Tips for Choosing Reclaimed Wood

It has become extremely popular in recent years to turn reclaimed wood into brand new projects. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been used in previous building or woodworking projects, and it’s often found at recycling centers, at the junkyard, from friends’ properties or on Craigslist.

Of course, with the explosion in popularity of reclaimed wood, there are plenty of opportunists trying to capitalize on the trend by selling reclaimed lumber that is of low quality. With this in mind, here are some tips from a wood store in Franklin County, MA to help you choose reclaimed wood that will work well for your next project:

  • Make sure the wood is dry and tight: Wood that is soggy or degrading is going to be extremely difficult to work with and will not last long in whatever application you have in mind. Before you purchase any type of reclaimed wood, make sure it is going to be capable of working with. If there are splits or cracks, check to see if they’re small enough to either fill with epoxy or use as is so you don’t have to worry about its structural integrity. Also check to make sure there are no signs of rot.
  • Make sure the wood is stable: Along the same lines, you should only choose wood that looks as though it will be stable for use. Any soft spots, rot or moldy patches could indicate structural weakness. So too could sawdust, which might indicate the presence of termites or other wood-eating insects. In general, if the outside looks like it’s structurally sound, the inside will be too.
  • Keep aesthetics in mind: Always remember the type of project you’re making and what you want it to look like. If you want an antique look for your project, you’ll want more rough-sawn wood. However, if you want a project that looks a little more polished and fancy, you will probably want wood that has been worn smoother, such as reclaimed wood from old hardwood floors.
  • Purchase from trustworthy distributors: While you might be able to find a great deal on Craigslist or in a classified ad, you should also understand that there’s always an element of risk that comes with doing business with people whose qualifications and expertise you can’t verify. You’re going to have a greater guarantee of quality wood when working with a company that specializes in recycling and upcycling wood.
  • Consider paint safety: If you’re using particularly old reclaimed wood that has paint on it, keep in mind that that paint could have lead in it. If you’re going to sand it down, make sure you wear a mask and add a HEPA filter to your sander to catch any dust that comes off of it. But in general, your best bet is to not use the material at all if there’s any chance that the paint has lead in it.

For more tips about purchasing and using reclaimed wood, contact a wood store in Franklin County, MA.