Bar Building Blog

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Hardwood Species for Your Custom Bar

Choosing the Right Wood Type for Your Bar

You’ve got your custom bar’s location all scoped and measured out, and you’ve taken the time to carefully consider the design elements you want to include.

The next major task you have to complete before you can move on to the building phase is to choose what species of wood you want your bar to be built from.

There are multiple species of hardwoods that would make a great custom bar (We carry more than a dozen species at Hardwoods Incorporated!), but finding the right one for your project is important to getting the finished look you want.

Here are 5 tips for finding the right type of hardwood for your project:

Your Space

Where your custom bar will be located is as important to choosing your hardwood species as how you want the bar to look.

If your bar will be in a light, airy space with lots of natural light, you can pretty much choose any species you want. For a brighter look, a lighter hardwood such as ash or maple is a good choice. If you’re going for that deeper, more traditional pub look, a darker hardwood such as Bubinga or walnut may suit your needs.

On the other hand, if you are going for that overall darker feel, or your bar will be in a small area, choosing a lighter wood species may help the space not feel overwhelming.

Design

The overall theme and feel you’re going for with your custom bar space is crucial to choosing the right type of hardwood.

A sports bar designed for friends to gather and watch the big game may be served better by light, bright wood species to give the space a friendly, inviting feel.

A fancy coffee bar, on the other hand, might benefit from a deep, rich wood species that lends a note of elegance to the space.

Your bar’s design and its purpose are going to play a big role in the wood you choose to use.

Stains

Whether you plan to stain your bar, and how dark you want to stain it, will play an important role in the wood species you choose.

Darker wood species, such as walnut, will need less staining and can look fantastic with just a layer of varnish to add protection and shine.

Lighter species such as poplar and white oak can handle much more stain and will change appearance depending on how dark you decide to stain them.

Accents

Whether you want to add accents to your bar, such as fluted columns or a foot rest, can also help determine what species of wood you choose. Additionally, how you want these accents to look – whether you want them to be the same color as the rest of the bar or a contrasting color – is something to keep in mind.

If you want contrasting accent pieces and main bar construction, do you want the predominant color to be dark or light? How much of your bar do you want to be in the contrasting color? And how will all these accents fit into the overall design of the rest of the room?

Location

Where you’re planning to house your new bar is going to play an important role in the species of wood you choose.

For indoor bars where there are no moisture concerns, you can choose any hardwood species that strikes your fancy. As long as you properly protect and seal it, keep it clean, and make any necessary repairs, your bar should hold up for years.

If your bar will be outdoors or in a basement that may see moisture or dampness, white oak and mahogany are highly recommended by the Hardwoods Incorporated team. These species are less likely to rot, so they can withstand rain, wind, and snow for longer periods of time than can other species.

Quality Hardwood Bar Parts for Your Custom Project

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we’ve spent years carefully designing and crafting all our bar parts – bar rails, bar tops, and more – to give you the beautiful custom bar you crave. From commercial coffee shops to intimate at-home cocktail bars, our products have been used across the world. Ready to get your project started? Check out our full online catalog!

What Is True Chicago Bar Rail Molding?

Chicago Bar Rail Molding Home BarChicago bar rail molding. The term has become popular in the bar-building industry in recent years, with more and more bar parts manufacturers marketing their products as “Chicago bar rail molding.”

But here at Hardwoods Incorporated, we make the original Chicago bar rail molding.

What Is True Chicago Bar Rail Molding?

The original Chicago bar rail moldings are thick and sturdy, built to withstand thousands of people bellying up to the speakeasy bar for their illicit drinks.

It has a stylized, curved apron, giving it a bold but smooth appearance.

This apron became a practical location for installing neon lighting to highlight the design elements of the bar front, or to install purse hooks for the ladies.

Hardwood Chicago Bar Rail

Real Chicago bar rail molding almost always includes radius corners to keep with the art deco tradition. You seldom see a mitered corner paired with true Chicago bar rail molding.

Chicago Bar Rail Dimension Diagram

What Else Is on the Market?

