All About Reclaimed Wood & Antique Lumber

reclaimed wood avon, ma

We are always on the lookout to purchase reclaimed wood and antique lumber, and will travel considerable distances to get it! This consists of beams, joists, rafters, flooring, and siding from buildings that are demolished or renovated, ideally from mills that were constructed in the 1800s or early 1900s. The age makes a huge difference, because almost all the timbers that went into these buildings was from “old growth” forests. Species like Southern Yellow Pine, Douglas Fir, Red and White Oak, and Eastern White Pine, all grew slowly in very dense forests, competing for every ray of sunlight. Many saplings and smaller trees were crowded out, while the survivors grew tall and straight, with few branches, and few knots in the wood.

When the original Barney & Carey buildings that were erected in Milton in 1922 were demolished, I reclaimed about 130 8″ x 12″ Doug Fir timbers that had framed one of the sheds. The number of these timbers that proved to be essentially knot free was amazing! I sold most of them to be used in two timber frame homes. One of the buyers asked me what the best method would be to resurface them on site. I recommended that he lay out all the timbers on a flat surface, and rent a commercial floor sander to sand them with increasingly higher grit sandpaper. This guy was a perfectionist, and he went to 220 grit, before applying a high end polyurethane finish.The result was spectacular, showing off the tight grain produced in the old growth forests. I used a few of them in renovating my townhouse, and one shorter piece became a mantel in a customer’s new brick fireplace.

We have a good selection of antique lumber and reclaimed wood in stock right now. Oak, fir and Southern Yellow and Eastern White pine, in various sizes, with some longer lengths available, including 12″ wide clear Southern Yellow Pine boards! We re-saw some of them to customers’ specifications, for use in every imaginable project.

Smaller pieces wind up for use as “hobby wood,” perfect for wood turning, etc. We routinely glue up and plane pieces for counter tops, furniture, bars, and shelving. A lot of folks really appreciate the idea of using lumber of a quality that can no longer be found. In Today’s managed forests, the trees are planted further apart, in the quest for quicker growth to maturity. The result is annual rings spaced much wider, often giving a “wild grain” appearance.

A few years ago, a customer ordered quite a lot of new strip White Oak 2 1/4″ flooring for her Victorian home under renovation. When I delivered it, I saw a big pile of old quarter and rift sawn oak flooring next to the 30 yard dumpster. It was mostly undamaged, and she said she was throwing it out. She was happy to give it to me! I de-nailed it, and laid it as the floor in my new home office. It sanded and finished beautifully; much better, I must say, than her brand new floor!

Stop by Barney & Carey anytime to browse our every changing inventory of reclaimed and antique lumber, and see what you can make of it!

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