Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reclaimed Lumber

Introducing...My obsession.

Reclaimed Lumber
Warning: Love of reclaimed lumber is considered highly contagious...

I have been slightly obsessed with reclaimed lumber--especially when used as furniture tops and floors--since Joe built my kitchen island last year:

Reclaimed or antique lumber has become a really popular option in recent years because  you can take a brand spankin' new house, put in antique wood floors or countertops, and it magically gives the house a sense of history.

So when I brought home this little beauty I was dreaming of putting a reclaimed lumber top on it.

My lumber source:

These lovely (yes, see the potential?) pallets were given to us by a friend, and until now I had only used the lumber from them in as-is condition.  For example, Joe and I made this work table with the lumber a few months ago:

As much as I love the wood without planing it down, I was longing to see what was under all that aged wood.  So I pried off enough boards from one of the (oak!) pallets to make a top and did many fancy things to it.  Quickly, this is what I did:

1. Take out nails so I don't ruin Joe's tools (this is very important!)
2.  Run lumber through the joiner (basically, it makes the sides straight and planes it down)
3.  Finish squaring it up on the table saw.
4.  Using a "Biscuit Joiner" make slits on each side of the boards.  
5.  Insert "biscuits" (little slivers of wood) into the slots with lots of glue.  These form a really strong joint and keep the tabletop together.
6.  Sand down top
7.  Fill in any nail holes or other knots and such with a clear 5-minute epoxy
8.  Sand down epoxy
9.  Seal top with three layers of polyurethane!

And you're done!  Sounds simple, right?  Well, it took a long time.  But it was worth it.

After all of that complicated stuff I started painting the cupboard.

First, I primed it with my Zinsser FastPrime2.  Then, I painted it with a dark green...you'll see why in a minute.  Next, I painted it a warm cream color.

I wanted the age of the top to be complimented with the style of cupboard, so I patina'd the edges.  This is a really simple process.  Take a piece of sandpaper and just run it along the edge of your piece.  Work on it until you get the look you want--pay close attention to corners and don't push too hard.  This is why I painted the piece green first. Having that dark color underneath creates a really small dark outline around the places where you sand it down.  It's not very noticeable, but it helps give the aged areas an extra dimension. 

Ooh, pretty.  And the Reveal!

Ladies & Gentlemen, my very own reclaimed oak topped cupboard:


See what beautiful things are hiding in our wood piles?  
If there was something that would convince me to become a dumpster diver, this would be it.

To see some more beautiful reclaimed lumber, check out these sites:

(these guys are my favorite!)

(They have a very helpful explanation of old-growth timber & reclaimed lumber)

(Pretty Pictures)

These are just a few of the many reclaimed lumber companies out there.  
Hopefully it's enough to hook you on reclaimed lumber so I can have some company in my "addicted to reclaimed lumber anonymous" group.

Happy Tuesday!

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