Archive for the 'About Us' Category


5 Steps to a New Iron Entryway

I think that replacing your front door with an iron entryway could sound a bit intimidating.  I’ve had plenty of people ask me if they could do it, as if they’re asking for permission.  And I can tell you that even though it’s not a traditional material that doors are made out of, any door can be replaced with an iron door.  Here’s how:

New awesome iron door

Step 1: Walk outside to your front yard, turn around and look at your door and think, ‘hm, I think an iron door would be better’.  Any questions there?  I didn’t think so, moving on to step 2.

Step 2: Give us a call (or I suppose you could come see us).  Why would you go anywhere else with something this important?  Seriously, the reason it’s important to start here is so that we can get the right information to move on to the next step.  I should add here, we have a few guys here that have sold a bunch of these and know just what to look out for.

Step 3: We come to your house and measure.  Here is the thing with iron doors; there are certainly things that can go wrong with them.  Iron doors can come in special sizes (most we sell are made to order), with special styles, patterns and so forth.  And it’s our goal to make sure that if anything goes wrong, its our fault and not yours.  Now this very rarely happens but with something this big, it’s just best if we do the measuring.

Step 4: Pick out a door and order it.  OK, so this is sort of two steps but 5 sounds so much better than 6.  Anyway, I already mentioned that they are made to order.  But don’t worry if you’re afraid of too many choices, its easier than you think.  And if you do have a particular pattern in mind, we can probably make it happen.

Step 5:  We come and install it.  The time it takes to get these doors in is a matter of a few weeks, not days.  But as they say, you cant rush perfection, right?  Again, I say, it’s important that we do the work here.  This is not like installing any other doors.  Our highly trained staff that has already installed many of them, who is also the same staff that measures for them, are the right people for the job.

McClelland Before

From This…

McClel After

To this!


The pics above aren’t great photos (we do doors, not photography:)) but it is an actual before and after we did recently.  And that’s it.  All we ask is that you give us a shot.  Call us at 256-852-7411 and press 1 for sales, or see us on the web.  Thanks for reading.


3 Points About 3 Point Locks

As technology improves, doors are getting better.  For example, for years, maybe forever, the locking mechanism on a door looked something like this Callan lock.

_sdead15Now I’m not saying Adam and Eve had one of these.  If they did, I guess they could have hidden behind it and not had to wear those awful fig leaves.  But I’d wager that from the beginning of doors, there was something on the door, be it a metal stick or whatever, that connected to the wall somehow and kept the door closed.

The basic deadbolt pictured above is simple and genius.  It only opens if you have a key, its not easy to reach the strike to pry it open (without a good deal of trouble).  And it doesn’t really get in the way of anything.  So, most doors have one of these or something very similar.

Now meet the technological advancement:

trilennium2I really am a poor photographer, sorry.  This is a three point locking system.  There are different manufacturers but this one you can get here at Wilson Lumber is from Endura, its called Trilennium.  Don’t google it, its not in the dictionary, but it probably means super fancy snazy secure locking system.

There are three reasons why this is a good idea (they’re sales pitch is more than three but in my opinion some are redundnant):

1. Strength – Both the Trilennium locks and the locks on the Andersen doors we carry are made of a one piece I-beam that runs along the edge of the door.  This is not only stronger to prevent break-ins, but actually helps maintain the stability of the door slab itself over time.  (Boy I hope my Andersen rep doesn’t read this and see me comparing the two, he’ll spend a day in my office telling me why his is better, and it may be.)

2. User Friendly – A single quarter turn of the knob locks all three deadbolts simultaneously.  And its just as smooth and easy to unlock… IF, you’re inside the home.

3. Its great looking – For a couple of reasons.  The back plate and sleek design make for a beautiful appearance, but its also a deterrent to a would be criminal.  It will take quite a bit more than a credit card or a pocket knife to get into one of these, and you can tell it by looking at it.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the single deadbolt, we sell a ton of them.  But if security is just a little more important to you, I’d recommend checking these out.  We have them on display.  Come by or visit us on the web.


Why Builders Buy Where Builders Buy

Last week I posted some of the results of a study about why remodeling contractors buy where they do.  Now, here are a couple of slides from The Farnsworth Group from the same study done on new home builders.  What are the most important factors to a new home builder when choosing a supplier?

builders selection

Looks like availability wins again.  This one is a little more interesting than last weeks.  In 2005, availability was tied at 3rd with customer service, behind quality products and price.  Now you can see that it has worked its way to the top, with price being in 2nd, customer service 3rd and quality in 4th.

Why?  I can tell you that availability isn’t really a problem right now so its not due to supply.  Is it because suppliers are getting worse at delivery?  Well, not this supplier anyway.  Is it because builders are so busy they just want the stuff regardless of quality?  I do know that a few are super busy but I don’t know of any builders who wouldn’t take more business.  Do builders simply care less about quality and service than they used to?  Maybe but I hope not.

Draw your own conclusions here, all I have is theories and I don’t particularly like any of them.

Now, where do new home builders choose to get their products?

builders where

Well, one thing is clear on this one.  What hasn’t changed is the need for “Lumber/Building Materials Dealers”.  I know this because I are one:)  The amount of purchases from Specialty Wholesalers has dropped a bit.  That’s guys that specialize in one area, like vinyl siding, sheetrock or the like.  I don’t know why.

