Furniture made from reclaimed wood is special in many ways. The overall feel, look and energy of a reclaimed piece is different than a new build, as the wood carries its own history and narrative, adding character to the finished piece. It often has a vintage, retro or antique look, giving your home a unique style and feel that you just can’t get with mass-produced new furniture, which can look sterile and impersonal. Whether you are talking about a reclaimed wooden table, countertop, bed or even wooden flooring, wood that has already been used can give a sense of homeliness, permanence and durability. Here are the three main reasons you should choose reclaimed wood for your next piece of furniture.
Reclaimed wood is often long-lasting compared to newer, mass-produced pieces. The first use of the wood before it was reclaimed can be seen as a kind of extended “road test” of the wood’s strength and durability –weak wood that has failed or warped in its original context will not be used in reclaimed furniture. So, the process of reclaiming also involves weeding out the weaker materials, or wood that has had problems with its appearance or structural integrity. New wood used in furniture has not been tested in this way, so it is always possible that imperfections, flaws or areas of weakness could show up in the new furniture over time. Reclaimed wood, though, has already stood the test of time — it has been proven to be strong and durable, and fit for its purpose.
Using reclaimed wood from a vintage or antique source also creates the possibility of finding some wood that is unique in its finish or styling. In past decades and centuries, much more woodworking was done by hand rather than by machine, and much more wooden furniture was made domestically rather than in foreign factories. A reclaimed piece of wood may have a higher level of craftsmanship, or be worked and finished in designs and styles that are no longer available – this is well evidenced when you see the latest dining room tables made out of reclaimed wood by artisans, which are of a much higher quality than any you’d find at a box store.
Re-using existing wood for new furniture is also eco-friendly. Old and obsolete wood and furniture does not need to be disposed of through landfill or other services if it can be used in a new piece of furniture. This reduces the burden of waste disposal – as using reclaimed wood is a form of recycling – you are also saving resources on the supply side — no new trees will have to be cut down and processed to make new-wood furniture if you choose a reclaimed piece instead. This means less deforestation, and less logging, both of which have potentially negative environmental consequences. The carbon footprint of the furniture may also be lower because reclaimed wood can be sourced and used locally; the wood does not have to travel from logging to processing to manufacture and finishing. All this travel burns fuel and resources, with negative impacts on the climate and environment.
Overall, reclaimed wood furniture is something you can feel good about as you use and enjoy it.