Where to Find Great Materials for Reclaimed Wood Furniture February 06 2014, 0 Comments
You've probably seen some great pieces like this around San Francisco or the Bay Area:
- Butcher-block counter tops from the lanes of an old bowling alley
- A weathered pictured frame from wood of an old boat
- A wall quote with distinct wood grains and calligraphy that only you and yours will appreciate for generations to come
Perhaps you're thinking, "OK. I’ve finally realized that reclaimed wood furniture is cool to buy or even try making myself, but where do I start? Where does a person get one-of-a-kind reclaimed wood furniture like the pieces mentioned above?"
It might take a bit of digging around, but there are definitely some avenues to go down to look for your next green (okay, brownish) home decor inspiration. And know, beyond style, there are benefits of using reclaimed – or recycled – wood: less waste for those needing to get rid of excess wood, more options for those concerned about deforestation, and – perhaps best of all – more design options for the aesthetically inclined who love rustic furniture.
Finding Reclaimed Wood for Furniture
A dockyard’s shipping crates are good sources for beech, and any permanently abandoned boats might yield teak. Salvage yards can be tricky for the sporadic browser, but regular visitors will gain a sense of the ebb and flow of supply and demand for what’s unique or trendy. The patient searcher will find a gold mine of specialty pieces when they least expect it. And don’t be afraid to approach the owner of a dilapidated barn you spot – he or she might be glad for the help in disassembling the eyesore. With respect to diving into a decaying building yourself, however, have some sense of basic architectural structure so that you don’t accidentally bring the whole mess crashing down on you or anyone else.
You’d be surprised how many people or groups have old wood lying around that they’d be happy to get rid of. Getting in touch with local remodeling contractors might seem like a no-brainer, but it can take time to develop the kind of relationships that permit “first dibs” on a new sale or fresh site. (Think of the rush for auctioned storage units on those reality shows.) Excavators might also a welcome a partner who helps them avoid disposal costs, and don’t forget to try those already advertising “free wood” in regional periodicals or on the Internet.
Believe it or not, some people are actually already looking for people who looking for reclaimed wood. The apartmenttherapy.com blog mentions the obvious – Craigslist.org – but also champions salvage brands such as www.Redo.org and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. More dedicated and to the point are the network databases of Woodfinder.com and BMRA: The Building Materials Reuse Association. BMRA actually costs money to join and caters to groups who manage demolition on a large scale, while Woodfinders will put the hobbyist or small business owner into a network of practically everyone in North America who is obsessed with wood. Woodfinder.com listed 85 suppliers of “recycled or salvaged lumber” scattered throughout almost all 50 states, for example.
Using recycled, reclaimed or salvaged – whatever you call it – wood might be merely “novel” right now, but it’s quickly becoming the new normal of the future. If driving around for old wood and making something yourself isn’t your cup of tea, then at least be open to looking at such pieces the next time you’re shopping for furniture or interior-design options. Reclaimed wood furniture contains history and many creators' stories, and you will be able to imprint your tastes and values into these treasures as well.