I do know this.  While its comforting to know that the need for people like Wilson Lumber is constant, we dare not let ourselves get complacent.  Two reasons: One, there are plenty of other guys like us that want what we have.  And two, although the building process generally hasn’t changed in decades, there may be a better mousetrap around the corner.

And when it comes, Wilson Lumber will be on the forefront, as always.  If you need anything, give us a call (256-852-7411) or visit us on the web at


Availability more important than quality???

So I was at yet another conference last week.  I’m done with those for a while, there’s only so much ‘conferencing’ one can do in a year.  Anyway, Jim Robisch from The Farnsworth Group presented on a study they did.


What this says is that the most important thing to a remodeling contractor when selecting a supplier is availability.  This makes sense to me.  When remodeling, one thing is constant, you just never know what you’re going to get in to.  For example, when you open up a wall and find termites/rot/mold/whatever, you need the right products to fix it and you need them right now.

The interesting thing about this study is how quality products were the number one driver in 2005 but have dropped way behind availability now (still tied for 2nd place).  I should be quick to say that of all the remodeling contractors that come in the store here, I don’t know of any that would say quality is less important now than it used to be, but I suspect they might still agree with the study.

The study also included new home builders, perhaps I’ll share from that next week.  Until then, if you need anything from us (because we have great product availability) give us a call at 256-852-7411 or see us on the web.


Wilson Lumber (and matchmaking service?)

Something was said not long ago that got me to thinking about how it was when I first started at Wilson Lumber.  First, I am Robb Wilson, third generation owner of Wilson Lumber.  There are five owners, three active in the business, two retired.  I started at age 12 cutting grass and making copies.

I worked every summer, and in the summer of my 16th year (the current age of my oldest son) I met my wife who worked for the company.  Here we are back then:

Cassie and I - 1987

ugh, my hair.

Anyway, the funny thing is, my brother married a girl who worked here and my sister married a boy who worked here.  They knew each other outside of the company but I met my beautiful wife here.

I got off at 4 and she worked until 5.  So I would hang around where she was answering the phone until 5 and we would talk.  That is, until my Uncle Bill told me that IF I was going to hang around and flirt with the girls, THEN I at least had to have a broom in my hands.  I assure you, there’s never been a cleaner section of floor than where the receptionist desk was.  Here’s us at Buckhorn’s Prom in 1988.

Prom 1988We found out that we both liked tennis (I couldn’t even spell tennis back then but if she liked it, then I did to) so we decided to go play, it was our first ‘date’.  She stomped me mercilessly, then I found out she played for Buckhorn, ouch.  Soon after that, we went on our second date and at that time, my family wasnt going to church anywhere.  She told me that night that she could not date someone who was not going to church.  So guess where I was the next Sunday: her church, of course.

Now 26 years later, things have changed:

IMG_0404And I don’t regret a thing.  We’ve seen ups and downs in business and its been a ton of fun and I look forward to more.  But no business ups, downs, plans or anything else comes close to the pursuit of Cassie Patterson and the dividends it has paid me.  What a girl!

Well, perhaps I’m simply feeling nostalgic today.  Or maybe you wanted to know something deeper about the company I write about in this blog.  In either case, thanks for reading.  And if you need anything from us see us on the web or give us a call at 256-852-7411.


Why do some drills have two speed settings?

Most of you probably already know the answer to this question, but this is one of those things that suppliers probably assume and therefore never explain.  Especially when you go to their website and the feature is, “High speed transmission delivers 2-speed settings (0-600/0-2,000 RPM) improving speed and torque control across a range fastening and drilling applications”.  Well, we’re happy it improves whatever, but why?

Well first, all of them don’t have two speeds.  Many less expensive drills wont and many times, electric drills (not cordless) wont.


Most drills that do have two speeds have a slide switch right on top.  And here is why.  Simply put, the slow speed is for driving screws and the faster speed is for drilling holes… Except, the slower speed works best if you are drilling holes into metal.

Why?  Well, there are different theories but the main reason is so that you dont rush the bit and let it do its work to make a truer hole. 

You must understand of course, that this information is coming from a guy that sells tools to contractors, not woodworkers.  For a drill press that a woodworker or mechanic would use, forget everything you just read.  Some of those guys will drill as slow as 300rpm or maybe even slower depending on the application.

If you need any more information (or particularly if you need to buy any tools:)), come by and see us.  You can always see us on the web by clicking here.


business conference…

I am currently at a business conference.  Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like conferences and this one is the best there is for our business.  Great minds come together and I get benefit from learning from them.

The problem with this conference is, it’s hard to stay focused:


I mean, for crying out loud.  This is the view from the conference room.  How I am supposed to learn anything in these conditions is completely beyond me.  And it was actually cloudy when this picture was taken.

Anyway, the conference is the Executive Council on Construction Supply and you’ve never heard of it.  It’s an invitation only deal for folks like me.  Well, I say like me but its really like I wrote before, it’s a bunch of people smarter than me.  They are where I want to be in business.

One of the tenets of our Mission Statement is that we want to inspire people to grow.  Hence, I’m here getting inspired to grow.  What do you do for growth?  A hobby?  Some sort of training?  Conferences?

Let me encourage you to never stop.  The old saying is true, you’re either growing or you’re dying.  As for Wilson Lumber’s part, we choose growth.  Growth in the face of poor economic conditions, growth in the face of the view of a lake you’d rather be out on than in a conference.

Keep growing and if there’s anything we can help you with give us a call (256-852-7411) or click here to see us on the web.

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