If you love the look and texture of wood furniture but feel guilty about the effect of woodcutting on the environment, there is an answer for you. It’s reclaimed furniture—a gorgeous and eco friendly addition to your home.
Reclaimed wood furniture is made with wood salvaged from buildings, especially old barns, and other wooden structures. By repurposing wood that instead of scrapping it, these pieces help save valuable and non-renewable resources.
Reclaimed barn wood?
There is something magical about an old barn. Maybe it’s the haunting sound of the birds nesting high up in the rafters, or the way the light penetrates through the cracks and holes, or the quiet sense of history and good times gone by. Whatever the draw, reclaimed barn wood has become a hot commodity for making reclaimed wood furniture, and it has the added advantage of being an eco friendly way to enjoy a precious resource.
Using reclaimed barn wood has incredible advantages. It reduces the demand for new wood and leaves more trees growing in the ground – a big environmental bonus.
A lot of older barns contain wood that simply doesn’t exist anymore: massive old growth oak and rare antique heart of pine being the most common. Even if the type of wood is still available, it is likely not available in some of the lengths and sizes that are found in older barns and similar structures.
Finally, anything that’s going to happen to the wood has likely already happened. All the twisting, warping and shrinking is all done with.
From abandoned barn to eco friendly reclaimed wood furniture
When a wooden structure is torn down, the usable pieces of wood are sold to craftsmen and manufacturers at drastically reduced prices. From that wood, they can make gorgeous pieces either for sale at trendy furniture stores or occasionally for special custom orders.
Some companies specialize in reclaiming the lumber and are known as barn salvage contractors. A land owner wishing to get rid of an old barn can contact one of these companies to sell the wood. The business will want to know how old the barn is, what type of wood it is, how big the barn is and what condition it’s in.
Other companies specialize in turning that reclaimed barn wood into end-user products. The reclaimed wood is used for paneling, flooring, decorative accents such as fireplace mantels, and especially furniture.
The wood is unique and full of character filled with its knots, marks, and nail holes. This wood has stood in the elements for over 100 years, giving it a unique patina that cannot be otherwise replicated by any modern “stressing” technique when it is worked into some beautiful piece of wood furniture for your home.
Furniture pieces will typically be very high quality, because the reclaimed wood used is often very sturdy. Old techniques of processing wood, along with the innate natural strength found in wood from virgin growth forests, make these ideal materials to use for this purpose.
What kind of reclaimed wood is available?
There are many different types of wood that can be recovered from old barns and used for making reclaimed furniture. Reclaimed oak is the most commonly available wood, and often gets converted to heavy indoor pieces like beds, dressers, dining room tables and chairs. It is also very popular as gorgeous wood flooring.
Apart from oak, other types of wood are also available including elm, heart pine, cherry, walnut, hickory, maple, and chestnut.
How about cost?
The cost of reclaimed wood will vary depending on the type of wood, how exposed it has been (in other words, was it inside or outside the barn), its general character, and if it was treated previously (for example, are there remnants of bright red paint).
Hand hewn beams can go for nearly $5 per board foot. Reclaimed barn wood flooring will be sold anywhere from $3 per square foot to over $10 per square foot, with oak and antique heart pine wood at the higher end of the scale.
Where to buy reclaimed wood furniture
There are a good number of places from which you can purchase the highest quality of reclaimed wood furniture, particularly made from old barns. Check out these sources, each of which provide well designed contemporary or traditional furniture:
Old Barn Reclaimed Wood Co. is exactly what it sounds like: a provider of all manner of reclaimed wood furniture as well as paneling, wood beams, flooring, and more–primarily from old barns. They also provide an excellent history of the early timber trade in the United States that led to so much wood ending up in barns and other buildings.
Western Heritage Furniture has some very unique designs by furniture maker Tim McClellan. The company carries six lines of furniture, with its Ghostwood line being made primarily with reclaimed wood.
Woodland Creek Furniture likewise uses reclaimed barnwood, and is able to craft rustic custom made pieces. Their reclaimed wood is often 100-150 years old.
With the world’s forests ravaged by deforestation practices, reducing our dependence on wood from living trees is vital to the planet. Reclaimed furniture allows quality pieces of wood to live on through time, as beautiful and practical pieces of art that will serve as a centerpiece in your home.