Other bar part manufacturers market their products as “Chicago bar rail,” but the designs are usually wafer-thin and lack an apron. This is to save on production costs and so they can be sold more cheaply.

You also won’t find many of these styles curved, as they’re more difficult and expensive to make.

At Hardwoods Incorporated, We Sell ONLY True Chicago Bar Rail Molding

The traditional Chicago bar rail molding design has been in constant production in our family mills since 1945. We have no intention of changing that anytime soon.

The Real Chicago Bar Rail from Hardwoods Inc

Our BR475-S Chicago bar rail moldings are available in straight and curved profiles to fit your bar’s individual needs. Choose from over a dozen domestic and exotic wood species, giving your bar the unique look you want.

We make all our bar rail moldings, including the Chicago bar rail molding, in-house from scratch, just as we’ve always done. We hand-select each piece of wood for close color and grain match, and we can assure a seamless fit for your bar top edge.

You won’t need an unsightly end cap when installing our bar rail molding; we recommend taking the time to use more professional end fitments and scribing methods that produce a clean, professional result.

Chicago Bar Rail Molding BR-475S>>Want to learn more about finishing your bar rail ends the Hardwoods Incorporated way? Check out our blog for tips!>>

To truly get the Chicago speakeasy experience in your home or commercial bar, choose the only original Chicago bar rail molding, the BR475-S from Hardwoods Incorporated. It’s in-stock in lengths up to 16’ with matching 6” and 12” radius corners.

Chicago Bar Rail Molding Hardwood Bar

We not only make everything we sell, but we also have over 40 years of experience building bars using the exact products we sell to our customers.

Have questions about building your own bar? Contact us at info@hardwoodsincorporated.com, or by phone at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated!

A Guide to Beer Types

Line of Different Types of Beer in Glasses

Favorite beer types are as personal as favorite foods – Everyone has their own opinions and own reasons for choosing a certain style.

Pale ales, pilsners, lagers… There are so many to choose from, and each has its own unique characteristics and flavors.

But if you look at the draught menu at your favorite restaurant and your head spins trying to figure out which one won’t taste terrible to you, we can help.

Check out this guide to beer types to help you select the type for you:

 

2 Basic Types of Beer

To begin, there are two basic types of beer: lagers and ales.

The difference between ales and lagers lies mostly in the type of yeast used to brew each type.

Lager yeast, Saccharomyces Pastorianus, is more comfortable in cold temperatures. Common lagers on the market include Heineken and Budweiser.

The yeast used in ales, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, prefers warmer temperatures.

Hops are typically used in brewing ales, giving the beer a bitter taste that counterbalances the sweet malts that are used in the brewing process.

 

3 Types of Ales

Brown Ale

Brown ales came to prominence in the 18th century, and was used to describe the various types of porters and stouts produced at the time.

Around a century later, the drum malt roller was developed, which allowed far more types of beer to be brewed. This drum malt roller utilized black malt, and any beer that didn’t use the roller and black malt became known as a “brown ale.”

Pale Ale

Pale ale was developed around 300 years ago, and was distinguished by other ales of the time by its more bitter taste.

India Pale Ale

India pale ale is a subtype of pale ale, so it is also more bitter than brown ales.

It gets its name from its popularity among officials of the East India Trading Company.

 

3 Types of Lagers

Pale Lager

Developed in the mid-19th century by German brewers who applied pale ale brewing techniques to the lagering methods in use at the time, pale lagers are the most popular type of beer in the world by sales.

These beers sometimes are called “pilsners,” but they differ from true pilsners in that they tend to be more dry and have a more pronounced hoppy aroma.

Pilsner

Pilsners were developed around the same time as pale lagers, only in the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic.

This beer type is more highly carbonated and has a more full, hoppier aroma than pale lagers.

Dark Lager

Dark lagers are visually often mistaken for stouts or porters, but the comparison ends there.

These beers are lighter in body with hops coming to the front and leaving what’s described as a pleasantly bitter taste.

