There are loads of reclaimed wood stories out there, and some of them are downright incredible. One of the most attractive aspects of reclaimed wood of course is how it enables good stewardship of natural resources. It minimizes waste. Another big aspect to this is how it also ties a new interior to an historical tradition. But, some of the most incredible stories are the one which show how resilient hardwood really is under some very harsh conditions, and how suitable it is for second use afterward.
In the 1800s, before a modern network of shipping and railroads for transporting commodity goods like timber existed, a lot of these materials were transported exclusively using river systems and lakes to float the logs to where they needed to go. This is still a practice in many remote areas, of course. And many logs still find their way to the bottom of water systems. Some of the more dense logs, being as they are so heavy, are usually the ones that sink while on their journey downstream. In floating to the bottoms of rivers and lakes, the icy waters actually help to preserve the wood over long periods of time.
Flash forward to today. A trend with reclaimed wood operations has seen fit to salvage these logs, cut in the 1800s, yet planed and cut into flooring planks using modern methods today. And voila! A seasoned wood floor that adds character to interiors, where before the wood only added character to the bottom of a river bed or lake.
The innovation and imagination involved in an operation like this is truly impresssive to me. An important aspect of green building seems to be identifying sources of materials in places that are largely taken for granted or forgotten entirely. In this, I really think the creativity of building materials companies are the future for the industry, and play a big role in preserving the future in general.
Rob.Logging image courtesy of miguelb. This shot was taken in Prince Rupert, Northern British Columbia.