The onset of the Gold Rush in California in 1848 brought thousands of prospective people to the state, hastily setting up structures and settlements in short periods of time. Looking up at the massive redwood trees foresting Northern California, the gold prospectors must have thought they struck gold in terms of building material!
Sawmill Oak is sourced in the eastern and midwest regions of the U.S. from structures that have outlived their usefulness and are slated for demolition or deconstruction. Agricultural buildings, like barns and outbuildings, are a primary source of domestic hardwoods, as well as factories, warehouses and other structures.
Anthology Woods is delighted to share photos of the recently completed Tavolata Restaurant in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
Anthology Woods is excited to share photos of this re-built guest cottage in Ashland, Oregon filled with 100 year old reclaimed wood re-used from the original structure.
When an Ashland couple contacted Coleman Creek Construction to re-build the cozy guest cottage adjoining their southern Oregon residence, it was observed that some of the existing wood in the structure might be re-usable. A visit from Anthology Woods confirmed a considerable quantity of wood could be reclaimed, re-milled, and truly reincarnated for another life in the new structure! Michael Hodgin of Coleman Creek saw to the careful deconstruction of the vintage structure circa 1900 and brought it to Anthology Woods where the task of removing metals began. After metal removal, the wood was cut to a consistent 5" wide plank retaining the original antique rustic aged patina -- a unique wood look earned only through age and exposure.
The reclaimed wood was fastened to the walls and the homeowners chose to paint a portion of it white to brighten the interior - retaining the naturally weathered face on a feature wall that runs continuous through two levels & into a vaulted ceiling. The soft natural texture of reclaimed wood both warms the space and absorbs more sound than sheet-rocked walls would.
Coleman Creek also created reclaimed wood floating shelves from old joists in the building, to reside in the kitchen & bathroom. A sliding barn door provides access to the bathroom, and was also custom-built from salvaged wood in the project.
Finally, a storage loft was created in the vaulted ceiling, for which reclaimed Douglas Fir beam lumber was sourced from Anthology Woods. The large reclaimed beams serve both an aesthetic and structural purpose upstairs, and enclose a comfortable sleeping space below.
This charming and light-filled space was once a dilapidated structure, and now provides a restful guest house that utilizes recycled materials from the original building!
What is the best finish to use on your weathered reclaimed wood wall cladding? 3 options to get the look you want.
With some frequency, the Anthology Woods team is asked about finish options and advice for finishing rustic and weathered reclaimed wood. We're happy to help.
You've heard that old saying “often the best solution is the most simple option” and it is true here: weathered reclaimed wood-- the planks with a little (or a lot) of natural patina from years of exposure and previous use-- is often at its best when it is unfinished.
But the real answer to the question of which finish to use on rustic-style reclaimed wood is:
Depending on your application and your aesthetic goals, Oil and Poly finishes may be good options for you as well. Here is a little info to help you decide which finish (or lack thereof) might be best for your reclaimed wood, depending on your goals. Feel free to contact us for guidance specific to the look you want to create.
Option 1: Leave your Reclaimed Wood unfinished, if:
You want a natural look, soft/lighter colors with muted qualities
You are comfortable with the idea of your old wood continuing to patina (this is generally an very slow process on most indoor wall/ceiling applications). Grey Medley, Pela Teak, Northwest Blend, Sawmill Oak and Smokehouse Blend all look great without a drop of finish.
We recommend, to be a little more touch-friendly, a light scuffing with sandpaper to release any loose fibers for many applications. For interior wall cladding applications you may sand it as little or as much as you are comfortable with (many people install without any sanding, and it is completely up to you). Take care – the more you sand, the more you can change the look.
Option 2: Finish your Weathered Wood with Poly, if:
You want a protective barrier over the wood; sealing the surface
You are comfortable with a little less natural look in exchange for a coating over the wood
You are interested in homogenizing color a little (this generally lends a darkening, brownish tint to most natural patina products – but every unique plank of wood, with its unique story, is different). Don't expect poly to make everything look the same - it merely puts a consistent layer over all of it - so you are looking at everything through the same "lens."
Our favorite poly product to use on weathered wood is Bona Naturale (developed for a natural look on wood flooring). It is low-VOC and while it darkens the wood, we’ve found that it darkens it less than other products we’ve worked with. It has a velvety touch and a matte look. Please talk to us if you’d like more information.
Option 3: Apply and Oil Finish to your Reclaimed Wall Paneling, if:
You want to highlight contrasts in the color and character
You desire maximizing deep, rich colors
You are comfortable with occasional light maintenance to keep it looking great
There are a number of low- and zero-VOC products available including Rubio Monocoat and AFM Naturals. Maintenance is a breeze because it doesn’t require sanding – just re-touching with oil when it needs it (and you can just freshen up the areas that need it – not the whole thing). Rubio Monocoat has a variety of color-tinted oils available, if you’d like to play with color. Be advised – given the many tiny fibers on the surface of weathered wood, it may take more oil to cover than finely-sanded wood.
For more info on how oil and poly finishes can effect the look of reclaimed wood and why, check out our blog on the topic at this link.
Regardless of what finish you select, or if you leave your wall paneling unfinished, enjoy embracing the natural character and variation as clues to the story of the wood. You carry its legacy to a second life when you choose reclaimed wood – and you have something truly one-of-a-kind!
For wood-related questions and assistance selecting healthy, sustainable, and LEED-elgible wood flooring and cladding for your project, please reach out to our helpful staff.
For more helpful & relevant info to enhance your success using wood, and new Anthology Woods product releases, hook up with us on your favorite social network (we're very social...see all those icons at the bottom of this page...)