September 25, 2011

Preserving wood’s natural character and a little history too. In a Meat Packing District loft I built and installed a floor to ceiling cabinet wrapped in reclaimed lumber. The upper shelves were supported by bolted steel angles. The old lumber belonged to the walls of a dismantled farm house in upstate New York.

The boards were carefully selected for structural integrity, color and texture. One by one we cleaned, hand brushed and applied a clear, dull protective coat for durability to each board.  No stain or additional coloring was used in the process.

The overall roughness was smoothed over so as to make the cabinet more pleasant to the touch. Some imperfections were kept and some others were corrected in the interest of preserving the character of the piece but without being a “purist”.

Using reclaimed wood appeals to me for at least three reasons: the beauty of the patina, that only the exposure to the elements can create, preserving a bit of history, by bringing to the present something clearly made in the past and most importantly, the environmental benefits of giving a second life to these battered wood planks that otherwise would have gone to waste.

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