Throughout our five years of operation, we have always insisted on using reclaimed wood. We love the raw elegance of reclaimed wood’s close-textured grain, something that just isn’t available from new wood sources. Virgin wood may be less expensive, but it doesn’t give us a great, long-lasting finished product that has a character all its own. We love reclaimed wood. Here’s why you should, too.
Its Old Growth
Growing a longleaf pine tree from seedling to mature tree takes time – one and a half centuries of time, to be exact. Over the 150 years the sapling is maturing, it adds more and more growth rings. When it reaches adulthood, the tree now has a close-textured grain. This makes the wood of the tree both beautiful and durable.
Old-growth woods, especially longleaf pine, have always been the wood of choice in construction. That close-grain texture means the wood is extremely hard, easy to shape, and durable. A little over a century ago, old-growth pine was readily available across the United States. But years of deforestation by the logging industry have made it a rare commodity. Reclaimed wood is one of the only ways for consumers to still have access to this amazing resource.
Wood changes over time. This is just a natural part of the aging process. Some of these changes are predictable: the wood darkens patinas and dries out. What is less predictable are the physical changes to the wood. As it dries out, it also tends to warp, twist and buckle. This can be a big problem if the wood is, say, part of a beam in a home or above a door as a header. The warped beam can peel away molding, put cracks in the wall, or even fall, causing serious damage to a home’s interior.
Reclaimed wood has had years, if not centuries, to dry out. The warping and twisting expected in virgin wood has already happened, making reclaimed wood extremely stable. It will hold its shape for years, even centuries, to come, saving you from the headache of fixing or replacing walls, molding, and other architectural features of your home.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 1 billion board feet of usable lumber is salvaged from just demolished residential homes each year. This number doesn’t include commercial properties demolished each year, which are also wellsprings of timber. These secondary sources take tons of pressure off of our nation’s forests, which are still at only 66% of the land size they were in the 1850s. Using reclaimed lumber allows for us to plant trees faster than we deforest; it also lets virgin trees grow to full maturity before being harvested.
In the 150 years that it takes a longleaf pine to grow from sapling to tree, it goes through a lot. Forest fires, droughts, and flooding are just a few of the things that can affect a pine tree’s ring growth pattern and, in turn, the character of its lumber. The battles the tree weathers give the grain color, depth, and beauty.
The tree, once it is cut down and milled into lumber, also spends 100 or so years in a factory, church, or farmhouse. Further weathering, painting, and aging all contribute to its one-of-a-kind character. Nail holes, insect holes, cracks, and marks from hand hewing and older tools all remain in the wood once it is reharvested. This is what gives reclaimed wood its inimitable rustic charm.
Its All We Use
The Olde Mill uses 100+-year-old Longleaf Pine that has been reclaimed from buildings set to be demolished at sites across the United States. We appreciate the time that it took for this wood to get us, and we put time back into our products. Call us at (225)291-8588 or email us at email@example.com for a free sample of our reclaimed wood beams and products, and let us show you the difference 100 years can make.