Over the past ten years, reclaimed wood furniture has become insanely popular in the US and Canada, and for good reason!
It brings a one-of-a-kind look to your home that just isn’t possible to replicate with new wood.
Besides beauty, the environmental savings of buying pieces made with reclaimed wood is an eco-friendly reason to choose this style of furniture. (Many people want reclaimed wood because they see it as an eco-friendly alternative, but don’t want something rustic looking.) Keeping wood and materials out of landfills is well-aligned with our mission of buying and selling in a responsible manner.
A wood’s origin will affect its properties, such as its density, durability and grain. There are many different species of reclaimed wood indigenous to the American landscape, and all have different qualities. Often the choice of the style of furniture helps to dictate the type of wood used. Remember that a wood’s character extends deeper than its surface!
- Old Pine and Cedar are both common choices for the “bones” of furnishings made with reclaimed wood, because they’re sturdy and have a great look. Old growth pine has beautiful tight grain. (In contrast, new pine wood can be yellowish and will definitely have less character than its older counterpart.)
- Redwood and Douglas Fir are commonly found on the west coast and shipped throughout the country. These hard woods are straight grained, which makes them very sturdy
- Maple, Beech, and Walnut are frequently used for Contemporary reclaimed furniture.
- Mahogany is extremely strong and a highly figured wood that is easily carved, and finishes well. For these reasons, Mahogany is used in many furniture styles.
- Oak, Poplar, and Cherry follow closely with the rustic style. (source)
- Teak wood is one of the most widely used for outdoor furniture because it has one of the highest resilience ratings amongst hardwoods and can withstand sunlight without adverse effects. It is also rot free and has a high resistance to moisture. (source)
- Old Walnut will develop an almost purple color that you will never see in kiln dried wood!
Finding great wood is an art, but you can become a trained picker with the right guidance. First, it’s important to realize that wood that’s 50-60-70-150 years old can make AMAZING bones for new furniture pieces.
Wood that’s been aged, weathered – and, importantly, dried properly – will have already finished shrinking and bending. New wood, and old wood that hasn’t been allowed the time to properly dry will be subject to shrinking that will impact your table within a few months of being built. (For example, a 2×6 may lose as much as 1/4″ on each side once it dries!)
Wood grains, finish, paint chips from a past life, dings, dents, and YOUR EYE are always super important to your buying decisions and making sure you’re going to be happy with your purchase for years to come – because with the right care, your reclaimed wood furniture will last you a lifetime!