In the world of furniture what does reclaimed actually mean?
What exactly is a reclaimed Dining Table?
The reclaimed trend has been around for a looonnng time! It's such a fab way to reuse and repurpose old timber that has years of life left and let's be honest, it's the most responsible form of sustainable furniture right? Well.. mostly yes. The problem is like anything that becomes popular, businesses scramble for supply to meet demand. As that's happened 'reclaimed' is sometimes a tad exaggerated.
Scaffold board tables are a classic reclaimed example. They've had a purpose, are worn and aged with grace. If you are into that rustic uneven look they are fantastic...BUT a few tips to look out for.
1. Did you know that as this trend has grown, scaffold boards are often far from reclaimed and actually brand new! Even a new appearance is a rough finish that naturally makes them appear aged when applying wax. They look great but aren't reclaimed. So how do you tell the difference? Well.. we've got you covered!
The first image is a typically used scaffold board.. it will have scars, blemishes and fairly often be stained and weathered. Just think of the life of an old board, flung in the back of the van, left in the rain, cement flying over it! It's rugged, battle-scarred and adaptable!
Image 2 is a new scaffold board, they are more consistent in colour, still have original saw marks but won't typically have any stains or scars from a hardworking life.
Unfortunately, this is quite a biggy. To add insult to injury scaffold boards are often untraceable so it's pretty much impossible to know their origin and sustainable values lie. Commercial demand for furniture now means they are also produced solely for that purpose but at a lower quality than traditional boards with the intended purpose. Always try to look for businesses that use either FSC or PEFC timber in their products that ensure they are from sustainably managed forests.
3. They aren't made for furniture.
Pine has a variety of species that are useful for very different tasks. Scaffold boards often aren't kiln dried and can arrive with a higher moisture content than a joinery grade pine. Why is this important? BIG potential for warping and twisting - lookout for warning signs on disclaimers of 'don't have the heating on for 3 weeks (not a joke this actually exists)! or 'our timber carries a higher moisture content than standard timber'. These red flags are things you just wouldn't even think about, however, that new shiny dream table could quickly look like a weird game of adult twister!
This really isn't a dig at scaffold boards and they can genuinely be good with the correct preparation. We recently commissioned a table for a friend who specifically requested them. Much to Jo's delight I brought them into our bedroom for 3 weeks to acclimatise before putting them to work!
Ultimately it comes down to this.. when something becomes a 'volume driven' product quite often, ethics, quality and standards can go out the window. At TIMBER FOUNDRY our reclaimed tables are exactly that. Check out our entirely recycled table below featuring legs made with window lintels and 200-year-old factory timber!