First, how is the top made? This is probably the most important question because many woodworkers are just now finding out about the popularity of barn wood tables and barnwood furniture so they are just starting to use this kind of wood for the first time. They have yet to experiment with its nature and how it will adjust to different humidity levels in a customers’ home. They will make many mistakes as it is much different to work with when compared to fresh cut wood. If they are gluing a barnwood top together, then there is a high probability that it will crack. And not the normal little cracks that add character, but the large, ugly ones that won’t blend in – no doubt your eye will go right to the spot each and every time. The barn wood has been outdoors for a hundred years and been subjected to the driest and moistest of seasons. Barn wood is conditioned to adjust to the different season’s moisture levels. Gluing it and bringing it indoors will almost always result in cracking issues. Woodland Creek Furniture’s barnwood table tops are made with a special patent pending “floating” top. The barn wood planks are tongue and grooved and rest on a substrate wrapped in a thick outer solid barnwood beam. The top can “float” and adjust to the season’s and home changing moisture levels. Your eye may never notice the slight swelling or contraction of the wood planks, but with over 3,000 dining tables made and delivered all over the U.S. and Canada over the past eight years, you can feel confident your table will do what it is supposed to do – provide a sturdy area to share wonderful meals and good times with loved ones while radiating warmth, beauty and rustic charm.
The next question to ask is how old is the barn wood? Why would the barn wood’s age be an important question? Because many companies are using barnwood that is only 25 to 50 years old. This is simply not long enough for the wood to develop the patina and texture that gives the barnwood its warm rustic charm. It takes 100+ years to develop the sought after character. It is much easier to take down younger barns. The process goes faster and “faster” means it takes less man hours saving money. Some companies have given up on the time consuming and painstaking effort of reclaiming barn wood all together and just simply take fresh cut wood and attempt to make it appear to be barnwood. Through the use of sawing, burning, sand blasting, grinding, wire-wheeling, planing and texturing techniques they attempt to replicate the appearance of barn wood. A person that works with barn wood every day can recognize the difference in a split second, but the untrained eye or furniture buyer can be fooled into believe it’s real barn wood. Fuzzy, poor quality photos make it even more difficult to tell whether the wood is real reclaimed barnwood or fake barnwood. When you place man made barnwood next to real barn wood, then the differences are noticeable as real barn wood’s character is much warmer and aesthetically appealing. Woodland Creek Furniture will demonstrate the difference when you visit one of our showrooms. Visiting customers always pick authentic barnwood tables and furniture over the lower quality reproductions.
The third important question to ask is – does the barn wood table or furniture have a finish on it? Many companies are opting to not use a finish on the reclaimed wood. Why you ask? There are two main reasons. First, applying a quality finish takes a lot of time and skill – adding the manufacturing cost to the product. Each time a coat or layer of finish is applied you must let it dry and then hand sand between coats. Hand sanding take a lot of physical labor which in turns makes the barn wood furniture more expensive to produce. There should be a coat of sander sealer followed by three more coats of high quality finish to seal the wood’s pours to prevent staining of the wood. You would be surprised at the thousands of complaints against some of the large national companies that are selling unfinished reclaimed wood tables and furniture. Customers tell stories of having the table a week only to spill a glass of wine, and their expensive table is permanently ruined. The salespeople at these stores will tell you that you can “sand the stains out”. Not true. Wine, juice and other liquids penetrate too deep and the table becomes a blotchy mess. Even the natural oils from our skin will darken the wood over time. Woodland Creek Furniture’s barn wood tables and furniture have a quality handcrafted finish on them ensuring decades of daily use. Once barn wood has been properly finished and sealed it is very easy to touch up scratches with a tinted wax. If you decide to order a barn wood table, you will pass it down to your kids and then their kids.
I invite you to visit one of our showrooms and see the quality difference in person. Custom made barn wood tables and furniture is Woodland Creek’s specialty. Don’t see the design you need from one of the 1,500 unique designs on our web site? Call or email us today with your ideas and measurements, and let’s design it together.
Thank you for reading this blog entry.
Founder/CEO Woodland Creek Furniture