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View Gilley23's profile

Barn Wood. Why.

by Gilley23
posted 01-30-2018 09:23 PM


1 2 next »
97 replies

97 replies so far

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Brodeln311

1 post in 657 days


#1 posted 01-30-2018 09:35 PM

How I feel about pallet wood as well.

-- I was told there'd be punch and pie

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16239 posts in 3159 days


#2 posted 01-30-2018 09:44 PM

You know the answer: it’s a style, or a fad, that won’t last forever. I hated disco, and that lasted years. Paneling, ceiling tile and indoor/outdoor carpet lasted for more than a decade. In a few years, people all over the country will be busting up their granite countertops for something different as well. Stainless steel appliances will be ‘so 2000s’ before too long. It doesn’t have to make sense, does it?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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John Smith

2049 posts in 703 days


#3 posted 01-30-2018 10:17 PM

it’s a Millennial thing. . . . yes, fads come and go. (I’m glad I still have my green paisley shirt).

but – how about taking perfectly good bass wood and carving it up to “look like” 100 year old barn wood ??

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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Sawdustonmyshoulder

489 posts in 4169 days


#4 posted 01-30-2018 10:30 PM

With all due respect, I just finished two projects with ‘barn wood’. It was red oak and white oak. It wasn’t rotten, gray or 100 years old. I bought it because my client wanted it. The wood was milled on a circular saw mill. It was heavy, solid and it came right out of a barn. I paid less than $1 a board foot for it. All I had to do was pressure wash the boards to get rid of the abundance of red sand that had made a home on it. Made a few Benjamins along the way too.

I guess my point is that it was what my client asked for and as long as it’s not illegal, immoral or against Scout law, I’ll do it for them. If they wanted it planed smooth as a baby’s back end, I would have obliged them but they didn’t.

I’m with Smitty….. it’s a fad. But I prefer to swim with the tide as opposed to swimming against it. This fad will fade like avocado green refrigerators and pink tiled bathrooms. In the meantime, I’ll ride the horse as far as she’ll carry me. Then I’ll be glad to take it all back in to my shop and plane way. Just keep those card$ and letter$ coming.

Thanks for making it this far in my ramblin’.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

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runswithscissors

3081 posts in 2565 days


#5 posted 01-30-2018 11:05 PM

Awfulest stuff I ever saw was in the bathroom I redid for a friend. Tub, toilet, and sink were all a dark chocolate brown. It even hurt my eyes to tear it out. The dump refused it on the grounds that they only accepted decent looking crap.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Kribbz's profile

Kribbz

13 posts in 1286 days


#6 posted 01-30-2018 11:13 PM



You know the answer: it s a style, or a fad, that won t last forever. I hated disco, and that lasted years. Paneling, ceiling tile and indoor/outdoor carpet lasted for more than a decade. In a few years, people all over the country will be busting up their granite countertops for something different as well. Stainless steel appliances will be so 2000s before too long. It doesn t have to make sense, does it?

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

Stainless is on its way out. The new fad is “Black Stainless” as it doesn’t show the fingerprints. But I’m with most here, just a fad, it will pass. Hell my wife has me putting fake Ship lap all over my house. You know how long it is going to take to remove all these brad nails and spackle each one! But you know what they say, Happy wife, Happy life.

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

1057 posts in 1074 days


#7 posted 01-30-2018 11:13 PM

My wife works in the design industry and agrees that it is probably a fad. The idea is to bring a bit of the perceived less complicated, slower lifestyle of rural life into today’s tech filled, overstimulated lifestyle. She says the grey wood that is popular at the moment will fade away, but the wood has a ton of character, if you can get through the patina.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a collection of old barn wood in my till, and use it as requested by the wife. Some of this wood is beautiful old growth oak and it was milled with huge water powered saws and the like.

Yeah, it’s probably a feel good thing, and if you use it, take the time to find the metal, or use a blade you don’t care about.

