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DIY: Reclaiming Your Wood to New Definitions

Every day we are creating history. What we do today may make it in the books next year. We set trends, we invent new technology, and we make strides each second towards a bright new future. And while we are courageously shaping the future it is the past that has formed and made us to be whom and what we are today. It’s opened doors to endless opportunities so we have a choice to repeat history or carve new futures.

And if we are creating history as we live in our modern homes watching futuristic films on our mind boggling gesture controlled TV’s we can stay grounded with a piece of the past.

Taking something that by looks has no value, no appeal and peeling back the layers to find a real gem we can keep history alive and continue a saga with a new contemporary cover.

An amazing and breathtaking way to commemorate history is reclamation of wood. Claiming a stake of the old and refurbishing it to your tastes and usability. So prepare your palms for some splinters guys and gals … we’re reclaiming wood.

Step One: Acquisition

Finding wood that can go another round in life and be lived upon by a new generation can be tricky depending where you live. One of the best and common venues that have some of the most organic materials is an old barn. In pursuit of new agriculture advances barns made out of wood don’t fit that equation. So post an ad on a local or national searchable classifieds letting the seller know there is a buyer interested in lumber.

Remodelers are also another source for high quality virgin timber. Remodeling is like a form of recycling: You take a preexisting format and give it a dressy makeover, often using materials that are green based. So it’s remodelers that have connections to dilapidated structures. Start collecting business cards!

Step Two: As Is

This isn’t a Lumber liquidator. Your wood isn’t going to be even formed slabs that are sanded and treated to perfection. They’ll still carry the bruises and scars of their origins and may even bear the tragic knife wound letterings of Zak loves Chloe, and I Was Here. They are sold or taken as is. Nails, screws, splints and other forms of all-clinging tentacles are part of your new reclaimable beam.

Carefully pull out every nail. They may be rusty, bent and stubbornly clinging to their mate so you want to make sure you are withdrawing the entire nail. If you are unable to do this you can perform a surgical procedure with your Dremmel tool to angle off the opposing sharp nail. Oh, and you might want to be up to date on your tetanus shot!

Step Three: Aesthetics

At this point you are ready to cut it down to your desired size. Countertop, coffee table, bench, shelving, you can slice it down to slots that can be glued together with high performance wood glue. But first you need to cleanse and sand. The past years have not been kind to the wood. Like a sponge it has harbored a lifetime of collections that need to be disposed of so that the coming years can get it’s own wear and tear worked in its refined surface.

Your planed down remnants should still have the charm and character of it pre-reclaimed state but post-claim will look stunning and is almost ready to be accepted in your home.

Step Four: Abracadabra…It’s Reclaimed

There are few if any occasions in life where a stain is a good thing. How many hours have we spent hunched over on our knees, nose to the ground intently watching to see if the Nutella/Red Wine combo stain has shrunk in diameter or tone yet? Our reclaimed wood, however would bathe in stain if we permitted. Using a basic paintbrush give your ancient baby a warm coat of stain followed by a second coat if needed. Watch as it transforms from a barn door into a intricate slab of lumber with one of a kind knots that can’t be found elsewhere.

You know have a right to question who said history was boring? Who said there was no application to present day? Who said the wood that made your new furniture piece was worthless? Reclaimed wood proves right on so many accounts. Cheers to the next ten years of your wood. May you and it have a wonderful long-lived existence together!

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