 

Other Beer Types

German Bock

German Bock is a type of lager that is stronger and more smooth than other lagers. It has a more intense flavor that is the result of a longer brewing process.

Porter

The distinct roasted flavor of porters sets them apart from stouts, for which they’re often confused.

Porters also have a higher alcohol content than do stouts.

Stout

Stouts are believed to have started as a subtype of porters, being more full-bodied than their predecessor. Over the years, stouts have developed into their own type, even if there is a bit of confusion at where the line between porters and stouts is drawn.

Belgian Ale

During World War II, Belgian brewers were looking for alternatives to German beers such as pilsners and developed the Belgian ales.

These beers are often less bitter than other pale ales, and have sweet malty overtones and rich, thick heads. They also are more spicy than other pale ales.

Wheat Beer

These beers are typically light, making them perfect for spring and summer enjoyment. They may exhibit fruity characteristics and are typically cloudy with thick heads.

In Germany, there are laws stating exactly how much wheat must go into a beer that calls itself “wheat beer.”

Wild & Sour Ales

These two types of beer have grown out of the American craft brewing movement and are brewed with the Brettanomyces yeast strain.

All sour ales are considered wild, but to be considered a “sour ale” bacteria such as Lactobacillus or Pediococcus is used.

 

Hand-Selected Hardwood Bar Parts

Do you need a custom bar to show off your new beer knowledge to all your friends? At Hardwoods Incorporated, we create only the highest-quality bar rails, bar tops, and other bar parts for your home or commercial bar.

We use only the best hand-selected wood, backed by our exceptional customer service. Not sure what you’re looking for? Email us at info@hardwoodsincorporated.com or call (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565 for help from one of our skilled bar building professionals!

Home bar top by Hardwoods Incorporated.

We recently completed a custom home bar bar top for a local client using solid poplar hardwood. The project involved several offsets and notches to fit around a column and on top of irregular shaped cabinets. Pictured is the layout, measurement and design stage of the bar top project.

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Next we have the rough cut out and glue up stage where we over size the bar top blank for cutting later.

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Here we show the bar top blank cut to the size and shape and installed over the plywood sub top. Notice that the sub top extends past the main bar top (1-9/16″) on the long front and short edges where the Chicago bar rail will be installed.

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Pictured below is the finished bar top trimmed with our BR475 Chicago bar rail molding. The top is sanded and ready for delivery to the client who will stain and top coat the bar top to match their cabinets.

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If you are interested in having a custom bar top built, or if you are a “Do-it-yourselfer” looking for quality bar rails, bar top kits or bar front parts, contact the team at Hardwoods Incorporated.

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

6 Great Reasons to Choose Hardwoods Incorporated for Your Next Project

Custom Home Hardwood Bar

When building your custom bar for your home or business, we know you’ve got a lot of choices.

Size, style, materials, decor. … It can seem as if your options are never-ending before you even get started on your project.

When you choose Hardwoods Incorporated, you get exceptional quality, a wide range of options to find the look you want, and our unparalleled commitment to customer support.

Here are a few (of many!) reasons to choose Hardwoods, Incorporated for your next bar-building project:

Bar Rails & Bar Parts Are All We Do

Because we’re completely committed to providing our customers with the best-quality bar rails and bar parts in the business, we’ve chosen to focus solely on doing just that. We put everything we have into our bar rails and bar parts – All our skills, our innovation, and our efforts. This helps us provide you with the high-quality products you deserve.

Multiple Size, Style, & Species Options

All of our bar rails and bar parts come ready-to-ship in any of our eight main wood types. And our bar rails – all seven styles! – are available in varying lengths so you get exactly what you want.

Don’t see what you want in our ready-to-ship species or sizes? We can custom-make any of our bar rails and bar parts from any type of wood you’d like, even exotic hardwoods. Just ask!

We Make What We Sell

You won’t find mass-manufactured bar rails or pieces shipped from overseas pre-milled at Hardwoods, Incorporated. We get in truckloads of raw lumber and hand-select each piece before creating our high-quality bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts.

