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Tips for Finding and Using Reclaimed Wood for Home Decor

6/15/2017 (Permalink)

Reclaimed Wood mantel from Shaniko, Oregon

Tips for Finding Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is increasingly being specified and used in in Central Oregon lodgings of all types, whether in flooring, doors, mantels, paneling, menu covers or other fixtures or accessories. Many of our customers request information on reclaimed wood. Here are some tips and information about finding and reclaiming wood.

Best Type of Structures to Reclaim

Look for homes built between 1910 and 1920 for the best wood. That’s really the sweet spot in terms of desirable woods because of the harvesting of old growth forests. Old-growth wood is trees/lumber that was grown naturally in vast virgin forests in the 1800’s. By 1940, however, most of this lumber was depleted.

  • Look for homes and sheds rather than barns. Barns are great for an intensely rustic look, but “Barn wood typically was a cheaper wood. It tends to be more uneven, and is better suited for exteriors, or interiors where the owner wants a heavy rustic feel.”
  • Look for structures that are still intact, or mostly intact. What is the condition of the roof? If a structure is falling down, or the roof is gone, most of the wood inside is more likely to be rotten. An old farmhouse with an intact, pristine tin roof is an excellent find.

Recommended Tools Needed to Harvest Old Lumber

With any structure, Safety is always first. If a structure doesn't look structurally sound, then a professional should be consulted before attempting to reclaim any of the structure. If the structure is save, here are some tools needed to harvest old lumber:

Nail Kicker. A nail kicker is a pneumatic tool that looks a lot like a nail gun. Rather than shooting nails, it shoots compressed air at the head of a nail, forcing it through the lumber. That way your saws, drills and other tools won’t hit a buried nail and destroy your saw blade or cause serious damage to you or your tools.

  • Crowbars. An assortment of crowbars, from small to large, will help you get into tight spots and get the leverage you need to remove even the most stubborn planks.
  • Hammer. Most folks have a good hammer, and even if you don’t, it’s not a huge financial investment, but it will help you free both tin roofs and wooden boards from their foundation.
  • Metal detector for wood workers. These metal detectors can pinpoint a nail, piece of metal, bullet, barbed wire or other metal debris in the wood to the exact location.

Using reclaimed wood, and galvanized metal, is easier and more cost effective than most homeowners realize. Besides the more luxurious look and feel of the wood, there’s just the fact that you’re living with a piece of history – whether it’s a tobacco barn, an old mill, part of a southern plantation or mountain cabin.

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