It’s really hard to grasp the impact our demand for wood has on the world until you’ve seen it firsthand. Thankfully, not only has social media and similar avenues heightened people’s awareness to the need for sustainable woodwork, but it’s raised the economic demand for responsibly sourced and well managed timber that discourages deforestation and preserves wood supplies for future generations. There’s some very important things to keep in mind when working with reclaimed wood, some of which we’ve listed below for woodworkers who want to add a level of eco-friendliness to their future projects.
#1. The three classes of reclaimed wood
Whilst the desire for green building is admirable, it should not be foolhardy. It’s hard to fully map the history of a reclaimed bit of wood, thus any potential treatment done to it over the years must be checked out. This had lead to the Low, Mid, and High Grading system, which provides quality health assurance whilst you’re doing your bit for the planet.
#2. The restoration process
Refinishing, restoring and reusing discarded wood is an art form all in itself. As well as individually removing broken off nails and other bits of metal through the use of a detector, reclaimed wood is often kiln-tried to stabilize it for use, milled to shed it of its old exterior and then repurposed for application. The restoration process of reclaimed wood could be a blog post in of itself, and is very worth reading up on.
#3. Its energy saving potential
The inherent strength of reused wood helps boost the already potent energy potential of it as a building material. An excellent insulator thanks to its cellular structure, timber slows down the conductivity of heat, and also brilliantly stores up carbon – all factors that get amplified when the wood is reused.
#4. It’s a potentially sturdier option
Reclaimed wood that has been sourced from old growth trees will naturally be a stronger and more reliable option for building. Since it is also drier than fresh wood, reclaimed timber is far less prone to warping or cracks, and can often end up being 40 points higher on the Janka hardness scale. Whilst it can be hard to get a shipment of reclaimed wood that’s totally uniform, it can’t be matched for sturdiness.
#5. The sourcing is hugely important
Picking the right place to get your reclaimed wood should not be a light decision. For example, it makes little sense to undo your good deed by ordering timber that’s half the world away given the environmental toll the transportation takes. Reclaimed timber can come from deconstructed buildings to river logs, and it’s up to you to ensure the source is responsible. This has always been a key factor behind Woodshop Direct’s cut-to-size wood; from our planed all round timber to our sheeting, all of it relies on suppliers and importers who adhere to PEFC and FSC guidelines.
#6. You can decide the demand for reclaimed wood
The demand for sustainable timber continues to rise, but unless carpentry professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike make reclaimed wood a central tenant of their work ethic, the potential good this practice is capable won’t truly come to pass.
For future blogs on sustainable wood and carpentry, keep an eye on the Woodshop Direct Facebook page or our tweets over at @WoodshopDirect.