Then, we send that hand-selected wood through our specialized machinery right in our shop. After each piece comes out, we check it over to ensure that it’s of the quality we expect and that you deserve. We’re not a reseller; we only sell what we make ourselves.

Complete Bar-Building Options

Whether you’re looking to build out a bar top in one species of wood or need to fully outfit your bar front, we’ve got everything you need to make that happen!

Select your favorites from our bar top kits, glass rail, drip edge, and bar rail moldings to get that cohesive bar top you’ve always wanted for a professional look. Everything is specially designed to fit together easily so you won’t need see gaps or flaws you might find when choosing piecemeal from other vendors. And top it all off with high-quality fluted columns, bar front trim kits, and bar front planks cut to length.

Prompt & Careful Shipping

We know you’re excited to get started on that bar-building project, so we make sure to ship your items as quickly as we can while still handling your product carefully. Each piece is wrapped thoroughly in plastic, then rolled in cardboard and placed inside a specially designed shipping box. This helps your items arrive undamaged and ready for installation.

And if your items do arrive damaged? Give us a call and we’ll help you out!

Expert Advice for Your Project

From the beginning planning stage to choosing the right parts, from cutting the pieces to finishing your final product, the team at Hardwoods Incorporated is here to help you get the most out of your bar-building experience.

We offer a full library of bar-building resources to answer almost any question you may have. And if you can’t find the answer to your question there, give us a call and one of our experienced team members can help you. We’ve built bars ourselves, so we can help you troubleshoot your project for the best results.

Everything You Need for Building a Home Bar – Under One Roof!

Here at Hardwoods Incorporated, we’re pleased you’ve chosen us to help you get the bar of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for a great place to entertain your friends, want to renovate your commercial bar, or just want a great place to enjoy your favorite coffee, we’ve got everything you need to make your bar-building dreams come true! Check out our online shop today!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

Get Great Deals on Unique Products in Our Closeouts & Specials Section!

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Looking for a great deal for yourself or that bar-building enthusiast in your life this holiday season? Check out our Closeouts & Specials page for the latest unique and discounted items from Hardwoods Incorporated!

All these items are made in our shop right here in Maryland, but they have some natural inclusions that prevent us from listing them in regular inventory. You get the same great, high-quality product you’ve come to expect from Hardwoods Incorporated with a little extra character and at a lower price.

Most items are available for free shipping, so take advantage of these great deals before someone else does!

BR-475 White Oak Bar Rail Molding Lot

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This gorgeous rustic grouping of bar rail molding is perfect for commercial carpenters or those large-scale projects. With some knots and surface cracks, it’s sure to give your project a unique character you won’t find anywhere else.

There are 18 97” pieces and 11 6’ to 7’ pieces. Free shipping is not available on this item.

BR-475 Oak Bar Rail Molding

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Natural color variations in this gorgeous pairing are great for the smaller project that needs an individual touch. Get two pieces – one 93” and one 48” – for one great price!

BR-475 Walnut Bar Rail Molding

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Some minor natural defects and knotting on these pieces give it a stunning quality that’s perfect for any custom project. Get two pieces – 93” and 76” – to complete your bar!

High-Quality Bar Rail Moldings, Bar Top Kits, & More!

At Hardwoods Incorporated, bar rail moldings and bar pieces is all we do. We’re committed to providing you the best possible pieces for your unique project so you’re sure to have a finished product that’s the talk of the neighborhood.

Need help finding the pieces that are right for your project, or aren’t quite sure how to install that radius corner? Check out our full resource library or give us a call and we’ll walk you through it!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

Chicago Bar Rail Molding Specials with Free Shipping.

Have you checked out the deals on our closeouts and specials page recently? At Hardwoods Incorporated we’ve been busy changing and growing our product line and in the process have developed limited batches of select bar rail molding being offered at a discount with free shipping on most items. These bar rail moldings are in good condition and may contain small knots, mineral stain or other natural inclusions. Whether you are building a small home bar or large commercial bar you will likely find a deal on the bar rails you need with no compromises. To place and order or if you have any questions regarding our closeouts and specials give us a call 1-800-BAR-RAIL.

