Reclaimed wood furnitures are made from lumber that has been salvaged from barns, houses, or any old building that is being torn down. It is a great way to reuse a limited resource. Wood is, fortunately, a renewable resource, that is we can plant trees and like a crop, then can be harvested and replanted over and over again. The downside is that trees take a long period of time to grow.
Also, there is a tendency to plant groves of a specific type of tree as it is commercially easier to harvest trees of the same age and type. This leads to the possibility of disease or pests wiping out a specific type of tree due to their concentration.
By using reclaimed lumber, woodworkers are being eco-friendly with this resource as no new trees are harvested to make their tables and cabinets. This lumber would go to landfills or be burned if it was not salvaged. Working with this type of lumber has many pitfalls.
First, it is labor-intensive to carefully remove all the lumber in a building. Nails have to be pulled out and boards and beams removed without damaging them. The lumber needs to be sorted by both type and size.
Second, the wood craftsperson has to be able to pick and choose through the pile to find the wood that best suits the piece of furniture that he is making. They will need extra reclaimed lumber as the old wood will invariably have tear-outs or holes or splits that will have to be worked around, as well as taking into account the normal loss through milling and planing.
Often modern glues and techniques will have to be used to make the wood structurally sound. Marine epoxy is commonly used to hold the splits together in the boards. The woodworker has to inspect the whole surface of each board before running it through any of his machines. One missed nail can chip a planner blade. An expensive mistake.
Building the actual wood piece of furniture is much the same as using new wood once the old wood has been cleaned and sealed. As wood ages, it takes on rich tones of color. Using the reclaimed lumber, it has already developed the rich shades of color associated with cherry, maple, walnut, etc. So when the craftsman builds with this material the rich colors of the wood shine through in the finishing for Reclaimed wood furnitures.
Although using wood from buildings being torn down is eco-friendly it should be considered a finite nonrenewable resource. There are a limited number of barns and buildings that when torn down will yield good quality lumber. Buildings today are built with plywood and sheet steel which won’t be used for furniture in the future.
There are only a few artisan woodworkers that are willing to put the time in and have the skill to work with reclaimed lumber to create heirloom-quality solid wood furniture. To see some stunning examples of what can be made see our online shop.
Reclaimed Wood Furnitures
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