You might be reading this article because you love working with reclaimed wood. There’s a lot to love, after all. It’s sustainable, it’s strong, and it looks really beautiful. Or perhaps you’re reading this article because you don’t totally understand the recent trend of barn wood everywhere, and you’re looking for more information. Either way, we’re here to help you learn the pros and cons of reclaimed wood, because you DO have another option.
What is reclaimed wood?
Reclaimed wood has soared in popularity the last few years, in part because of the recent trend is sustainability, and the downturn in popularity of tropical woods. Let’s start by clearing up what exactly counts as reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood is aged, recycled wood that has been recovered from old barns, factories and warehouses, typically structures that are more than a few decades old.
What people often aren’t aware of is that reclaimed wood nearly always requires a large amount of processing in order to be stable enough for reuse. And that modification runs the gamut in terms of quality and process.
So while reclaimed wood can often be a wonderful addition to any project, it absolutely requires a high level of research and distributor trust to ensure what you’re getting is what you’ve requested.
What’s so great about reclaimed wood?
The aesthetic. Reclaimed wood can be really beautiful. From the silvery patina of naturally-aged wood to the unique characteristics of non-mass-produced boards, reclaimed wood is surging in popularity for a reason. It’s also an environmentally-friendly option – reusing something is always better for the environment than creating something new, and with reclaimed wood, no new trees are cut down. Finally, reclaimed wood is, in theory, much stronger than much of the wood on the market today. Older practices used “old growth” trees for lumber, which are typically stronger by nature. Because the wood has been around for decades, the fibers have settled comfortably into stability. They expand and shrink less with changing weather, leaving them less susceptible to cracking and warping. Plus, it’s possible that your reclaimed wood came from somewhere or something really cool. An old ship, or a beloved, historical building, or even a family estate. So your new project comes with a built-in history and significance.
What’s not so great about reclaimed wood?
The unknowns. In theory, all those great attributes above are true. But in reality, those can be hard to achieve, and even harder to verify prior to use. If they’re all true? You will pay for it, and probably get your money’s worth. If they’re not all true? You still might pay for it, and not get your money’s worth, because it’s so hard to verify. And if it doesn’t live up to expectations, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it.
Reclaimed wood typically features one of two things – insect infestations, or pesticides. Today’s technology doesn’t apply to decades-old wood. Because of this, higher-quality reclaimed wood is kiln-dried to ensure any and all insects or pests are killed off. This baking process isn’t as easy as it sounds. Thermory has spent over 20 years perfecting and developing our thermal modification process. The truth is, without true experts at the helm, this process often leads to less structural integrity than where you started. And it doesn’t do a darn thing to eliminate toxins that may (or may not) already be in the wood.
Old wooden barns and structures were nearly always constructed with a hammer and nails. So simple and rustic, right? Except that pulling out every nail is kind of unpredictable. This kind of leftover metal debris can be dangerous, and it can impact the stability of the wood in the future.
Let’s talk about the aesthetic.
We mentioned earlier that the aesthetic of reclaimed wood is stunning. And we stand by that statement. It’s beautifully imperfect, giving off rustic elegance and character. It offers visible texture that conjures images of its past life. And it’s settled into a striking, uniquely aged color that you don’t see in “new” wood.
Reclaimed wood is beautiful. In fact, it’s so beautiful that Thermory decided to recreate that look. You see, we love the way reclaimed wood works, but we don’t like the way you can’t predict it’s quality, strength or stability. So we created a brand new product that combines the beautiful look and texture of reclaimed wood with the unrivaled stability and durability of Thermory wood.
Drift combines the best parts of reclaimed wood with the best parts of Thermory, so you get expertly modified wood with Class 1 durability ratings, AND the beautiful look and texture of reclaimed wood.
The Thermory Color Evolution: Drift Edition
One of the most unique aspects of Thermory wood is the unique Thermory color evolution that each and every (unoiled) board undergoes. Drift fast-forwards to the end of the process. Drift comes in a number of realistically-weathered colored, mimicking the look and texture of aged wood. As Drift ages, each board undergoes an even more unique transformation while maintaining its signature silvery patina.
Let’s sum this up with a table. Reclaimed wood has some great features. Drift also has some great features. Which one does your next project deserve?