Reclaimed Wood

  • History in the making: why faux barnwood is so popular

    Antique or reclaimed barnwood has been enjoying a serious surge in popularity, but so too has carefully manufactured faux barnwood. The question is, why and is it better than the real thing?

    Real barnwood can be found in homes throughout the world but especially in the USA, thanks to its in-built heritage and strength. Years of weathering creates a patina that is interesting and unique; while also adding to the durability of the material itself and let's not overlook a crucial element; faux barnwood is often consider to be an eco-friendly building material too. There are, however, a couple of problems with barnwood! Most notably the availability and price, which faux varieties can easily tackle.

    Reclaimed faux Barnwood Furniture - Bed

    There is an infinite amount

    Let’s start with the issue of availability. While there are countless old barns scattered throughout the country, particularly in the Midwest, not all are suitable for demolition and reclamation and there is, ultimately, a finite amount of barnwood to be had. With this in mind, faux versions have started springing up. 

    Usually, we make it from pine. Pine that we give an aged look through certain processes and stains; not all faux barnwood is created equal. Here at Woodland Creek Furniture, we have a team of artisans on hand to create the most realistic versions out there, resulting in us even having to look twice. Utilizing rough sawn marks, nicks, insect tracks and specifically-chosen stains, we are able to recreate antique barnwood faithfully and respectfully. 

    It’s far less expensive

    Naturally, wood that has seen at least a century of history comes at a price; especially those pieces with really interesting marks and patina. You could be looking at a four-figure price tag for small items with real barnwood and though it’s worth every penny, sometimes a cheaper alternative is a sensible idea.

    Despite requiring care and a lot of work, our faux barnwood is a cost-effective way to get the aesthetic and vibe that you love; without compromising on quality. We don’t use themed veneers or cheapen our furniture with low grade hardware; instead, we offer you solid wood furniture that we make with less expensive timber. The result is furniture that you love and your guests envy, but no potential for bankruptcy. 

    we can make it into anything

    Let’s imagine that you are looking for a specifically-sized linen closet for your bathroom. You want aged barnwood but have had no luck finding what you want. No problem. Simply have it recreated in faux barnwood for a fraction of the cost! Furthermore, it will have a  faster completion time and with your bathroom specifically in mind

  • Great Ideas for Reclaimed Wood

    Reclaimed wood is a special material. Carrying generations of history in its grain, it resonates the kind of charm! This charm is simply impossible to replicate through manmade patina, but how can you use it?

    If you’ve thought about introducing reclaimed wood into your interior design scheme. You need to make sure that you tread carefully. Use too much of it and your home will begin to look gimmicky. However, only introduce one item and it might look out of place. Here are a few easy ideas for adding reclaimed wood to your home, today.

    1. Leave Reclaimed Wood to the expertsa reclaimed wood bar

    Firstly, let’s take a minute to acknowledge that not everybody is a carpenter! As such, it can be better to buy a gorgeous reclaimed wood furniture item from a reputable workshop. You should be able to ask questions about the age of the wood and arrange for any bespoke requirements too. Our selection of genuine reclaimed barn wood furniture caters for all tastes and needs. 

    2. Make sympathetic house repairs with Reclaimed wood 

    If you’re renovating a house, using reclaimed wood can be a fabulous way to respect the property and add in some tangible history too. Replace rotten beams with old but good condition substitutions and you’ll get character, as well as a sense of satisfaction from saving historical materials from the scrap pile and being more eco-friendly.

    3. Add shelving to your space

    Thanks to the strength of reclaimed wood, it makes excellent shelves and can be easy to transform. Either ask a local sawmill to cut your timber into manageable planks, ready to hang on your walls! Or, think about metal braces that will allow you to affix chunkier slabs to your walls for a striking rustic aesthetic. 

    4. Create a custom house sign

    A nice easy little DIY project would be to use reclaimed wood to mount a house number or name. Thus creating something totally bespoke to your home. Simple metal numbers fixed to a reclaimed plank would look amazing, especially if you brought in a contemporary twist, by making the orientation portrait. 