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We have made it our mission to help our customers get the results they want when building a bar. That’s why, in addition to providing high-quality hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and other bar building supplies, we provide a collection of helpful bar-building resources. And, if you can’t find the answer to your question there, just reach out and one of our bar-building experts will help!

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

7 Ways to Use Your Bar If You’re Not a Drinker

Home Basement Bar - 7 Ways to Use Your Bar If You’re Not a Drinker

When you think of a home bar, your mind automatically imagines a section of the house lined with various liquors and beers. While that’s what many people use that space for, the home bar can also be so much more.

Fortunately, there are countless ways to utilize a home bar that don’t include pouring a single drop of alcohol. Here are some of our favorite ways for non-drinkers to use a home bar:

Unique TV Setup

With a countertop for food and drinks and an entire back wall to stare at, home bars can also make for a perfect TV-watching spot. Installing a nice, big flatscreen on the wall of your bar allows you and your company to watch anything – from big games to blockbuster movies – from the casual comfort of your bar stools.

You don’t have to stop there! Use the space around your TV to store DVDs or Blurays, or even plug in your video game consoles along the back wall to create a larger-than-life gaming experience! Snacks and drinks can also be stashed away in cabinets or a fridge, guaranteeing a distraction-free night of entertainment.

Expansive Display Case

If you use your imagination, the back wall of a home bar can be used in countless ways! For example, let’s start with the obvious: it’s a great place to store your glasses and drinkware. If you have handsome glasses, crystal, or china, you can decorate the area around the bar to make it look more classy and modern.

Of course, drinkware is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can display on the back of a home bar wall! Do you have any particularly special sports memorabilia you’d like to display? Or maybe a few choice movie posters? Maybe you have an expansive collection of some sort, like bobbleheads or shot glasses? Proudly show off anything and everything you want!

Electric Fireplace Insert Display

Not every home is blessed with a built-in fireplace, but an electric fireplace insert can still create a very cozy atmosphere! Installation isn’t always cheap, but the end result can instantly transform an empty home bar into a bright, warm, relaxing leisure space.

If you want to really capture a rustic ambiance, wood paneling along the walls and some warm flannel blankets will definitely help set the scene. Use the extra shelf space to house a coffee maker or some hot cocoa mix, store a few warm slippers behind the bar, and settle in safe from the cold.

Personal Aquarium

A lot of home bars have a nautical theme to them, which can make for a really atmospheric and fun place to entertain guests. Deck your bar out in anything from traditional rustic sailing designs to loud and expressive luau decorations.

With all of that free back wall space, you could even go the extra mile and install a large fish tank for your guests to gather around and admire. Large aquariums, of course, are a commitment, but they’re also unparalleled centerpieces and conversation starters that can really compliment a seafaring-themed home!

At-Home Ice Cream Parlor

Even if you stay away from alcohol, you can still use your bar as a bar. Instead of serving up martinis and Bloody Marys, though, consider using that space to serve up something arguably just as delicious!

Use the back wall and shelving space to store your spoons and various-sized dishes, and use any extra space to keep a variety of cones, toppings, candies, and syrups. Of course, you’re going to want a decent-sized freezer to house all of the different flavors for your family and guests.

If mixing drinks can be considered an artform, shouldn’t the same be said for mixing different ice cream sundaes?

Wrap-Around Dinner Table

Think for a moment why people hang out by bars? Why do people have them in their homes? Why do some bars have regulars? What is it about that kind of space that draws people in so often?

Honestly, it’s the sense of community. People like to sit down, have a drink (alcoholic or not), and talk to each other. That kind of camaraderie is universal and gathering around a bar counter in your own home is perfect evidence of that.

If you really think about it, home bars are an excellent place to sit down and have a delicious dinner with your family. Many home bars wrap around, allowing everyone to be able to see one another while talking and eating. Use the back wall space to put in a small TV to watch, or invest in a jukebox and allow each family member to choose a tune. Either way, a home bar provides a unique sense of togetherness that every member of your family will appreciate.

