Why We Reclaim Wood
All of the furniture the Vintage Furniture Company produces uses reclaimed wood. This isn’t an accident. Reclaimed wood has many features that make it the perfect material for creating high-quality furniture bursting with personality.
Furniture is crucial when it comes to giving a room its ambiance. And often flawless new wood doesn’t contribute to, or isn’t complementary with, a room’s intended atmosphere. This is why many of the world’s leading architects and interior designers specifically request furniture made from reclaimed wood. And, increasingly, many are even using it as a building material, in order to really capitalise on its character-giving properties.
As we see it, there are four main advantages of using reclaimed wood: beauty, variety, durability, and sustainability. In this article we run through each of these unique features, and explain why we love working with reclaimed wood.
There’s something nice about the fact that, in today’s world of plastics and synthetics, wood is still one of the most attractive, versatile, and popular materials. The organic textures and aromas of high-quality wood are known to relive stress, and its presence in a building can provide an often much needed bridge to the natural world.
Reclaimed wood is amongst the most beautiful wood you can get. This is because, left to age naturally, wood will soften in colour and attain a character unique to the specific environment and conditions it has been left in – whether that’s baking in the sun, being battered by the wind, or hanging in an abandoned factory. Though many try to recreate this quality artificially, we know of no technique that can replicate it to a standard that comes anywhere close to the original thing.
Old wood earns its beauty. And using reclaimed wood is a great way to create something really distinctive and special.
There are a lot of types of wood available. But when it comes to reclaimed wood, some types are more prevalent than others. This is because, as tastes and economies change, the popularity of different woods fluctuates. Indeed some types of wood which were once plentiful are now only available in large quantities through reclamation.
Reclaimed wood may come from building sites, obsolete factories, schools, warehouses, barns, and other buildings.
Since The Vintage Furniture Company is based in North Yorkshire, the most common reclaimed wood available to us is reclaimed pine. Pine develops a beautiful, rustic patina from age and use. This makes it perfect for making the characterful pieces we specialise in.
Reclaimed wood is, perhaps surprisingly, often stronger than new timber. Most experts in the field believe that the increased strength, stability, and durability of older trees is linked to the lack of air pollution during their growth.
So, whilst in many instances, “newer” is synonymous with “better”, this is not the case when it comes to wood.
New wood will retain a certain amount of moisture, and this makes it more prone to cracking and warping. Old wood, properly persevered, will be much drier, making it inherently stronger and more durable.
Additionally, new wood, which usually comes from timber farms, often contains sapwood. This is wood from younger trees, which often contains larger and looser knots, making it more prone to distorting. Old wood, on the other hand, will mostly be dense-grain, since it is more likely to have come from a mature tree.
Using reclaimed wood is environmentally friendly too. The energy and resources needed to profitably grow and fell new wood are far from inconsequential. These include land usage, fuel usage (from often global freight and transportation), the creation of packaging, electricity usage (from massive machinery), and pollution.
By choosing reclaimed wood, you choose not contribute to this process. Giving old wood a home helps save the planet.
Using reclaimed wood breathes new life into an intrinsically beautiful material. Whether it’s used to make seating, doors, mantelpieces, café tables, panels, or even menu covers, reclaimed wood ties the past to the present, with each imperfection telling its own story.
We hope we’ve convinced you of the benefits of reclaimed wood. If you liked this article, why not share it? Or if you have any thoughts or questions you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you.