I always try to get her to let me plane the stuff down and bring out the real beauty, but that’s not the thing with this stuff. It’ll pass.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

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AZWoody

1461 posts in 1764 days


#8 posted 01-30-2018 11:15 PM

Maybe it’s a preference and if it’s not yours, so be it.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2533 posts in 2338 days


#9 posted 01-30-2018 11:43 PM

How about barn wood with mushrooms. You could be sitting in your easy chair and grab a snack right off your coffee table.:^)

-- Aj

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4188 days


#10 posted 01-30-2018 11:58 PM

I think it kind of started with architects spec’ing
reclaimed beams for faux (or real) timber frame
homes. Those places showed up in design journals
and 20 years later barnwood anything is all the
rage.

Lately a lot of what I’m seeing is basically nailed
panels with plywood backing for headboards and
tables, stuff like that. One place is welding up
frames to hold wood farm crates in lieu of drawers.
Looks like disposable retail furnishings for shops.

I mostly don’t get it myself, and I’ve explained to a few
people that “reclaimed” often means the opposite
of “inexpensive”. I think it depends on where you
are. Here in California I don’t think there are many
old barns within 1000 miles and it’s people with
connections in other states bringing it out.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2010 days


#11 posted 01-31-2018 12:10 AM

I’ve seen people on OWWM.org complaining about a similar trend of “industrial” styles. “Steampunk” is a ridiculous buzzword that comes to mind. Apparently a lot of the old iron is being bought up by fools hired by idiotic architects and interior designers. They strip out all the wheels, gears, pulleys, etc. and tack them on a piece of “barn wood” and suddenly you have a “steampunk wall art” piece that took 15 minutes to make and it’s being sold for $1000.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Walker's profile

Walker

160 posts in 1013 days


#12 posted 01-31-2018 12:57 AM

I think “reclaimed”, “barnwood”, and “rustic” are all terms that are just being re-appropriated to describe a wide range of styles that are different from “modern” or “sleek”, in that they are usually rougher looking and less polished. The terms change over time but the concepts don’t.

A “barnwood” kitchen could mean many things, and it doesn’t really need to come from an actual barn. It could be old gray wood, it could be recently cut wood that’s rough cut, it could be faked using the brillo pad/vinegar method, etc. Heck, it could just be knotty pine that people label it “rustic”.

I do hear what your saying though about the yuppy hipsters who like to pay more for things because they say “Organic” or “small batch”, etc. But just like any other fad, there were legitimate products and consumers before it was trendy, there still are during the fad, and there will still be a market for it after the fad fades.

-- ~Walker

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Knockonit

613 posts in 742 days


#13 posted 01-31-2018 01:00 AM

quit whining and jump on the band wagon, make a buck, and get ready for the next band wagon, its capitalism isn’t it.
Rj

View clin's profile

clin

1070 posts in 1536 days


#14 posted 01-31-2018 01:41 AM

I had the impression that some like to use barn wood, not because it looked old, but rather becasue it is higher quality wood than you can typically get today. Maybe not exactly “old growth” but something along those lines.

Same could be said for any wood reclaimed from an old structure.

If someone is actually paying $43/bf, well I guess they have more money than sense. But it’s a good thing when wealthy people spend their money.

-- Clin

View JustplaneJeff's profile

JustplaneJeff

277 posts in 2443 days


#15 posted 01-31-2018 01:55 AM

Hey, remember when paneling was all the rage. Just sayin!!

-- JustplaneJeff

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ArtMann

1441 posts in 1356 days


#16 posted 01-31-2018 02:01 AM

One could say the same thing about a lot of “antiques”. In most cases, those items in antique shops are just cheap worn out furniture that has no other redeeming value.

Having said that, I do a lot of work with barn wood that was recovered from an old tractor shed on our farm. Its single important redeeming feature is it is, far and away, the best selling and highest price material for inspirational signs I have ever sold using my CNC router. I don’t care why others like it. I will build with it until the “shabby sheek” craze goes away.