    5. Show your garden some love with Reclaimed wood Reclaimed wood furnitrue

    Those charming wooden box planters are a cinch to make and if you have some reclaimed timber to put to good use, the end result will be spectacular. You won’t even need to worry about creating a smooth finish, as they will be outside and the elements will take care of that for you! Just be sure to leave holes for drainage and plant something amazing.

    6. Let your creativity flow

    Some reclaimed wood is so beautiful that it looks like art in its own right. Why not actually make it art then? Using a chop saw, you can easily cut up your timber into interesting mosaic shapes, to mount directly to your wall like a wooden jigsaw. The variations in tone, patina and even saw marks will all add to the finished effect. This is one of the easiest and most free-flowing DIY ideas around!

    7. Try interior cladding

    Not for the fainthearted, interior wall cladding is a stunning rustic design feature that instantly ups the glamor and opulence of a space. Using reclaimed timber to clad an entire feature wall would make for a really unusual but gorgeous idea and we think it would be incredible in a master bedroom. 

    So, how are you going to introduce reclaimed timber into your home?

  • What is Barnwood Furniture

    Barn wood or barnwood furniture utilizes wood that has been re-purposed from an actual barn. Proponents of barn wood furniture enjoy the natural, weathered look and feel of the wood; moreover, they have an appreciation for its historical context. Shoppers beware! A lot of big box stores will market their products as “Barn Wood Furniture” at huge markdowns; don’t be fooled by this. They may have a “barn wood” style but are not selling authentic barn wood. The reality is, these pieces can be pricey due to the fact that reclaimed barnwood is a limited resource. Because, barnwood is largely because it’s extremely expensive to harvest.

    Barnwood furniture pays homage to Americana

    If a list were to be made on the top ten items that symbolize Americana; barns would have to be near the top.  Barns were being built by the earliest of American settlers.  Firstly, barns were around when the ideas and principals for a free and independent country were being discussed; secondly, they were around through civil wars; thirdly, they were around during dust bowls and depressions; they were around through the industrial revolution, and they are around and thriving in the twenty-first century.

    image of an American barn Old American Heritage Barn

    According to the USDA the number of farms peaked in 1930 with approximately 6.3 million farms in the United States.  Every farm had some type of barn used to protect livestock, equipment or hay.  These barns were made from easily accessible local trees.  The wood used for barns was primarily pine, spruce, oak, fir, and hemlock.  Farmers preferred pine as the wood was prevalent, quick to air dry, lighter in weight, and easy to cut.  You can find barns made from just about every species of wood, but the vast majority were made from pine.

    A Classic Farmer Barnwood

    Farmers often painted the barn in an attempt to protect the wood from the elements. After the initial painting, barns were usually left to endure the wrath of year-round, daily sun, rain, snow and wind.  Most barns eventually took on a silver-gray appearance as the paint slowly faded away.  The wood became textured and weathered.  Farmers cared little about aesthetics, and why would they?  They were utilitarian at the core and everything was about function, efficiency and survival.  Barns were a means of survival for both the family and the cattle that fed them.   Inside the barns, farmers used every square inch as there was never enough space.  Support beams were littered with nails and spikes holding tools of the trade.

    The daily use of the wood by farmers, coupled with the slow, methodical weathering by Mother Nature; gave the wood a warm and weathered texture.  As modern barns were now being constructed with sheet metal; older wooden barns were destined to slowly decay and fade away.  All across the Midwest tens-of-thousands of barns can be seen fighting to stay erect and relevant.

    Get the Best Barnwood Furniture from Woodland Creek

    Approximately twenty years ago a client asked us to build his family two vanities for their new summer cottage.  During a brainstorming meeting on design, the customer said he wanted something rustic. However, they were hoping we had some ideas for something slightly more refined than the traditional log vanities we had on display.  We discussed cabinetry made from hickory, pine, cedar and other traditional woods used at the time! It could be seen the customer wanted something different.  A promise was made to think and research other woods and to revisit the topic again the following week when they next visited. A few days later, Woodland Creek’s founder, Robert Evina, was driving to see a wood supplier on the northeast side of the state of Michigan (specifically the area between Mio and Glennie).

