Reclaimed wood is old wood that has outlived its intended use – a barn, boat, flooring, wine barrel, etc – and is repurposed for some other use. Technically reclaimed wood doesn’t have to be old, but older wood is more highly sought after. Wood from “old growth” trees, such as those that were abundant in the 19th and early 20th centuries has a number of advantages over modern lumber; it is denser than new wood and less prone to warping.
What Are the Benefits of Reclaimed Wood
Character – Character is a word that is often thrown around when talking about reclaimed wood: most often as a euphemism for old and time worn. The rich colors and patinas that are the hallmark of reclaimed wood can only be had through constant weathering and aging. Even more, the old nail holes, knots, and natural imperfections of the wood itself add to the unique character of reclaimed wood.
History – Every restaurant has tables, but not every restaurant can say that their tables came from a salvaged barn erected in a field in Ohio in the late 1800’s. Reclaimed wood is not only prized for its utility, but also for its story. Even if you don’t know the exact origin of the wood in your table, the fact that it served a completely different purpose for the first half of its life is a worthy story in and of itself.
Uniqueness – No two reclaimed tables are exactly alike because no two reclaimed boards are exactly alike. Think about that for a moment…in today’s day and age of mass production, it’s still possible to own something that is uniquely yours. Each reclaimed piece in your restaurant will share the same benefits and characteristics, but no two will look the same. Even if your table is one hundred percent red oak from the same barn, each board will have weathered slightly different, and will have its own unique coloration, textures, and natural imperfections.
Resilience – What happens to wood in a barn? It gets banged up, scratched, and dented. Now quick, what happens to wood tables in a restaurant? They get banged up, scratched, and dented. The beauty of reclaimed wood lies in its imperfections. Unlike a brand new, perfectly stained wood table, reclaimed wood looks ok if it gets a little beat up. Now that’s not to say that we would encourage damaging your table on purpose, but it is nice to know that one little scratch or dent won’t completely mar the look, it will just add more character.
Environmentally Friendly – One of the biggest benefits of using reclaimed wood is that it reduces the number of new trees that are cut down to be used as building materials. It also reduces the harmful emissions that are created by logging equipment and the trucks used to transport the lumber to factories for processing. In addition, it keeps a perfectly reusable resource out of the landfill and gives the old wood a new life.