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

454 posts in 2461 days


#17 posted 01-31-2018 02:03 AM

And that is why I save all my cardboard! I’ve got the market cornered and just waiting for the “homeless look” to take off!
Got to go, saw some plastic bags just ripe for the picking, off the interstate!

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

613 posts in 742 days


#18 posted 01-31-2018 02:17 AM

I”m just hoping the pencil use increases, having been a carpenter for about 50 years, i’ve saved every vendors pencil, if they come back gonna have the corner sale on main street, big sign, retired carpenters pencils, get’m while you can.

lol, seems like it all runs in cycles, but hey, what ever floats a designers boat, i say, sure put the reuse of a lotta what might have been fire wood, or just bug food.

happy tuesday
Rj in az.

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Woodknack

12927 posts in 2920 days


#19 posted 01-31-2018 02:17 AM

There are lots of things I don’t understand … like why would someone watch a video by a random person on facebook and boycott a product. Or read an accusation over twitter and assume it’s true. Or refuse to vaccinate their child. Or believe what politicians say and ignore what they do. Or watch Jerry Springer. Or the obsession with dovetails. Life is full of mysteries. But why someone would like a rustic aesthetic, that’s not a mystery at all. I mean all that lightheartedly, lest anyone get their britches in a bunch.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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msinc

567 posts in 1044 days


#20 posted 01-31-2018 02:32 AM

I quit asking why a long time ago…I just take the money and run.

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FancyShoes

592 posts in 1905 days


#21 posted 01-31-2018 02:52 AM

Imagine what could be worse than what youbjust explained in the original post.

After thinking about that, that is what a few of us have thought about some of the projects we have seen on this website.

Anyway, whatever people like, and are happy with, is all that matters. Its not yours, its theirs. Best not to complain or worry about what we can not control.

I am happy for those who try and then try harder to get better.

As for the fad, it will go away, I just asked a friend how long he thinks this will be in style. Because I would like to redo my house. Would hate to fix it to a specific trend to not be able to sell it if by time I finish, it is out of style and if I needed to sell the house, I would have to redo it.

Anyway, in the end, it doesnt matter because the next trend one person will like, and another will hate. Just like everything else.

Hey, have you though about building something like the rustic or reclaimed? Maybe if you did, you would like it! Join the borg man!

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1343 posts in 1449 days


#22 posted 01-31-2018 04:06 AM

I’m not sure it’s a “fad”. In 1990 I was working with a small group of furniture makers using “reclaimed” wood out of a shop in Hollywood, CA. One of the guys would rent a big truck and drive up to Oregon and fill it with old barn wood, almost all of it Douglas Fir. Some of the main roof beams were 14” x 18” and 50 feet long. We’d process the wood with a 20” table saw and make dining tables that would sell on Melrose Ave. for several thousand dollars. I hated woking with the wood as it was filled with nails and bolts and threw splinters like crazy. We’d leave all that old rusted iron in place. Cut right through the nails and stuff. Gave the piece “character”, I suppose.

I always thought the stuff we made looked great and we made pretty good money using that old wood. That was 28 years ago. How long is a “fad” supposed to last? Probably until there’s no more old barn wood to be had.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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mtnwalton

60 posts in 1566 days


#23 posted 01-31-2018 04:31 AM

I wouldn’t consider it a fad, it has had popularity since back in the 70’s in lots of areas. I think it could be easily overdone though. Myself, i could do without “live edge”

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mjheck

21 posts in 1690 days


#24 posted 01-31-2018 04:40 AM

I see that Rockler is selling “faux” barn wood(3/8” x 6”) for $10.00/bf. Now that is going too far.

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Walker

160 posts in 1013 days


#25 posted 01-31-2018 05:10 AM

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tomsteve

976 posts in 1760 days


#26 posted 01-31-2018 01:51 PM

i milled the frame for this from old hand hewn red oak barn beams. because i could and they look awesome.just one of many frames ive made with reclaimed wood.

