Sign of the times

Reclaimed wood came to the market to meet today’s ever-growing need for sustainable and eco-friendly homes and businesses. The wood's beauty can be attributed to the passage of time and is sourced and salvaged from abandoned structures, old homes, commercial buildings, barns and railroad ties.

The wood can range from 1 to over 400 years old, and comes predominantly from the USA, France, and from the industrial north of England. When it is over 100 years old, it falls under the Antique classification. This wood is particularly suitable for high-traffic areas, due its tight grain, which makes it resistant and hard-wearing. Any species of wood can be reclaimed and reused, but at Unikt Golv we’ve chosen oak due to its versatility in terms of finish and colouring.

When considering reclaimed wood as an option in your home, it is important to understand that there are various grades, and that it comes from different time periods and backgrounds. In particular, remember that when you order reclaimed wood it is essential to check the quantity available for the delivery date, because there may not be sufficient in the batch ordered for a project. And a different batch will contain different wood.

Besides the beautifully rustic character, reclaimed wood lends to any building, modern or traditional, commercial or private; its ecological benefit is clear. One only has to think of the environmental impact of mass forestation throughout the world, to know that this is a great contribution to the future of our planet.

Coupled with this social responsibility is the desire for the authenticity of reclaimed wood that tells a story and has a history. Your kitchen floor could have once been the walls of a French railway station or your office wall cladding, the beams from a barn or a warehouse.

Above are a series of photos that we recently got from our antique supplier in France, where a 1900 industrial site was gutted for re-development. The building was a French textile mill that specialised in the manufacture of woollen textiles and French military uniforms.

On the first site visit, while evaluating the floors, the inspectors had to walk through large rooms with very low ceilings which resembled walking below decks in an old sailing ship. These would have been the rooms where the garments were made - the classic ‘sweat shops’ of the Industrial Revolution.

Despite the obvious dirt and dust, it was quickly revealed that the thick oak boards had a fantastic patina with their classic greyish antique oak colour. And today, the resulting thousands of square metres of antique oak floorboards are being used by architects and designers on top quality projects as far abroad as Australia.

Some boards feature the age-old pre-Industrial Revolution tool marks of pit-sawing by hand. Others feature the marks of having been band-sawn, and the rest featured the marks of circular sawing. For re-sale the value of antique floorboards which have pit-sawn and/or adze tool marks have a higher value for re-use on historical projects where modern tool marks would be anachronistic.

#reclaimedoak #antiquefrench #sustainable

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