pete@commonwoodco.com - 0414834804 - Sydney, Australia

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Why Reclaimed?

Updated: Jul 26, 2018


With as much as 80% of the world’s forests destroyed or irreparably damaged and Australia’s land clearing rate once again among the highest in the world, it has never been more important for us to recycle and reuse timber. One of our closest neighbours Indonesia got awarded the Guinness World Record you don’t want to own - the country with the fastest rate of forest destruction on the planet, which at the time was around 300 football fields every hour!!


By no means am I a tree hugging ‘Greeny’ but I think it is very important to look after what we have here in Australia. I love the bush. I grew up spending school holidays at mates’ farms. Our country is beautiful. When I started this endeavour into the world of wood I wanted to ensure that I didn’t add to the deforestation, however small my impact would be, of Australia.


Along with the environmental side of deciding to only use reclaimed timber, personally I think the old timber just flat out looks better. There is no substitute for 100 years of living. The knowledge gained in 100 years is unimaginable. As we grow older we take on bits and pieces, gain experience and sometimes look a little more weathered from years of exposure to the elements. Reclaimed wood is the same. It takes on a different form after years of holding up ceilings, floors and walls. Old rusty nails stain the timber. The old style saw mills leave their mark with deep saw marks.


The timber that was used in a lot of houses up until about 40 years ago is what’s known as ‘old growth’. Old-growth timber is from old, slow growing trees. Originally used for its anti-rot properties old growth timber is also much stronger, termite resistant and far more stable than the stuff you buy in Bunnings with your snag on a Sunday. The difference between old-growth reclaimed Douglas Fir and new-growth everyday pine can be seen below. As far as being termite-resistant, termites will eat their way through anything but they much prefer soft, moist timber.


Growth ring difference - old vs new

It’s more than likely that you are surrounded by old growth timber in your walls. If you’re planning some renovations, before you throw that timber out, drop me a line and let’s make you a coffee table or a desk out of the old timber so you keep a piece of the old house with you.


The final obvious reason for choosing reclaimed is its price. You would be amazed what some people are basically giving away. Where the cost does lie is in the work that I need to put in to get a piece of old timber to a point where it can be used in a piece of furniture or chopping board etc. It is very rewarding working on a piece of timber and revealing its beauty under all the dust and rusty nails.


Old growth Douglas Fir table - 'Barrington'


Next Week – Growing Up

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