The fashion for making furniture and decorative items out of reclaimed wood is not new and in the USA skilled craftsmen and furniture makers have long recognised the value in lumber from old barns as a beautiful and recycled material from which to create new objects of beauty.
The warm, rich pattern of natural wood makes it a popular material and the first choice amongst many home-owners who want to invite a little nature back into the home. Recycled wood is commonly used to create a genuinely antique look in flooring, but more recently reclaimed wood has been used to create entire, unique items of furniture.
Reclaimed barn wood furniture has a particular appeal because of the romance associated with old barn buildings. In America especially barns are built with a style and character that is all their own, bringing to mind the pioneer lifestyle with ranches, cowboys and wide-open spaces. Barn wood furniture particularly appeals to people who are looking for a unique and original design, something that demonstrates the skills of a master craftsman, in many cases skills that are long lost in these days of mass production and mechanisation.
Quite apart from the solid, rustic presence that pieces of furniture crafted from recycled barn wood have, its further appeal lies in the fact that something new and beautiful has been created from something old and otherwise worthless. As new barns are built and old ones torn down the wood would be wasted if it wasn`t re-crafted into something else.
The reclaimed wood is first cleaned through pressure washing to remove any debris or dirt or paint from the surface, then treated with an insecticide specially formulated for wood to kill any pests. Once any metal is removed from the wood, including nails, screws, or other types of wood fasteners, the wood is cut to the desired size and the surface milled and planed to create a smooth finish.
The wood is often left in its natural state to allow the grain and inner beauty of the wood to shine through as its own form of decorative art in pieces of furniture. It can, however, be painted, stained or varnished to suit individual tastes and to fit with existing decor if a painted finish would be more suitable.
Barn wood is refashioned into all kinds of furniture, including styles for the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen, offices and studies and anywhere else in the house. The type of styles available depend on the natural style and brand of the individual craftsmen, but can range from very plain, boxy styles to ornately decorative, carved items.
In addition to furniture items, barn wood is also very often crafted into decorative items such as picture frames, mirror frames, even vases and lamp stands. It can also be used to great effect as wood panelling to give an instantly antique and regal grandeur to a room. If floor-to-ceiling wood panelling would be too much, you could consider adding it just below the dado rail to give a half panelled look.
Ornate mantles, rustic, weathered outdoor tables and chairs are other items commonly made from reclaimed barn wood, along with smaller items of furniture such as a hall stand or a nest of tables.