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Frequently Asked Questions


What is reclaimed wood?

For us here at Salvage Works, reclaimed wood is lumber that has been salvaged from deconstructed houses and barns. We choose our material for its unique quality, character, texture and patina. The wood’s first life was a tree, second life as lumber in a barn, and its third life is here, as material for your next project.

What is kiln drying?

Kiln drying is also known as heat treating. It’s a process that heats the wood at a low temperature for a period of time to dry it out and makes the wood stable so it shrinks and expands less. After it’s dried, the kiln gets turned up to kill any active bugs and mold in the wood.

What are the benefits of kiln drying?

Kiln drying makes the wood more stable, easier to work with, and kills bugs and mold so it’s safe to install in your home or business.

What makes Salvage Works' wood "heritage lumber"?

The term heritage lumber comes from the old growth trees used over one hundred years ago to build barns and homes across the Pacific Northwest. The timber industry of the region is at the heart of our history, and in reclaiming heritage lumber, we can give the material a new purpose.

What is live-edge slab?

Live-edge slab is a section of a tree trunk that still has the bark and organic edge of the tree left on. Once kiln-dried, the live-edge slab is often used to make elegant table tops, bar tops, shelves and mantelpieces.

What is salvaged slab?

Salvaged slab is usually live-edge slab from urban cut trees. Our slab is from trees that have come down due to development or disease.

Where does Salvage Works source its reclaimed wood from?

Our team reclaims wood from barns, warehouses, granaries, and homes across the Pacific Northwest.

What is deconstruction?

Deconstruction is the dismantlement of structures, usually by hand, specifically for re-use, repurposing, and recycling.

What is WOW Wall Cladding?

Wall of Wood, or WOW Wall is a custom wall cladding product that we create from reclaimed wood. Each piece of WOW Wall is hand selected, de-nailed, kiln-dried and milled to a uniform ½” thickness and either 3 ¼” or 5” width. WOW Wall goes up with finish nails easily on most surfaces.

What is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a style of lumber that has a specific profile on the side where one piece “laps” over the other creating a seam. It was often applied as a subwall or subfloor, and is a favorite for rustic decorative wall coverings.

How old is your wood?

The majority of our material is from structures built around the turn of the century. As a general rule, we source material from pre-1940s buildings.


What types of wood does Salvage Works keep in stock?

Pacific Northwest Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine are our bread and butter for Reclaimed Lumber. We bring in a wide variety of other species, including hardwoods, for our rotating live-edge slab selection.

Can I buy material directly from the Salvage Works Warehouse?

Absolutely! The Salvage Works Warehouse is open to the public 6 days a week. No appointment necessary.

What types of custom furniture can I have made by the Salvage Works Woodshop?

The Salvage Works Woodshop specializes in tables, benches, mantels, shelves, barn doors, bar and counter tops. Contact us for a quote today!

How long does it take to have a custom piece of furniture made by the Salvage Works Shop?

Our standard turnaround time for custom furniture is 4-6 weeks, from the time your deposit is paid. Turn around time can vary depending on season and workload. Our team will share current expected production time when you receive your quote.

What is the difference between Dimensional Lumber and Nominal Lumber?

Dimensional lumber is sometimes also called “full dimension” lumber. Back when this wood was cut into lumber, mills made all lumber full dimension. Later, companies started cutting into wood smaller dimensions, but still calling it a 2x4, which makes it “nominal lumber”. Dimensional lumber makes great furniture because there’s more to work with!

Why is Reclaimed Wood more expensive than fresh cut lumber?

Reclaimed wood is sold at a higher price point than new lumber because of the material’s quality and the labor required to make it purchase ready. There are multiple steps that go into reclaiming wood - scouting the structures for deconstruction, taking a barn or home apart by hand, removing all of the nails by hand, transporting the material to our warehouse, and drying each piece in the kiln to stabilize it and remove the risk of bugs all before it goes on the floor for sale.

Do I need to worry about lead?

No, we test all of our incoming material for lead and do not accept any wood with a positive lead test result.

Do you recommend I wash the wood before I use it?

No, we recommend using a stiff plastic bristle brush to remove surface dirt.

Is there a minimum size order for the WOW Wall Cladding?

There is no minimum or maximum order for WOW Wall Cladding! We believe in Reclaimed Wood for projects of all sizes.

Are your beams graded for structural use?

No. Our beams have held up barns for over a 100 years, so their tough work is done. Now they are decorative and great for mantelpieces or other interior design projects.

Do you do installation of your WOW Wall Cladding or mantels?

No, but we do have a list of excellent local contractors and handymen that are familiar with our material.

Will you cut material to length, or do I need to buy the whole piece?

We ask that if you buy part of a board, we are left with a usable amount, around 3ft. Additionally, we provide transport cuts in the warehouse to make something a workable size for you to get home. If you need exact sizes cut for a project, you can do a custom cut order through our shop for a charge.

Can I place material on hold?

We are happy to hold material with no obligation for 24 hours.

Will you make me a kit so I can build my own table?

We’re always available for questions, but we do not make kits.

If I bring in a piece of wood I found on the beach/at a garage sale/in my grandfather's barn, will you turn it into something for me?

The short answer is maybe. If you send us an email with a photo and we can discuss it with our woodworkers. A lot depends on the piece - whether it’s dry, it’s condition, etc.

What is your return policy?

All sales are final. No returns, exchanges or refunds.

Do you like to see pictures of finished projects and remodels that have been done with your material? If so, how can I share those with you?

We LOVE seeing our client’s finished products! If you have an image that you would like to share, please email it to

Do you sell "cheap" wood?

We do not. We sell wood that is on its second life, but we would never categorize it as "cheap".

Do you sell reclaimed hardwood?

The native species that builders were working with 100 years ago is Douglas Fir and Pine, so we are lucky enough to have it make up the majority of our stock. We very rarely see hardwood lumber in the Pacific Northwest, but aren’t opposed to bringing in the rare bit of hardwood lumber if we find it.

Can I put this table/wow wall/shelf outside?

Our material is best used indoors. We’re happy to talk about exceptions or treating our material for outdoor applications.

Do you rent out your space for special events?

Sorry, no. We’re open seven days a week to the public so we are unable to accommodate outside events.

Does Salvage Works rent out its shop or tools to the general public?

Sorry, no. There are some great places in Portland that do, and we are happy to make a referral

Does Salvage Works accept donations?

We do not accept donations. In the Portland area we recommend the Rebuilding Center or Habitat for Humanity ReStore for donations.