ON RECLAIMED WOOD
Antique lumber represents woods that were harvested from first or old growth forests – and typically found in late 1800’s and early 20th c. structures. These trees grew for hundreds of years in often dense, slow growing forests, and were standing when the first European settlers arrived. The figure of this virgin wood is characterized by tight growth rings (10-30 growth rings per inch), large dimensional sizes, and rich hues.
Vintage or second growth woods were planted after these old growth woods were felled, and are typically found in post-1920’s buildings. These trees generally grew faster, and were cut down in a shorter period of time. As a result, the wood has a broader grain (8-12 growth rings per inch), and a somewhat paler color. All these woods are salvaged from dismantled factories, warehouses, old houses and other structures.
There can be substantial quality difference between antique wood products from different sources. Is the wood kiln dried? What are the grading standards? What is the quality of the milling equipment? How much experience does the company have in milling antique woods? Can they provide samples that are representative of the product that will be delivered? There are many questions to ask that will help ensure that you receive the best possible value and quality. Antique woods are the foundation of a home and a statement about your values to future generations – this choice is often only made once in a lifetime.
Antique heart pine does not come from standing trees. Most of the few remaining original-growth trees—trees old enough to produce mostly heartwood—are protected. There are only so many old warehouses remaining and only so many old growth logs at the bottom of the river. Because there are only two sources for original-growth heart pine, there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into salvaging and re-manufacturing this material.