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The Charm of Reclaimed Wood

5 tips for working with antique wood products in your home



Photos courtesy of Trestlewood

Picture crossing the Great Salt Lake on a train pulled by an iron horse, the crushing weight upheld by a trestle whose old wood poles stand as a testament of the bygone era of steam and steel.

Picture smelling the fresh-cut hay as the gentle sun rays lazily squeeze through the weathered boards of an old barn.

Picture watching the brilliant flashes of a welder’s arc below the looming shadow of a World War II Navy destroyer supported by a timber frame war-construction drydock.

The common grain of each of these memories in history is the wood and the people that made these structures possible. Today, many of us dream of having a piece of that heritage in our homes, with the reclaimed wood accents that embody the grit and determination of our predecessors. Though the experiences and applications can vary and create specific challenges, everyone can enjoy the luxury, grandeur, and history of antique wood.

Here are five tips that will help you create a successful experience in working with reclaimed wood products in your next project.

1. Have vision, be open minded, and be patient (or work with someone who does and will).

Though you may feel like this is three tips in one—this is the first step, altogether. The wood looks a whole lot better in your future home than it does in the yard. Take your time getting it right.

2. Design around what actually exists.

Reclaimed wood is what it was. Or in other words, reclaimed wood can never be what it never was; therefore, one will save much headache if there is a viable product with the acceptable characteristics. For example, if a hand-hewn barn timber is wanted, design around what the farmers from the 1800s would cut most of the time: a 10x10 hand-hewn timber.

3. Make a perceived weakness or flaw a strength in character.

Checks, pockets, weathering, knots, salt-content, and kerf marks are all the name of the game of reclaimed. Cultivating an attitude of perfection in imperfection will take the evidence of a tough first life and make it the defining, beautiful feature of its second life. That personality is the charm of reclaimed.

4. Create your own history.

Regardless of where your wood came from, choose to create a story worth remembering by those closest to you. Connect your story and style and add to the proud legacy of your building material as you build your own lives and homes.

5. Enjoy the ride.

How often do you get to choose the showpieces of your house? We’re confident  that many of the ooh’s and ah’s that you will hear will be due to the unique characteristics of your style connected with your one-of-a-kind pieces of reclaimed wood.

Remembering these five tips will lead to not only a successful but pleasant experience with reclaimed wood. Now, envision being in a room with the timbers of a proud trestle standing boldly beneath the newly constructed ceiling of your masterpiece—or admiring the brilliant reflections flashing from the nearby creek upon the looming mass of your World War II drydock pavilion timbers. Or finally, imagine watching sunlight gently filter through the window panes onto your newly decorated vintage barnwood accent wall of a family bedroom. Whatever you choose to do, may you enjoy this charming design feature in your mountain home and feel an even deeper connection to its story.

Bobby Cannon is the production manager of timbers at Trestlewood, a company that specializes in beautiful, distinctive wood with a history. View their profile or contact Bobby at 208-785-1151.

Content for this article provided by Trestlewood.

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