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Tony1212

364 posts in 2275 days


#27 posted 01-31-2018 03:13 PM

I think there are a few reasons driving the desire for old barn wood.

- The belief that old growth is better than new wood. There is an idea that it is stronger and has more character than freshly milled pieces for quickly grown trees. Whether it’s true or not is immaterial. It’s still (in most cases) good wood.

- The whole “save the trees” mindset. There is a level of satisfaction (and possibly superiority) in knowing your new wooden widget was made without having to cut down precious trees that provide oxygen to the planet.

- It’s old, pre-milled, and unwanted, therefore it must be cheaper. Maybe at first, but now I think demand has more than caught up with supply, possibly making it more expensive than fresh milled wood.

- It’s popular. On the heels of the previous point, it’s become a whole design aesthetic that people just NEED in their homes.

- It’s “rustic”. As mentioned up-thread, people like the idea of being out in the country while living in the reality that there’s a Whole Foods just down the street.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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Lazyman

4090 posts in 1928 days


#28 posted 01-31-2018 03:25 PM

Some of the most beautiful furniture I have ever seen was made from old growth long leaf pine reclaimed from old barns in East Texas. Of course, it wasn’t made in the rustic style because they planed off the old patina, though there were a few nail holes. One reason that reclaimed wood took off in the first place was because old barns are often made with wood from virgin forests, like American chestnut, that you just cannot get anymore.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 3169 days


#29 posted 01-31-2018 03:29 PM

I have similar feelings about distressing furniture. Seems disingenuous.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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woodenwarrior

255 posts in 2735 days


#30 posted 01-31-2018 03:31 PM

In defense of “barnwood” or reclaimed wood, (of which I’m not a big fan), a few years ago I was given several five foot long 6×8 eastern cedar beams that came from a 300 year old structure. After resawing and milling, this wood is almost completely blood red due to the tightness and quantity of grain. It makes the most wonderful lining for blanket chests. Barnwood isn’t always just a fad.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

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LiveEdge

600 posts in 2161 days


#31 posted 01-31-2018 04:47 PM

Sometimes (but now always) the reclaimed wood comes with a story that now becomes part of the piece. My desk (see projects) comes from wood salvaged from a Tannery built in 1903 which was a historical landmark (see bottom). My kitchen table (see projects, actually now a coffee table) comes from wood from the Oregon State Hospital which is where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed in 1975. Stories like that become conversation pieces.

  • Muir & McDonald Tannery was the longest continual business in Dallas when it closed in 2007, after 144 years. It also was the oldest tannery west of the Mississippi. Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of the familiar red building on SW Levens Street has since been torn down to make room for development and only the scale house, or weight shed, remains today.
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Vicki

1119 posts in 3885 days


#32 posted 01-31-2018 04:58 PM

I’m glad you asked this. I always wondered myself. When my better 1/2 asked for a headboard from barnwood, I thought uck! I don’t want that old stuff in the house. So I bought new pined and aged it with the steel wood, tea, vinegar method. Looks old, but is CLEAN. I don’t really like the gray look either, so I wiped a little golden oak stain on it too. Spouse approved and was happy and I like it too.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

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Drew

350 posts in 3640 days


#33 posted 01-31-2018 05:27 PM

I paid $2.35 bf for this materiasl. What was I thinking?

Who would ever buy something like this? IDK, but I sell at least one a week.

I have to admit, this one isn’t my style, but I sold 43 of them in ‘17. I think I like barn wood!

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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dhazelton

2839 posts in 2837 days


#34 posted 01-31-2018 06:20 PM

Furniture made with it doesn’t look like it came out of a factory or from China. It has character, it shows wear and history. What do YOU like to work with?

