What does discarded wood from bridges, factories, burned buildings or old homes all have in common? The potential to revive its hidden beauty and distinctive design from its original bygone era. The green environment movement has struck a chord with mills that produce reclaimed beams, wood ceilings, stairs, flooring, wood doors and mantels. Businesses such as Whole Log Lumber in Western, North Carolin, have found a renewed enterprise in deconstruction rather than demolition.
For the Whole Log Lumber Company, the first stop in the process is to remove all metal from the timber with a good visual inspection and with a metal detector. At this point the wood may be sent over to the resaw machine or preservation antique cleaning. After sawing the decayed material from the timber or lumber, its true beauty is exposed.
Visitors will have no problem finding vermilion wood sub floors underneath the maple floors of an old cotton mill. Reclaimed oak from old beams, barn wood and cotton gins are all too common. And the maple wood pulled from the cotton mill still has the history and gleaming effect of the steel rings falling from knitting machines. Over time these embedded marks add contrast and special interest to walls and floors and a sense of drama to ceilings. Each piece of discarded has a history and story all its own. Some pieces date back nearly 150 years. On one particular day, oak and heart pine arrived from Brooklyn, NY, where it was pulled from an old gutted and burned factory building of the industrial era. Whole Log Lumber mills the damaged and discarded heart pine and oak to return it to New York to be used in a new restaurant and as detailed trim for a residential home.
Consider These Points for You Next Reclaimed Wood Project
Visit quality retailers, manufacturers, distributors or lumber mills that can provide information and history on the lumber, product or wood they sell. Look for membership logos to non-profit green resource associations such as the U.S. Green Building Council, the Forest Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance. Products bearing the Forest Stewardship Council logo guarantees that the wood is from a certified well-managed forest.
Look at samples and if possible see if they provide tours on site. Most old-growth trees are not available to consumers since the 8 to 9 million acres are found on federal land. Since most reclaimed wood is made from old-growth trees, that have perhaps seen the test of time, buyers can expect to receive sturdy and stable wood that’s less prone to splitting.
It’s 100 percent environmentally friendly. Because it’s not grown on farms, you’re not using fast-growing trees that were not supportive of their surrounding ecosystem. You’re also keeping old discarded wood from filling landfills.
Reclaimed wood is not uniform but has an old age and character that’s hard to mimic, and therein lies part of its charm. You’ll receive distinctive style in a one-of-a-kind piece. Aging brings out its natural characteristics and color and because it had the advantage of struggling for its nutrients outdoors the wood will be that much more stronger and stable.
Compared to the escalating costs of new hardwood, some reclaim wood can be cost-efficient.
Most important make sure that the wood has been properly milled and treated.
Look for Metal-Free, Insect-Free and Moisture-Free Reclaimed Wood
Before you plunk money down, be sure to inspect the piece of wood thoroughly for metal. Rusty and worn nails and their respective pieces and parts can stay hidden from prying eyes. So always do a once-over before you buy. Consumer, hand-held metal detectors are very affordable and if you plan on doing more projects with reclaimed wood it may be a worthwhile investment.
Most reclaimed wood is already dried and stable for your convenience, but if it’s been stored outdoors you may need to dry it before you can work with it. Reclaimed lumber suppliers kiln dry their lumber for a uniform moisture content of an average of 8 percent. Air drying the lumber may also be an option for you if you have the storage space to do so.
While insect holes and drillings may add to lumber’s charm, it can also bite into the integrity of the lumber’s structure. To effectively kill any existing unwanted pests, use a spray of mineral spirits, and always avoid lumber that has been infested by termites.
Whether your project is with new hardwood or reclaimed wood, be sure of its value by measuring its moisture content.
Good luck and best wishes!!!! ;-)