Reclaimed Wood is Timber or processed wood that is repurposed for applications beyond their original use. Find out all about what is reclaimed wood!
Reclaimed wood is commonly taken from old barns, factories, and warehouses. People also recover wood from old houses, wooden packaging, and pallets. This wood is reused in newer applications.
Where to Find It
In the U.S., a huge amount of lumber has been milled since 1900 – over 3 trillion board feet. This material goes into building housing structures and old stores nationwide. Demolition was widely prevalent in the industry to level out such buildings. But increasingly, people are becoming more conscious of their environment and choosing to deconstruct buildings for salvageable parts.
If you have a source of your own, reclaimed wood can be free of cost! Sure you might have to pay for transportation and deconstruction, but it’s still better than buying your own wood.
If you don’t have a source of your own, reclaimed lumber can still be found at auctions or via classifieds for a much lower price point than freshly milled wood.
Reclaimed wood is used primarily for decoration, but of recent, more and more applications are springing up because of its unique properties, like the following:
- Unique Appearance
Reclaimed wood has aged long after its initial application. This lends it a look that is well used (and sometimes more preferred) over freshly minted timber.
- Physical Characteristics – Strength and Durability
Reclaimed wood gets stronger over time from testing over years of wear and tear. The effects of aging stabilize and this makes the tested wood stronger and more durable compared to fresh wood.
- Humidity Stabilization
Over years of exposure to changes in humidity, this wood naturally adapts to fluctuations in humidity in the air. This results in a more even lay across all repurposed uses.
- Temperature Weathering
Reclaimed wood has also withstood temperature fluctuations and has gone through expansion and contraction cycles multiple times during its regular usage. Therefore, reclaimed wood faces less contraction and expansion issues in the winters and summers.
Benefits of Reclaimed Wood
- Reduces landfill waste.
- It has a lower carbon footprint compared to milled wood.
- Forest ecosystems are safer when you repurpose old wood.
- It has a vibe of nostalgia and romance when you use wood that has its own story.
- It can sometimes be of better or higher quality than milled wood.
- Reclaimed wood can fetch a heftier price compared to newly milled wood since it sometimes has exceptional properties.
Drawbacks of Reclaimed Wood
With all the charms of reclaimed wood, it gets harder to obtain as time goes by and the material gets more and more popular. As old wood becomes more and more popular it also gets more and more expensive unless you’re buying from credible suppliers.
Some sellers pass of new wood as antique. Since misidentification of old wood is commonplace practice, and it is impossible to identify the exact wood without cutting it open, only go for places where you know you’re getting quality wood. Big establishments are safe as they do not like to play with their customers’ expectations.
Old wood might have fasteners, broken nails, buckshot, nuts, and bolts embedded in it that can wear down woodworking tools and might be a safety hazard while working with wood. Wood goes through a scan and inspection to steer clear of such issues. The wood might house a lot of embedded metals. Unless you’re working with nail-safe hardware, it can also lead to your tools breaking down.
The treatment of reclaimed lumber matters more than you can think. Lead paints and stains might make the wood unusable for use indoors. These are compounds that are unsafe for people staying in those environments. So be sure to establish what the wood treatment was, and if it is safe for indoor use.