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EarlS

3221 posts in 2888 days


#35 posted 01-31-2018 06:26 PM

I’d love to get my hands on some old barn wood that is 6/4 or 8/4 and clean it up and use it. Here in the Midwest, old barn wood could be walnut, maple, oak or occasionally cherry. You can keep the rotting, splintered, busted up stuff like they use on HGTV.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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Ocelot

2365 posts in 3179 days


#36 posted 01-31-2018 07:48 PM

Well, what’s the fascination with wood anyway?

Plastic is so much better in every way – cheaper, easier to mass-produce, more stable, waterproof…

Whatever people like, they like.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

16239 posts in 3159 days


#37 posted 01-31-2018 08:02 PM

Nice stuff, Drew!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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CaptainKlutz

1950 posts in 2035 days


#38 posted 01-31-2018 08:15 PM

Barnwood?

Personally not a fan for rustic style furniture, but using barn wood that has been cleaned/milled to show the fabulous character of old growth lumber makes for rally nice projects. So be would be happy to accept free barn wood.

My real problem with barn wood is cost/value relationship. Wood is cheap IF you can obtain it where it grows.
If you located in farming country where cheap barn wood is available (<$2 bdft), then you should be using it when ever a project needs distressed/rustic/aged style wood. But when wood cost becomes more than traditional fancy hardwood costs (cherry, walnut, QSWO), then it becomes a luxury tax on buyer and you are simply feeding peak supply/demand cycles created by greedy people taking a fools money.
Frankly, If I have to pay more then $5-$10 bdft for wood, I would pick exotic look of waterfall/curly maple, bubinga, or lacewood; over any old growth wood. But then I am cheap, and know how to make low cost #1 common walnut/cherry/pine look like old barn wood. :)

YMMV

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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MrRon

5772 posts in 3784 days


#39 posted 01-31-2018 08:24 PM

Reclaimed wood whether from barns or sunken logs, is used for a “style” of building. It is not just a fad. That style of building is popular in some areas of the country. Rustic is a style as is contemporary, modern, victorian, art deco, etc.

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 3169 days


#40 posted 01-31-2018 08:26 PM

That makes perfect sense. If you wanted to use chestnut for a project, that might be the only way to get it. The desire to build a project with beat up crappy looking reclaimed material just so it will look beat up and crappy looking escapes me.

Although I like the “stars” and what they do for the most part, I think Joanna from Fixer Upper’s tendency to hang old junk on walls as decoration is partially to blame for this phenomenon. And ship lap. I don’t think anyone who wasn’t a builder in certain parts of the country knew what it was and now it’s part of the national vocabulary <g>.


Barnwood?

Personally not a fan for rustic style furniture, but using barn wood that has been cleaned/milled to show the fabulous character of old growth lumber makes for rally nice projects. So be would be happy to accept free barn wood….

- CaptainKlutz


-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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Mike_in_STL

1057 posts in 1074 days


#41 posted 01-31-2018 08:45 PM

Here is a project I did for my wife with pallet wood, it’s all hardwood.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/320505

If you spend the time and get the option to machine it, it’s a huge wow factor.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View clin's profile

clin

1070 posts in 1536 days


#42 posted 01-31-2018 10:26 PM

Drew,

If you’re selling that much, you must be doing something wrong, because why would anyone want any of that? You must be taking advantage of simple minded folk.

Those tables look great.

-- Clin

View Richard's profile

Richard

11307 posts in 3573 days


#43 posted 01-31-2018 11:03 PM


Maybe it s a preference and if it s not yours, so be it.

- AZWoody

That pretty well says it! What type of WOOD do YOU prefer to work with for Your Projects?

Oh wait, 266 days on here and NO Projects To show for it. You have also done 471 Posts. 2 that you started. This one and a Non Wood Related Post “I’m looking for a new set of Bluetooth earphones.”

By all means. Carry On!

PS: Great Looking Tables Drew!

