reduces the moisture content. This wood is a lot easier to work with than newer wood. It’s been air drying and curing for 100+ years. We can mill a larger product and much wider plank flooring than what you could buy from a big-box store. The wood is a much more stable product. After we kiln dry the wood, we run it through several different milling processes to plank it out. When a customer places an order we can mill it into a tongue and groove product and load it on pallets to ship.
We make custom fireplace mantles, sliding barn doors, ceiling beams and stair packages. We do a lot of stair treads and hand railing. Anything to do with reclaimed wood we can custom make it or have it created at other shops. We do some installation for local projects. My dad, Rod, takes care of that since he worked on houses for 35 years. We’ve gotten busy enough here at the shop that we’ve been sub-contracting a good bit of the installations.
We still work with the homeowners and a lot of the time we go out and do the finish work, even if we sub out some of the work. We’re still very hands-on with them through the whole process.
On the community response to Tuscarora Wood MidWest:
The community response has been great. At first, a lot of people noticed the wood stacked outside but they didn’t know what we were doing. You can’t see inside the shop. We’ve been going to the Miami Valley HomeWorld show at the Dayton Airport Expo Center. We’ve been working with Brent of Welborn Creative to design our website and market our business. As we’ve been getting the word out to the community about what we do we’ve gotten busy. A worry of ours lately is that we’re marketing too much! We’re pretty busy with what we have already. We’ve hired more employees to keep up with the local demand. It’s been overwhelming, but also very good.
We got started in 2006. I would say that we started picking up more retail work and working with more builders four or five years ago. We still do a lot of wholesale work nationwide. Working with local retailers and builders opened up a lot of doors and avenues for us that we didn’t have before.
What he loves most about Miami County:
Growing up here, I’d say that it definitely has a small town feel. I’ve traveled to a lot of different states in the US. You can go to California and a lot of different awesome places, but I enjoy coming back to Miami County and Ohio. I love the small towns, the fields, everything this area has to offer. The communities in these small towns allow you to get to know everybody up and down the street. From the business side of things, it’s great having this community to work with. We have clients from the area and we run into them on a regular basis and develop a more personal relationship. It’s very different from putting wood on a semi and shipping it out to an unknown client who knows where. It’s a lot more personal here. We still get to know our west coast clients but it’s a different setting. It’s great to have personal relationships with our customers here in Miami County.
How Miami County is different from other places he has visited:
We are in the heart of barn territory right here in the Miami County. The greater Ohio area is the heart of old farmland from the early 1800s up through the early 1900s. Everything happened right here. In our industry, the best product and the best barns are coming out of this area. That carries over to the people that are here. There are a lot of people in Miami County and Ohio that know how to get things done with their hands. They’re good at hands-on work and know how to get things accomplished here in Southwest Ohio. I like that and respect that about this area.
His Miami County recommendations for out-of-town visitors:
Al’s BP here in Covington is the local hotspot. He has an ice cream stand at the gas station. It’s always packed there.
There are a lot of recreational opportunities here. We like the bike trails. You can go from Tipp City to Troy to Piqua on the bike path. We do a lot of things outside, there’s a lot of outdoor experiences you can have here.
Tipp City has a lot of great restaurants like Coldwater Cafe and Harrison’s Restaurant. There are several small town restaurants that are one-of-a-kind. They’re not chain restaurants.
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