Each piece of reclaimed wood is unique. It is the sum of its experiences, and it shows in ways both obvious and secretive. Possessed of a level of character and beauty rarely seen in wood produced by the modern lumber industry, reclaimed wood can tell the tale of its existence to those with the guile to comprehend it. Every knot, every groove, every variation in color has a story waiting to be discovered.
Since the first permanent English settlers established Jamestown in 1607, wood has been an integral part of America’s development. A versatile, bountiful, renewable resource, wood provided early Americans with the materials and fuel to keep our nation’s progress marching forward.
As our young country grew, so did our collective need for wood. Early American settlers sought their fortunes in the west, many of them persuaded to brave the wild territory by the 160 acres per family guaranteed by the Homestead Act of 1862; all they had to do was pay a small registration fee and live on the land continuously for five years. Some of these homesteaders would have to clear their new land of existing timber to make room for a home, in the process creating the lumber they would use for construction.
Since this pattern of clearing and using homestead trees was common across the country, most of the wood we reclaim is indigenous to our region. When we have the opportunity, we carefully deconstruct antique buildings piece by piece, tagging and cataloging the materials as we work. Meticulous documentation allows us to move and reconstruct entire antique buildings with proper planning and resources.
Wherever the journey of a particular piece of reclaimed wood happens to lead, Keystone Vintage Lumber is proud to help it find a new home and to be a part of its story.
When you want to create something special, the importance of material selection cannot be overstated. Even the most skilled craftsmen have limits, but their gifts can occasionally achieve transcendence when they have access to superior materials. Reclaimed wood, sometimes hundreds of years old and hewn from old-growth forests, often possesses both aesthetic and practical advantages over wood produced by today’s lumber industry.
Particularly for projects in which a unique or rustic appearance is desired, reclaimed wood’s decades or even centuries of life experience can create an inimitable authenticity. Most reclaimed wood can be finished to achieve a pristine surface, but the visible evidence of its age is often regarded as its most desirable trait.
In a more practical sense, the trees that were used in early frontier construction were typically old-growth trees that reached maturity in the absence of industrial pollutants. Additionally, unlike new wood, lumber made from these trees was conditioned by years of temperature and humidity changes. This natural development of antique wood produces something special and irreplaceable, making the repurposing of antique wood even more essential.
Although considered a luxury niche product by some, reclaimed lumber continues to grow in popularity. Its quality, appearance, and connection to history are all powerful motivators for discerning buyers. An important bonus of using reclaimed wood is that it also helps to reduce the ecological impact of any construction project; when wood is repurposed, fewer live trees must be felled. Finally, the rising costs of demolition and materials disposal make reclamation an attractive, cost-effective alternative to the wholesale destruction of antique wooden structures. When reclaimed wood makes so much practical and emotional sense, why would anyone settle for anything less?