Reclaimed Wood for Beginners: Creative Possibilities

Reclaimed wood - wood barn

Reclaimed wood is a booming business and a trend that does not seem to be going away. The trend for this rustic style continues to grow each year. People are choosing reclaimed pieces to add style and character to their home and businesses.

There are endless ways to use reclaimed wood. They can be made into counter tops, floors, tables, wood walls, decorative pieces, headboards, play houses, and even wood beams in a home. Most lumber can also be repurposed or refinished to add a renewed life.

What is Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood essentially is recycled lumber.  The wood can come from many different places. The lumber can be salvaged from demolished or broken down buildings. Other places reclaimed wood has been known to come from are: decks, old barns, factories, warehouses, and even boxcars, coal mines, and wine barrels. Any lumber that is no longer usable in its current state, or needs some TLC, can be reclaimed.  With a little vision and creativity almost anything is possible.

Using reclaimed wood in a home or business can transform the space. It adds character, style, and history. Even what might have once been considered a “defect” on a piece of wood, can now be considered attractive and part of the charm and character.

A Growing Demand and Popularity

The demand for reclaimed wood has continue to grow as people are looking for ways to be more environmentally aware. Using reclaimed wood is an effective way to recycle. A new found appreciation for reclaimed wood has added its popularity. People are looking for pieces that have more than meets the eye.

What has made this trend last might be something that is a little more personal. People are connecting to the stories behind the wood and where they came from. Bringing life into your home from a different era hits at the heart of a historian and sentimentalists. These pieces are not just wood – these are pieces with a story to tell.

The Reclaimed Wood Process

The process to salvage the wood can be time consuming. Depending on where you are buying or getting your wood, the labor that goes into preparing the reclaimed wood can impact the price. For Reclaimed Wood Chicago, they will even buy barns on auction, and then breakdown the bard. Some barns hold pieces from the turn of the century and have pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind.

When wood that is coming from an old building or barn, the wood first needs to be torn down from the building. This can difficult and even dangerous job. Once the wood is salvaged it goes through a cleaning process, removing nails, and a drying process to help ensure the wood is not hiding any unwanted dirt, bugs and mold. If you are reclaiming the wood yourself, it is important to make sure you get it cleaned and dried.

Often times the shape of the wood, type of wood used, and how it was cut alone can tell us where and what time frame the pieces comes from. Supplies are documenting where the wood has come from as it is an important piece of information to buyers

Examples of Refinished and Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood - table

Example One: Reclaimed Wood Table

Brittany Sanchez from Chicago refinished a piece that has a deeply personal meaning. Brittany inherited the dining room table that had been in her family for the past 40 years. It was owned and used by her grandmother, passed to her mother, and now passed to her. This table has a strong sentimental meaning, but for it to be a functional piece in her home she need to add some TLC.

Sanchez decided to refinish the inherited piece and invited her mother to work on the project with her.  Refinishing her grandmother’s table has given it a new life – one that can live on for many more years and continued to be passed down. A dollar amount could never be put on a piece with this much sentimental value.

Getting to refinish this with my mom has been so fun! We did the whole shabang… sanded, primed, sanded, two coats of black chalk paint, sanded, third coat of black paint, distressed, & two coats of polyurethane! It. Is. Gorgeous.” ~ Brittany Sanchez

Example Two: Reclaimed Wood Headboard

reclaimed-wood-headboardReclaiming wood does not have be done by the most creative or the professional decorators. For one Midwestern mom, Annie Wilson, she wanted something to help spice up her guest bedroom and found a way that just about anybody would be able to do.

Wilson created this adorable headboard from a reclaimed barn door. She bought the barn door from a flea market for just $35. She loved the piece in its original form and decided to drilled the reclaimed door right into the wall, adding an instant headboard. This incredibly budget-friendly design added charming character and rustic style that gives a sweet and welcoming feel for all who visit and stay with her.

Example Three: Reclaimed Wood Playhouse

Reclaimed wood playhouseThis last example might blow many away. An adorable tiny yellow playroom surrounded by a quant white fence was a repurposed project from Michelle Henkel’s father-in-law. Ron Henkel, Michelle’s father-in-law, from Mendota, Illinois, is retired and used his learned talent and time to build a playhouse that only lives in a child’s dream.

Henkel created a space that invites his grandchildren, welcomes them, and challenges them to use their imagination. This gift will create memories that his grandchildren will have for the rest of their lives and offers a gift that Michelle and her husband feel incredibly loved and honored by.

Henkel taught himself to build this playhouse by using recycled pieces from his daughter, Michelle’s kitchen remodel – the laminate flooring and the hardware. In addition, he went to the Chana Barn Auction in Chana, Illinois to buy reclaimed pieces from the auction, like the windows, shutters, and even the nails. The fence was wood used from Michelle’s old fence from her home.

If you wanted to buy a playhouse like this from a store or online, you are looking at spending $4,000 – $14,000. Not counting the labor, Henkel was able to build this stunning tiny playhouse for $900 in materials. It is hard to find a sweeter gift a grandfather could give to his grandchildren.

Wrapping Up

Reclaimed wood is continuing to grow in its use and popularity. The possibilities to repurpose, and refinish wood are endless. The history and stories behind the wood continue to attract designers. With companies popping up and doing the hard wood to properly reclaim wood pieces, it is making it possible for just about anybody to bring these stunning pieces into their home.

Green Building Advisor 

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  • Luke Smith April 19, 2016  

    I like all of the cool ideas that can be used from reclaimed wood like a headboard, or even a doll house. It’s nice that wood that is old can still be used for some good projects. I want to find a place that I can get some timber and us it to make a dining room table.

    • Rootwell Products Inc. April 20, 2016  

      Hi Luke,
      I’m glad to hear that you like the headboard and doll house from reclaimed wood. Your idea of making a dining room table is great! I hope that you will Thank you for stopping by and please let us know if you do create the table.