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Antique Wood

If you are looking for the mellow patina of antique wood in your home, companies that specialize in recycling old wood may be a source for the millwork, flooring, stairs, fire place mantles, beams, kitchen counters, cabinets or even furniture that you wish to install. These companies get their wood from buildings that are being demolished or by rescuing timbers that sank in rivers and bays many years ago. You can buy this wood either in its original condition or after it has been sawn and/or milled into lumber ready for construction. The antique woods that are available include heart pine, Douglas fir, cypress, oak, hemlock, chestnut, and elm. You can buy antique wood from companies that store it in large warehouses or you can order it by sending them your specifications.

If you are thinking of purchasing antique wood, consider the following:

  • Look for companies that properly store and kiln dry their wood before milling it to avoid shrinking and buckling after installation. The wood should also have been treated for bugs before it is shipped.
  • Make sure that the wood has been inspected for defects that can impair its structural integrity. Precise milling and trimming of waste will prevent wood that is too narrow or thin from being included in your purchase.
  • Check to see if the company has enough of the antique wood you want for your project. Lots of wood will vary according to the source, and it will often be difficult for the company to get more of the same. The age, conditions it was exposed to, and density of the wood will affect any finish that is applied to it, making matches from different sources sometimes almost impossible.
  • Antique wood can be used to achieve many looks, from the rustic feel of old barn siding to the refined finishes of formal 18th and 19th century houses. If you are restoring

    an old building and want an accurate historic feeling, you should research what woods would have been originally used.

Remember that choosing antique wood does not involve cutting down new trees but is instead an environmentally good use for timber that might otherwise be disposed of.

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