Rick

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1441 posts in 1356 days


#44 posted 01-31-2018 11:13 PM

True observation—

The barn wood I mentioned in an earlier post that was salvaged from a tractor shed was actually wood recovered from a 19th century school house and it is mostly solid heart pine. My father in law built the shed in about 1985 after the original school collapsed while we attempted to move it. He ran out of old school house lumber and went to the saw mill and bought rough sawn SYP to finish it out. When I disassembled the tractor shed, nearly all the wood purchased in 1985 was rotten. The heart pine, which was cut in the late 1800’s, was mostly solid and could have been used to build another solid shed.

View PeteStaehling's profile

PeteStaehling

98 posts in 1660 days


#45 posted 01-31-2018 11:58 PM

I am a little puzzled by the comments suggesting barn wood usage is a recent fad. Hasn’t it been a thing for at least the last 30 or 40 years?

I am not a big fan of the usual barn wood usage, but have used a lot of reclaimed American chestnut and other lovely old growth wood. I typically mill it so, it isn’t obvious that it is barn wood.

In at least one case the outer portion of the plank had a lovely color that came from age and exposure. I jointed it as lightly as possible and made a matched pair of custom musical instruments for a customer. The plank also had really beautiful grain. Between the color and the grain it may have been the most beautiful piece of wood I have ever worked with. I managed to get all of the soundboards out of one thin resaw slice. Sadly the plank belonged to the customer and he wanted all of the remaining portion of the plank as well as all scraps. I would have loved to have had it.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2533 posts in 2338 days


#46 posted 02-01-2018 12:20 AM

Pete I would like to see some pics what you got going there sounds great. I’ve made several pieces from old growth Douglas fir my work is not rustic.
Drew I hate to tell you but your work is being copied. I’ve swear I seen the same looking tables at the pottery barn and crate and barrel. :^)

-- Aj

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7505 posts in 3908 days


#47 posted 02-01-2018 02:55 AM

There are a number of reclaimed lumber companies in Montana that provide some beautiful wood for floors, furniture, and other purposes. Most of this wood looks like wood at any commercial mill except is is older and somewhat cheaper!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 1132 days


#48 posted 02-01-2018 04:53 AM

Some people prefer reclaimed wood, some thermofoil on MDF, Some nails in glass.
Normally they understand each other and get along quite well. Sometimes someone who “does not understand” pops up and shouts out his lack of understanding , using jargon that reflects his origins. That’s OK too we are all different.


I m just not understanding this fascination with “reclaimed barn wood”. Not trying to be curmudgeonly but I just don t get it. Who cares if it s from a 100 year old barn….It s gray and looks like it s rotted worse than Sussie Jane s meth-mouth.

People are paying through the nose for the stuff , often times more than black walnut. Maybe it s just a feel-good thing that they get when can proclaim to their vegan-feminazi-solar power using-#2 in a bucket to compost their own crap-save the Wisconsin pink rhinoceros-friends.

Rotten 100 year old gray wood that once contained purchased and owned farm hands, $43/bf, come and get it!

- Gilley23


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TheFridge

10859 posts in 2026 days


#49 posted 02-01-2018 06:58 AM

Barnwood. Pallets. Distressed. Ana White. Etc

Vomit

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View pottz's profile

pottz

6718 posts in 1525 days


#50 posted 02-01-2018 04:14 PM


Maybe it s a preference and if it s not yours, so be it.

- AZWoody

That pretty well says it! What type of WOOD do YOU prefer to work with for Your Projects?

Oh wait, 266 days on here and NO Projects To show for it. You have also done 471 Posts. 2 that you started. This one and a Non Wood Related Post “I’m looking for a new set of Bluetooth earphones.”

By all means. Carry On!

PS: Great Looking Tables Drew!

Rick

- Rick

i agree rick a lot of talk but nothing to show for it.hey if ya dont like barn wood dont use it,but many here do and make very beautiful furniture from it.to each his own!maybe you could show us some of the stuff you make with the wood you do like?

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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