    On certain roads in this part of the state; it is not uncommon to drive for 15-30 miles and not see another vehicle.  On one of these less driven roads, there was a barn that was half-standing.  A storm must have taken down part of the barn. Robert stopped his truck and walked into the field and up to the barn.  The wood was solid, but heavily weathered.  His immediate thoughts turned to how this wood might look if lightly sanded and sprayed with a finish.

    Woodland Creek's Best

    All the wood used for furniture up to this point was newly cut and smooth.  A farmhouse nearby proved to be the owners of the barn.  Robert asked if he could take a few boards and experiment with the wood to see if it could be used for furniture.  The owners were happy to grant permission as they said they looked at the barn daily and wished there was a way to use or preserve this once important piece of the family farm.

    The wood was laid on a table in Woodland Creek’s workshop and as expected some of the woodworkers had negative thoughts on using barn wood for furniture.  The boards were cut into smaller pieces and experimentation began.  Some pieces were heavily sanded while others received varying degrees of sanding.  Some pieces were sprayed with a clear lacquer and others were given a stain to see how it would react.  Hours and hours were spent experimenting to find the best finishing techniques.

    Early samples were inconsistent. Some samples would turn out aesthetically appealing while other parts of the same board using the same techniques turned out blotchy.  This did not make sense.  It was later realized that some boards were subjected to a steady drip of a leaking part of the barn and a different part of the board had never been touched by water.  After countless hours and days, a finishing technique was developed.  The barnwood boards were beautiful and aesthetically appealing.

    A Timeless Finish

    The finishing technique is one of the main reasons Woodland Creek’s barnwood furniture looks so much different from competitor’s.  Low grade barnwood furniture appears blotchy and mottled.  Woodland Creek’s barnwood furniture has just the right balance; it holds the weathered charm of aged wood, yet it is refined and soft to the touch.

    Barnwood vanities were made for the customer and compliments soon followed. This customer and the owner of Woodland Creek became friends and remain in touch.  The vanities are almost twenty years old and still look great.  This is also an advantage of barnwood furniture.  It literally gets better looking with time. It is easy to touch up and daily use only adds to the “weathered” character.

    Woodland Creek makes some of its own barnwood furniture, and we also work with other companies that share the same commitment to high quality furniture and unique designs.  Finishing techniques have been shared so we consider these smaller, specialty manufactures part of the Woodland Creek family as we have been working together for almost eighteen years.

    image of an old barnwood Antique Barns

    Early Mistakes

    If you look at wood under a microscope, you will see that its cells resemble and hold water much like a sponge.  A common misconception is that barn wood has been air dried for decades and is immediately ready for use in furniture. Newcomers to our industry do not have twenty years’ experience and know the right way to season barnwood and get it ready for use in furniture.  One of the first mistakes they make is gluing barnwood boards together.

    Barnwood is subjected to large swings of moisture in the air. During the humid summers, those cells in the wood will absorb water and expand, and during the cold winters those same cells will give up their water and contract.  Wood adjusts to the climate and will continue to do so inside a home.  Yes, the variation of humidity is less inside a home, but none the less it will expand and contract with the change of season.

    Glued up Mistakes!

    Glued up barnwood has a high chance of cracking over time.  Woodland Creek’s barnwood furniture has a proprietary, engineered top that subtly adjusts to the varying humidity levels and rarely has issues.  With over 100,000 pieces of barnwood furniture sold over the past eighteen years, we have only seen a few tops that needed to be repaired.  We are quite confident in saying that we know our competitors are manufacturing and selling barnwood furniture. Furniture that has a 10% to 15% chance of developing large cracks that will make the furniture unattractive and in some cases unusable.  We know this because we used these same woodworking techniques eighteen years ago; we were forced to find a better way.

    In conclusion, Woodland Creek Furniture feels it offers the highest quality barn wood furniture available in the marketplace.  Yes, there is always less expensive options, and we know how to make less expensive barnwood furniture; we choose not to. We choose to offer the best quality at a fair price and develop trust with our clients.

    On Woodland Creek Furniture’s web site you will see a large selection of barnwood dining tables, barnwood coffee tables, barnwood sofa tables, barnwood end tables, barnwood beds and barnwood lighting.  Woodland Creek is constantly adding new designs so please check back with us as we are committed to be the premier barnwood furniture resource in the country.

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