Why reclaimed wood is generating intense interest
By Tony LorenZ Global chief marketing officer Havwoods
RECLAIMED wood is generating immense interest, no doubt a combination of its intensely interesting appearance and ecologically sound credentials.
But traditional sources of reclaimed timber can be a risky specification since supplies are often unreliable and the lack of uniformity makes installation a lengthier, and therefore costlier process, as well as contributing to high levels of wastage.
Havwoods’ reclaimed timbers are sourced from various specialist mills and include solid and engineered products, none of which suffer such problems. All are planed, profiled and sanded using 21st century production techniques so they may be confidently specified for any residential or commercial application.
As a general rule – and for obvious reasons – the more processes involved in producing a finished board, the greater the cost. But, with reclaimed timber, the extent of this work is exacerbated by the initial search for suitable material.
Our Reclaimed Barn Oak, together with Island, Beck, Rush, Rill, all started life more than 300 years ago as saplings in the great oak forests of North America. When the trees reached maturity they were cut down, by hand, and dragged by horse to the rivers; logging was a winter operation since snow provided lubrication, making transportation easier.
The logs were floated downstream to the sawmills, water-powered of course, and production was small – probably about 500 planks a day. Eventually the planks would be bought by settlers and the entire community would help use them to build barns, farms, houses and stores.
Now the exodus has reversed, and as people move back into the cities the old wooden buildings are falling into disrepair. They’re salvaged and lovingly repaired, by hand, by skilled craftsmen, and turned into engineered planks to begin their life for a third time.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic, our Venetian Lagoon Oak planks and blocks have spent many decades beneath Venetian waters as mooring posts and ‘briccola’ (groups of poles which indicate the waterways), hence their incredible colouration and distinctive markings, which are created by the mineral deposits in the water and a particular species of lagoon mollusk.
On average, just 150 of these posts are replaced annually. Of course, all our recl
aimed products in our Relik and Vertical ranges have their own story to tell.
The Organic Painted Pine planks and blocks wear the remnants of their original paintwork, whereas the more contemporary, painted products are finished by craftsmen and women who’ve honed their skill in encaustic painting on the icons found in Eastern Orthodox churches.
Our reclaimed solid oaks hail from the Maramures region of northern Transylvania, an area that has a rich tradition in wooden buildings and where massive, load-bearing timbers from old barns and houses, now scheduled for demolition, are salvaged.
But, no matter their origin, all are repaired and renovated with tremendous skill, then planed, profiled and sanded using 21st century production techniques to ensure that the finished board, solid or engineered, may wear the patina of past experience on its face.
But the bulk of the Havwoods’ Relik range is made up of pre-finished engineered products. Engineering makes better use of the finite resources of timber which is reclaimed from barns, quays, docks, etc, and results in commercially viable, consistently sized boards which are easy to fit and so stable they may even be used over underfloor heating.
And if you want something which looks the part yet is ultra-tough, the engineered reproduction reclaimed ’weathered’ planks provide the optimum solution, since the processes involved in creating this texturing actually strips out the soft tissues between the grain.