The History Behind Reclaimed Wood
About 250 years ago New England was in its infancy. The people who settled our country were undaunted by the task of establishing themselves as a solid working society. Woods such as Oak, White Pine, Yellow Pine and many others became the building materials that supported these colonial settlements. Present Day… While some of the Homes and Barns that were constructed all those years ago are still standing as a reminder of early Americana, others have been dismantled for various reasons. Now, some “waste not, want not” New Englanders have made plans for materials to be “reclaimed” from these historical buildings. This is recycling at its best. Not only have these materials withstood the test of time, but they are rich in story and character. Imagine trees being cut down with two man saws, hauled to the site by horses and in some cases hand planed into boards, then built into the dwellings of the period. Having lived full lives these elemental structures are now being disassembled, lightly reprocessed, and finally re-introduced as…
… beautiful pieces of custom barnwood furniture.
You don’t have to go to New England, however, to find rescued material resources that have witnessed the history of America (and you don’t have to be from New England to contact Lyndon Furniture about a custom project). CustomMade makers across the country have created custom pieces from reclaimed wood previously used in historic structures, neighborhoods, and other locations that evoke and preserve eras past.
What do you see in this reclaimed cabinet by Kellam Clark Design? “At a glance,” writes Kellam Clark, “I see wainscoting, stair rails, floor planks, and door trim. A piece made from many historical and common elements of Brooklyn’s brownstone past.” Take a look at the close-up photos of this unique item on the gallery page. You can find more examples of Kellam’s work made from salvaged woods in his Brooklyn, NY studio in his CustomMade portfolio. Contact the artisan and have him apply his problem-solving approach to furniture design, love of old wood, and craftsmanship to a custom project for you.
The Curtiss-Wright Corporation was formed through a merger of companies founded by aviation pioneers the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss and played a major role in supplying aircraft to the U.S. armed forces in World War II. This scale sculpture, Curtiss-Wright Jenny with Pontoons, by Sebastian’s Specialty Hardwoods Inc. was made from reclaimed heart pine from the Curtiss-Wright Bi-plane Factory in Garfield, NJ. “The Ghormley Special Jenny,” writes Emile Smith, “is one in a series of airplane sculptures using reclaimed wood from historic buildings. The pontoons were included because we love the shape!” Scroll through Onestickatatime’s blog for more photos of these one-of-a-kind sculptures. For your own custom project made from reclaimed and responsibly harvested woods, contact Emile.
Maynard Studios has a limited edition line of furniture, “Small Batch,” which features some pieces created from barnwood, such as this hand forged iron and reclaimed barnwood coffee table with an top made from oak salvaged from a 140-year old timber frame barn from the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. (The iron in this piece was forged on an anvil that dates from the 1800s). Other tops for these coffee tables are available, including some reclaimed from “other Kentucky smokehouses, barns, and even ONE local Bourbon distillery warehouse.” Designs that use reclaimed wood are limited in number, so contact the artisans, husband-and-wife team Matthew and Karine Maynard, and commission your piece today.
For this modern bed from used lumber, woodworker Niall McKeown of McKeown Design salvaged the flooring from a Sacramento, CA building built in the 1930s. The headboard sports a display shelf and some modern allowances: built-in storage spaces behind touch-latch doors, perfect for cell phones. Niall focuses on “design, function, and originality in a finely blended mix of modern and traditional.” Contact him and discuss your own custom furniture needs.
Whether you want to preserve a part of local history through a custom project built from locally sourced reclaimed wood or own a piece made with a material connection to a time or place of special personal or historic significance, post your custom furniture idea on our CustomMade “Get it Made” job board. Custom furniture makers interested in bringing your project to life will contact you.