There is much more involved in reclaiming lumber, than just pulling boards off old barns. First, find a barn, either through referrals from previous clients or by scouring the countryside and knocking on doors. We then meet with the owners of a prospective project to explore the history of the structure and to document its provenance. Next Lucas, Jim, and Mike will walk through the barn to determine exactly what kind of lumber is in it and develop a battle plan to efficiently dismantle it. We determine the labor, tool and machinery needs and establish a time schedule for the crew led by Travis and Nathan to begin disassembly. All the material is first sorted into stacks of hard and soft wood and de-nailed. (Let’s pause for a few words about de-nailing. It’s one of the most critical tasks and maybe the least enjoyable. But one missed nail can turn an expensive bit into scrap metal.) The salvaged boards have any jagged edges squared and are scaled to the nearest lineal foot. Lumber, beams, and siding are then stickered and palletized and are now ready to be taken to the shop, where they are separated by distinct species.
A common misconception is if the wood is old it’s dry. That is not always the case. After being in the elements for 100 years the wood will accumulate moisture and it must be sent to a kiln to be dried. There also may be assorted bugs and worms who have been residing in the wood. They will need to be evicted through the drying process so they don’t relocate to your new home! After all these processes, which can take up to 45 days, the lumber is now dry, detailed, graded by species and color, and arranged into lineal and square footage ready for its new use.