Reclaimed Oak

Oil vs. Poly: How finish effects the look of your reclaimed wood

When sampling reclaimed wood, it is important to consider how the finish will influence the color, depth, and tone of your selection.

Reclaimed wood is unique, and naturally weathered and aged patina reclaimed wood is even more unique (in the "no two pieces are exactly the same" sort of way).  This is the character that speaks to our soul and whispers about the rich history that the wood has lived through.  This is also the character that influences finish in a way unique to reclaimed wood.

Let's start by looking at a non-patina product, Anthology Wood's Heritage Oak reclaimed flooring and wall cladding.  This is fully surfaced on the front face, and is a blend of Red and White Oak.  some checking and oxide stains are present, but overall the surface to receive finish is quite smooth.  On the left is Heritage Oak reclaimed flooring with a poly finish (low sheen) and on the right is the same product with an oil finish. We see the oil is much warmer and emphasizes depth in the color of the wood.  It is also slightly darker.  If you have experience working with wood, this is about what you'd expect.

Heritage Oak with Poly Finish

Heritage Oak with Poly Finish

Heritage Oak with Oil Finish

Heritage Oak with Oil Finish

Now let's look at a product with surface patina: Sawmill Oak.  To share even more about its nature, we've split the boards so you can see a single piece of wood unfinished, and then the same board with the respective finish.  Poly finish is applied to the top half of the 3 boards on the left (no finish on the bottom half) and Oil finish is applied to the top half of the 3 boards on the right, below:

Sawmill Oak: Bottom half unfinished, top half finished with clear low sheen poly.

Sawmill Oak: Bottom half unfinished, top half finished with clear low sheen poly.

Sawmill Oak: Bottom half unfinished, top half finished with clear natural oil.

Sawmill Oak: Bottom half unfinished, top half finished with clear natural oil.

On a product with surface patina, the difference in color and darkness with a poly finish is still minimal, but the the alteration of appearance with an oil finish is much more dramatic!!  This is due, at least in part, to the textured surface of a naturally weathered or naturally patina product.  The texture on the surface means more total surface area and more available to be saturated by the oil finish.

If you are considering purchasing a naturally weathered or aged surface patina product, please ask us to sample it with the finish you'll be ultimately applying (unless you plan to leave it unfinished), so you can get an accurate representation of color, tone, and character.  This applies to Grey Medley, Pela Teak, Sawmill Oak, and Northwest Blend to name a few.

Want to know more about Oil vs. Poly finish, or Woodology in general?  Please check out our learn section or connect with one of our helpful experts at 541-227-5238 or info@anthologywoods.com.

The Elusive Gray - Reclaimed Wood Wall Cladding

Weathered Gray Wood Wall

Weathered Gray Wood Wall

At Anthology Woods our clients are frequently looking for a “gray-weathered” reclaimed wood look. I have to admit, it is really striking to see the silver/gray shimmering tone on an accent wall.  Depending on how the light hits it, a gray weathered wood wall can change colors and have an almost luminescent sheen at certain angles.  Truly marvelous!

Distinctive Grain Patterns Make This Unique

Distinctive Grain Patterns Make This Unique

However, over years of experimentation with different finish products and techniques, we have discovered that there is really no gray finish that can mimic what mother nature does best.  We have come close, and others may tell you they have perfected it…but if you compare products, you will find that natural weathering is in a class by itself.  And further, depending on the species of wood, distinctive surface character develops in the weathered grain lending depth and variation to color and texture which simply cannot be replicated.  Add in the natural oxide stains, fastener holes and surface checking and you have a truly distinctive and one of a kind aged patina product.

We recently completed a project using a combination of weathered tropical hardwoods sourced from two different decks slated for demolition.  While we are frequently able to source weathered barn boards of fir, pine, oak, and other domestic species, the customer was particularly interested in these recycled tropical boards because of their “wild” swirling grain.  After some sanding and buffing treatments to knock-down the rough edges, smooth the boards out and clean away debris and dirt, we added a square channel reveal.  The resulting effect was particularly stunning in their modern home installation.

Ready For Installation!

Ready For Installation!

This is the type of custom reclaimed wood project that Anthology Woods specializes in.  Check out our Grey Medley and NW Blend wall cladding products.  We offer a variety of weathered barn boards in reclaimed oak, douglas fir, cedar, pine, teak and occasional special inventories of exotic species like the recycled weathered Purple Heart and Mahogany seen in these photos.  We still have a small inventory of this stock remaining.  Inquire for details.