The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Industry Sure to Grow - Reclaimed Wood

There is a niche but growing industry in reclaimed wood...wood that is collected from old barns, urban homes and buildings, lakes, and other unusual places where old logs and lumber have resided for decades or centuries. Even the giant old remnant stumps of redwood harvested long ago are being resawn with special saws and sold for art, corporate meeting tables, and such.

This old wood is labor-intensive to collect and remanufacture - nails, bolts, and other forms of metal objects must be removed. Then, it is usually stored on site by the reclaimed wood company until a buyer comes along, looking for just that right piece or load of old oak, chestnut, or Douglas Fir. Most of it is then re-manufactured to purpose and ends up in nice new custom homes, or themed restaurants, where its beauty is on display for all to see. Like diamonds, these old slabs and boards lay hidden away from man, and when discovered by hard-working timber miners, and are re-cut and polished, dazzling the admiring eye and draining the wallet of  its next owner.

This is an industry where unique character of every piece of wood is really appreciated, and the folks who hunt for the wooden treasure love the challenge of their work. The final products have an added value beyond the skill of the woodworker...history. I expect this an industry that will continue to grow even as this old wood becomes scarcer.

1 comment:

cam said...

It hurts me to see a grand old house torn down and destroyed without carefully taking out the unique molding of walnut, chestnut, cherry and other woods. I hope it works with this economy. But then again, not much is working in this economy.