Where Does Reclaimed Wood Come From & How To Care For It?

Man walking on wooden railway in the middle of a forest

Closeup of dark wooden house with white painted windows and greenery

Reclaimed wood furniture is a phrase you will often see and not just across our website but others too. When manufacturers, retailers and suppliers talk of ‘reclaimed wood’ what are they referring too? And, when you invest in a piece of stylish and beautiful reclaimed wood furniture, such as a reclaimed wood desk, how do you care for it so that it gives you many years of service and joy? These are questions we hear all the time and love answering!

Reclaimed wood is timber that has been given a new lease of life, serving another purpose to the one that it had done previously. Most reclaimed wood furniture is hardwood, a timber from slow-growing trees such as oak.

Hardwood is very dense and strong, which is why it was favoured for all kinds of different purposes from furniture to wooden beams that formed part of the structure of a property. But when these items and structures are no longer required, the wood was often either thrown on landfill, used as firewood, or even left to rot.

Reclaimed oak dining table with grey finish and dark grey velvet dining chairs, a curved window mirror and a grey pendant light

As you can imagine, a lot of these options are wasteful as hardwoods have a lot more to offer, despite their age. In fact, it’s the age that gives it a uniqueness that new wood simply can’t compete with. With assessment as to its inner strength and skilled crafting, what was once an English oak beam can become a stunning and reclaimed wood oak dining table, like our Hoxton Oak Farmhouse Dining Table, that will last a lifetime.

Dark reclaimed beam bed and bedside table, with navy blue and grey duvet covers and blankets and greenery

And it’s not just dining tables either. Reclaimed wood can be used for all kinds of pieces, from home office desks to display units, drinks and coffee table with storage, even beds like the Beam Henley Reclaimed Wood Bed.

Where is reclaimed wood found?

Man walking on wooden railway in the middle of the forest

As we’ve already touched on, wood is found in many older structures. Today, in modern builds, the frame tends to be made of steel with concrete infills, a fast and efficient way of building. However, old industrial buildings will often have wooden beams, for example, and wood is often reclaimed as railway sleepers, in old barns and factories. Even old hardwood floorboards have a new role to play too!

Other reclaimed materials

Reclaimed wood desk with white steel frame and decorative items on top

Other materials can also be reclaimed and reused in furniture, including scaffolding boards. Used to provide a platform to safely climb up tall buildings in need of repair and similar projects, these heavyweight planks of wood have a working life of approximately 25 years. Although no longer used by scaffolders, it is possible to re-use these boards for tables, chairs and an office table, such as our Oldman industrial desk.

How to look after reclaimed wood furniture?

Tough and hardy it may be, but your reclaimed wood shelves, dining table, coffee table, office desk and so on will need a little care from time to time.

As do most special pieces of furniture, it appreciates being kept clean, but a simple wipe with a soft cloth is all that is needed. Some reclaimed wood items are coated with oil or varnish to nourish the wood, so heavy scrubbing would wear this away.

You can also use coasters for hot drinks and dishes on your reclaimed wood dining table to prevent ring marks in the varnish or stain, but because of the natural imperfections of the wood, further scuffs only add to its beauty.

It’s worth bearing in mind, that as a natural product, wood will ‘breathe’. Wood reacts to moisture in the air. For example, during warm months there tends to be higher humidity which can cause wood to expand, but in cold weather, wood can contract. And it will continue to do this even in the confines of your home.

Reclaimed wood furniture adds a unique character and warmth to a home. And with the hidden story behind it, it has a wonderful hint of romance that will be loved for years to come.