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RECLAIMED WOOD 101

JOURNAL

June 23, 2017

We get a lot of questions here at Salvage Works about our reclaimed wood. Where do we get it? Did we distress it or does it “come that way?” There’s a lot to share about it all, but here’s a brief summary.
We get all our reclaimed wood from deconstructed houses and barns from the Pacific Northwest. Most of the wood was cut about 100 years ago from old growth trees. Because of that, the wood has a nice, tight grain. It’s the kind of wood you just can’t buy new. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the most common wood for building 100 years ago was the Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine, so that’s mostly what we get.

Taking apart barns and houses is a special skill set. We work with dismantlers who know exactly how the structure was built and take it apart by hand in the exact reverse order. Most of the barns we get are pretty dilapidated and no longer functional. Many times the farmer wants to build a more modern facility for their livestock or machinery, so the old barn comes down. We are thrilled to be able to save the wood and the history of these old places.

Wood for barns was often cut on site using trees from the property, sometimes by hand. When someone used an axe to make a round log into a square beam, that’s called “hand hewn” - or cut by hand. These hand hewn beams have a lot of character, showing the axe marks and blade details. Wood that was cut at a mill usually has a texture that was created by the kinds of saws used then, either “circular sawn” or “band saw cut” (also knows as “rough cut”). These cutting blades gave the wood a certain texture that we do our best to preserve.

Reclaimed wood often is darker in color than new wood. Exposure to air and weather change and darken the color over time. Exposure to air is called oxidation. It darkens the wood but doesn’t change the texture. Exposure to sun, wind and rain changes the color of the wood, as well as deepening the texture. We call this patina. The thing is, the patina and texture can vary from building to building, depending on how old it is and where it’s located. This makes every structure unique - completely one of a kind. We do our best to preserve the patina, oxidation and texture of the wood as much as possible.

All these factors go into making our material so much fun to work with. It also means that no two tables are the same. No two walls are the same. That’s the beauty of it. Whatever material we select to make your piece, you can be assured it’s 100% yours.

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