Wood that was cut from an old growth forest and has been aging from many-decades to centuries is a premium, diminishing resource. Not only is it rare, but also very labor intensive to re-purpose wood products for another use.
In fact, a single board gets handled an average of 15 times during our reclamation process. This creates a higher labor expense than newly harvested wood. The following are 5 tips and tricks for you to obtain your own increasingly rare pieces of quality wood products representing American history, without breaking the bank.
#1 Choose from existing inventory
At Revient, we hold a rotating stock of 1 million board feet of material under our roof at all times. What is unique with our inventory is, it is much more than standard barn wood. It is a designer’s dream to peruse through the various species and patina’s of historically significant eastern hardwoods and old growth pines. With a bit of insight into your design intention, we will gladly offer several options from existing inventory. Beyond what we have in stock, we also have reliable sources for material we can routinely get which falls in this same category as “in-stock”.
If we must source a specific order in the marketplace, this drives the cost up by trying to place a smaller special order for a material that is so individual in nature. If we are to do that, we turn into a retail/custom-customer rather than a wholesale buyer – increasing our own costs by as much as 100%
#2 Be more flexible on the patina
“Gray” Barn Wood, “Grey” Barn Wood, “Greige” Hand Hewn Timbers, “Rich Brown” Flooring – We agree, we love these in-vogue patina choices as well. However, with a bit of leeway on the patina, we are certain you will discover the spectrum is far greater than what is routinely sourced and marketed from reclaimed wood dealers.
By allowing a broader spectrum of color, you are truly honoring the wood’s heritage and character.
And not to worry – we have a very detailed sampling process, so the expectations will be very clearly understood by all parties. There will be no surprises once the order arrives. So often when there is a broader range of color, the end result is much more dynamic and rich in tone than expected.
#3 Consider other species
Particularly when the original patina is still intact, deciphering the exact species can be difficult. There are 126 commercial varieties of hardwoods in the United States, and in order to determine what is what, the end must be cut or the patina planed off. We suggest instead to order your preference of either mixed hardwoods or mixed softwoods.
#4 Opt for smaller sizes
Wide Plank Flooring and Wide Plank Barn Boards: While wide-plank boards are very attractive, they also come at a price. When re-milling antique boards, often the material must be edged in order to cut out any wain and cupping in the boards. This results in a larger volume of narrower plank boards. Narrow boards can really make a nice statement, as the various patinas will blend together, minimizing a striped effect.
Heavy Timbers: The same is true with antique timbers. Larger and longer dimensions are rarer and therefore more expensive. For example, 6x6s and 8x8s are far less expensive than 12x12s. And the price begins to exponentially increase as the lengths get beyond 25′. There are far fewer members that needed to carry such a heavy load in a barn than the more frequently found 6x6s, 8x8s, and 10x10s. When salvaging material from Industrial facilities, there tend to be a larger number of these monolithic timbers. However, they come with their own set of challenges in that they’re often difficult to handle and to salvage without damage.
#5 Design around material
By keeping your design fluid you leave your options open to a broader range of materials. Instead of designing a space and then chasing down that perfect 13 ⅞” board, try finding your material first and then tailoring your space around it. Leaving room in your design for change can mean less time in material selection and less processing costs. And you won’t have to forgo that gorgeous one-of-a-kind hewn beam for lacking an inch of width.