When I think about reclaimed oak, my mind goes immediately to Victorian Era mansions with all that glorious paneling and dark floors. Even the mantels, bookcases and trims were exquisitely crafted. The other thing that comes to mind is the very elaborate Catholic churches in the area I live in. I cannot imagine the hours of work that went into the woodwork in even the most humble of these churches. The old oak floors have carpet runners now, but the beauty of the floors shines through, worn though they are. The pews lovingly cared for by some of the cleaning women of the parish smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap. These churches have been around since the turn of the century and I cannot say I like the more modern ones. They seem stark in comparison.
I live in upstate New York and in the Saratoga area as well as all over the capital district; there are many beautiful old homes. Today we would call them mansions and unfortunately many have been converted into apartments. I am happy to see that the woodwork remains intact in many of them and is a good selling point to potential tenants. An entire warehouse complex has been renovated in a nearby town and the townhouses feature the worn reclaimed oak floors of the original factory.
Reclaimed oak is not always dark in color. White oak is much lighter and makes beautiful cabinets and furniture. Most of the reclaimed oak for sale today is salvaged from old buildings. The beams, planks, and millwork are reused in new construction or restoration projects as well as in the construction of furniture. Old oak flooring is much in demand for its beauty and durability.
Many architectural salvage companies hold live and online auctions for purchase of reclaimed wood and other salvaged items. Most of them have catalogs and there are countless sources online for reclaimed oak, pine, and other wood. Many furniture makers who used reclaimed wood also have web sites where you can browse for your treasure.
You have only to visit an older section of your area to see what beauty lies in old houses, churches, and even municipal buildings. It would cost millions of dollars in today’s money to recreate the woodwork and floors. One of these days I hope to achieve my dream of an oak paneled library and if I do; I’ll be sure to use reclaimed oak for the floors and bookshelves.
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