What’s old is new

Reclaimed wood is a bit of a hot commodity these days. With plentiful pallet project ideas out there, it’s easy for anyone to get in…

Reclaimed wood is a bit of a hot commodity these days. With plentiful pallet project ideas out there, it’s easy for anyone to get in on the fun. So after the opportunity arose to use old barn wood for a project, we sat down with Randy to learn more about this growing trend.


Randy, how’d you come up with the idea to use old barn wood for this project?


Actually it was the client who wanted it because they thought it would look good. I was a little hesitant at first because anything secondhand comes with a level of uncertainty, and quality can vary. But it turned out great in the end! We didn’t have to use any antiquing techniques — all the character was already there.


So what’s up with this new trend? What’s the appeal?


Well, like I said, old wood’s got some awesome character to it. You can fake this to a certain extent, but it’s not the same. I’ve also noticed a bigger push in TV content that’s showing the value in using this type of wood. I think people are tired of the same, perfectly mass-produced products. Using old wood makes every piece completely unique.


Plus the original piece of wood is a higher quality than you can get today. Most of it comes from old-growth timber, so you don’t have issues like warping.


Reclaimed wood has more character and, thanks to being from old-growth timber, higher quality than new wood.


Is it hard to come by? How do you find it?


Craigslist has been my best bet — there are a few places around here. But it is getting more popular. When we went to pick this up there was a couple who drove probably three-and-a-half hours to get some. I’ve also heard of people storing old wood so it doesn’t get stolen.


Old wooden posts and fake barbwire were used to round out this exhibit's country character.


What’s it like working with it? Pros? Cons?


The cons are that there are always leftover fasteners hidden in it. Once you’re done with your cuts, you’re done with your saw blade, too. I probably cut through 40 or 50 nails on this project. Also, like I mentioned before, there’s always some uncertainty with secondhand material.


The pros are that at its core, it’s high-quality wood. And really, it’s just cool. There are endless possibilities with what you can build with it.


Reclaimed wood is often riddled with old fasteners, which must be watched out for when it comes time to cut.


What are some other pieces you’ve built with reclaimed wood?


I’ve done some barn doors for my brother, and he’s made a lot of furniture and shelves for his house and kids’ rooms. Otherwise, my father in-law used to own a body shop, so I took some old wood and metal files from there and made a picture frame with one of his old work smocks.


In addition to customized travel crates, the full display includes a backdrop and discussion tables.