Classy Coffee Bar

Just because you don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t use your bar to serve up some tasty beverages. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, having your own setup at home can curb those cravings for some expensive takeout coffee.

Keep your French press, pour-over brewer, or espresso machine always at hand, along with your selection of syrups and mugs. If you enjoy lattes or cappuccinos, install a mini fridge to hold your milk of choice for easy frothing. An at-home coffee bar makes a great addition to those holiday mornings gathered around with family!

Everything You Need to Build Your Own Unique Home Bar

Feeling inspired yet? Itching for a fun place to entertain your family, friends, and yourself? At Hardwoods Inc., we craft exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts to turn your extra space into the hangout of your dreams. Check out our online store!

Introducing the Newest Way to Personalize Your Bar: Bar Front Trim Planks

White Bar Front Trim Planks

New from Hardwoods Inc. is a different way to customize your home or commercial bar: Bar front trim planks.

These planks can be installed vertically or horizontally on your bar front to give your project a Craftsman-like look and elegance. Add depth to your bar front in any length or configuration you want.

Install our bar front trim planks on their own, or with our bar front fluted columns for some extra flair. These simple trim planks even can be cut to different widths to vary the look. You’re only limited by your imagination!

These ¾” thick, 6” wide, 8’ long trim planks come in poplar, oak, cherry, maple, mahogany, or walnut to match the rest of your bar. Check out all the offerings in our online store, or contact us today for help selecting the look that’s right for you!

Custom Made Bar Tops by Hardwoods Inc

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we make custom bar tops and bar top kits for both home and commercial bars. Whether you are looking for a traditional wood bar top with bar rail molding or a natural edge slab bar top, we can help – all we need is a rough sketch with dimensions and your input.

We provide an itemized list of materials, labor, shipping costs, and time frame for your project so you can decide to either DIY the bar top or have us make it for you. Either way, we make the process simple by providing all you need to make your bar top from our one-stop bar building shop.

Lacewood Bar Top with BR475 bar rail molding and radius cornersCorner shot - Lacewood Bar Top with BR475 bar rail molding and radius corners

Pictured is a solid Lacewood bar top featuring our BR475 Bar rail molding and matching radius corners, custom made for a client in Alexandria Virginia.

solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail moldingCorner shot - solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail molding

Pictured here is a solid red oak bar top trimmed with our BR475-S Chicago bar rail molding and matching radius corner custom fabricated for a customer in New York City.

solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding1solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding

Pictured is a solid Sapele mahogany slab trimmed with our maple BR475 Bar rail molding to complete this custom home bar top for our client in Chicago Illinois.

Imported African Bubinga natural edge bar top

Pictured above is natural edge bar top made from a 3” thick slab of imported African Bubinga for a client in Miami, Florida.

Building the bar yourself? This is where we come in by providing everything needed to make your bar top and finish your bar front.

Pictured below are tongue and grooved main bar top kits that ship knock down and ready to assemble on your plywood sub top. Next we have our Chicago bar rail moldings and matching radius corners, carefully selected to compliment your bar top. All of our bar top parts come with full installation instructions, templates and finishing suggestions.

tongue and grooved main bar top kitstongue and grooved main bar top kits bar rails

When following our bar building resource guidelines, all you’ll need to do is cut your parts to length, sand, finish and enjoy your new bar top.

bar front fluted columns diagrambar front fluted columns diagram - Bar front trim kits

Looking for a convenient way to finish off the front of your bar? Why not consider using our bar front fluted columns and bar front trim kits? The team at Hardwoods Incorporated has over 40 years’ experience in actually building home and commercial bars. We’ve worked through many complicated installations and obstacles. When you are ready to get started, visit our website, call us, or email us your questions or rough sketch and we will help you select the right parts to build your bar or provide a quote to make it for you.

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated.

The Hardwoods Incorporated team