The History of Plastic Lumber

Re-posted from my linkedin profile blog

Since the 1980’s plastic lumber has found its way into many unique consumer applications.  Originally a waste product without a home, HDPE post-consumer scrap like bales of milk jugs and PE bottles began to catch the interest of enterprising businessmen.  Technology was born to separate, clean and turn the post-consumer materials into a usable feed stock for further processing through continuous extrusion and molding.  The term “Plastic Lumber” has been loosely used to refer to both fully synthetic HDPE profiles as well as composite materials such as produced by the large decking brands that are sold in national home chains.  Narrowly defined, plastic lumber is actually a fully synthetic product and adversely any product containing or blended with natural fibers takes on the name “Composite” by definition.

Many companies were launched post this technological discovery most of which were bought up by publicly traded USPL in the late 90’s.  New applications were developed every day and the niche plastic lumber industry expanded rapidly.  The flexible non-structural nature of the material drove it into segmented and niche market applications.  High grade finished lumber became popular among furniture builders due to its longevity and the ease of maintenance that it offered.   While low grade materials began to replace wood in many applications where rapid degradation of natural fibers forced replacement and drove costs too high.  Applications like rail ties, manure spreader floors, and parking stops just to name a few.  Bridges, pilings and other highly engineered products have also been developed utilizing some level of HDPE and other synthetics blended.

Originally the recycled, or “Green” nature of the post-consumer raw materials played a large marketing role.  Known as the material made from milk jugs plastic lumber gained fame as the products made from it continued to gain awareness.  The reality of these original green content claims has been called into question many times even by the FTC.  The fact remains that a large portion (in excess of 70%) of the plastic lumber market place does indeed come from post-consumer materials and the remaining portion is produced using postindustrial material.

Quick lived USPL closed its doors only a few short years after it completed its buying rampage in the 90’s.  Effectively once again fragmenting the American plastic lumber manufacturers and positioning them mainly throughout the upper mid-west.  Most of these enterprising plastic manufacturers each tailor their products to a specific niche within the general plastic lumber marketplace.  Some of the most prevalent applications for plastic lumber such as Adirondack outdoor furniture are widely recognized.  However, hidden inside this incredibly fragmented world of plastic lumber applications and ready to pounce on the over-served composite decking market is a hidden gem.  Synthetic plastic lumber decking has been developed and it offers incredible longevity and aesthetic beauty.

Closing the loop this decade by turning millions of tons of post-consumer scrap into usable and beautiful products, plastic lumber quietly celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Rev. Charles Pletcher Jr., Nappanee, Indiana

My Grandfather Charles Pletcher Jr., was a local farmer all of his life.  The family farm in Nappanee continues to prosper under the fourth generation of family leadership.


Rev. Charles Pletcher Jr., 94, Nappanee, passed on to his heavenly home at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, at his residence. He lived his lifetime in this area. He was born March 7, 1922, to Charles D. and Emma (Herr) Pletcher in Nappanee. Rev. Charles graduated from Nappanee High School and attended Goshen Mennonite College. On April 17, 1943, he married Virginia J. Goss in Nappanee. She preceded Rev.-Charles-Pletcherin death Aug. 31, 2000.

He was a member of the Northwood Chapel. He was one of the first charismatic leaders in this area. Rev. Charles was a Minister and farmer. He was the founder of Northwood Chapel, where he was a minister for many years, and was affiliated with Gospel Crusade in Bradenton, Fla.

Surviving are his children: Larry (Deloris) Pletcher, Nappanee; Ron (Sharon) Pletcher, Waterford; Ruth Willman, Nappanee; John (Micki) Pletcher, Nappanee; Stephen Pletcher, Nappanee; 15 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; and a sister: Elizabeth Hunt, Goshen. He was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law: Marvin Willman; daughter-in-law: Carol Pletcher; and half sister: Marjorie Hamilton; Marian Weldy; and Mary Brubaker.

Family and friends may call from 4-8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26, at Thompson-Lengacher and Yoder Funeral Home, Nappanee, and one hour prior to the funeral services at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Northwood Chapel.  Rev.  Joseph Chadburn will officiate and burial will be in South Union Cemetery.

I was blessed with over thirty years of relationship with my Grandfather and during that time he blessed me with many life lessons.


Headless Guitar String Adapter Review

Over the years I have owned a multitude of various headless instruments, most notably of the Steinberger variety. Utilizing double ball end strings for my instruments was in some way an exhibition of excellence, knowing that theoretically the double ball end string is the way to go.  However, there were times when procuring double ball end strings proved to be bottleneck and in those times I dreamed of a simple solution.  When I uncovered I figured that their adapters had to be worth a try and for a mere $60 plus a few dollars of shipping I had my very own adapter to experiment with.

The pleasure of purchasing and immediately using any set of strings my heart desired far outweighed the feeling of exclusivity achieved from the double ball end lifestyle.  Albeit I still do use double ball end strings there is not a date in time that you can pick up by guitar case and not find an adapter readily available.

There are several reasons I chose and those are the same reasons I do not regret buying through them.  First, they are made in the USA by a small shop that is easy to work with.  The quality of every single adapter I have purchased has been superb (no problems so far anyway).  I have bought several and have used them now for many (6 I think?) years.

For more info on this nifty product visit their website:

The Amazing Hoover Dam

Lets start with this information resource on the potential life span of the Hoover Dam.  Pretty cool stuff. Lets continue with a little Google tour of the dam.  This photo, looking down the dam is probably my favorite.  Now, here are some great images of the inside of the Hoover Dam.

Probably one of the most popular man made attractions in the USA, the Hoover Dam never ceases to amaze.  One of those incredible feats that inspires awe and respect for those who labored to create it.

Read the Hoover Dam story, or what the government says about it.  Also, just for kicks, here is yet another situation where an employer is struggling to find good employee’s to hire

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam


Articles from the Past

Many articles have been written about Hoover Dam. Here we will try to assemble a few of the better ones to give you not only technical data about the dam, but an appreciation of how people have been impressed with it throughout its history.

Chronology – A list of important events and dates in the history of Hoover Dam and the surrounding area.

The Grand Dam – Reproduction of an article written in 1995 by Julian Rhinehart, dealing with the art and beauty of Hoover Dam.

Dog on a Catwalk – This is an article that was written by an unknown Hoover Dam Guide many years ago.

Fortune Magazine – A September 1933 article on the progress of construction on the dam.

What’s In A Name? – The story of how Hoover Dam got its name.

Herbert Hoover and the Colorado River – Information about Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States.

Sound Bytes – Short history articles produced by the local Public Radio Station.

Richie Trimble’s Stoopid Tall

Hey, we all have our niche.  For Richie Trimble its a little different, and his Stoopid Tall bike is up there on the list. Learn more about our friend Richie by following this link.

Cool Lighthouses

Hey, today we feel like looking at lighthouses.  Enjoy.

Oasis Of The Seas

There are some great cruises out there, but what is the biggest and baddest of them all? We submit that it is the Oasis of the Seas.  This massive ocean liner holds the record as the largest and certainly lives up to the part.

Oasis of The Seas

Oasis of The Seas