Reclaimed Wood is Chic and Big Business

BY Cheryl Truman

Everything at Lexington’s newest mega shopping/retail complex The Summit at Fritz Farm, on Nicholasville Road at Man o’ War, is brand new except for the parts that aren’t which makes the whole place even more fashionable.

That would be the reclaimed wood, both inside and out.

Outside, Kentucky Reclaimed Wood is providing the Bluegrass-woodsy feel for The Barn, and also for Summit businesses such as Steel City Pops and Sugarboo. A 25-year veteran of the reclaimed-wood business, Longwood Antique Woods provided tables and the bar for Honeywood restaurant.

Reclaimed wood is simply wood that has been used before, be it for barns or, at the Versailles Road complex housing Old World Timber, big discs of olive wood and giant wooden screws that had been used for grape presses.

As green building and remodeling practices have taken over from flat-pack pressed-wood decor and its short shelf life, reclaimed lumber has scaled the heights of popularity.

If it’s handled correctly — tested for foreign items and chemicals — recycled wood provides both a chic look and the ability to use lots of wood, even rare or exotic varieties, without guilt. You can even get peel-and-stick recycled wood kits from brands such as Stikwood.

Reclaimed wood is providing business for companies new and old in Kentucky.

Gatewood grew up in Montgomery County, so he was already used to looking out for old barns that weren’t coming back: “I knew where all kinds of tornado-damaged barns or falling-down barns were.”

But he found that customers needed more than simply flooring: “We had all these people building new homes and trying to make them look old.”

So instead of buying a table from a big-box store, customers wanted tables made of reclaimed wood, as well as reclaimed wood exposed beams, “and what about a big, beefy, planky bar over in the corner?”

“They like the quality, they like the fact they were being green, they have the romance of where the building came from,” Gatewood said.

Gatewood reels off the list of horse farms — such as Gainesway, Three Chimneys and Claiborne — where his company has done work, as well as restaurants where his company has worked, including Limestone Blue, Crank & Boom in the distillery district and Honeywood at The Summit.

Ryan Mollenkopf of Kentucky Reclaimed Wood got into the reclaimed wood business a little over a year ago, with much of his wood coming from Kentucky barns. Mollenkopf and his wife, Tiffany Mollenkopf, also operate Julep Candle Co., which puts hand-poured wax into re-useable julep cups.

“A lot of our wood will come in when local guys go out and find barns and tear them down and have us buy the wood from them,” Mollenkopf said.

Sometimes a horse farm will call and offer wood it’s discarding in order to upgrade, Mollenkopf said.

Nathan Brown of Old World Timber got into the business after finding a house he was building was near an old barn. Brown incorporated barn wood into the house and liked the look, so he repeated it in other houses. Apparently buyers liked the reclaimed wood look, too.

At Old World Timber’s warehouses off Versailles Road, Brown and his sister Liz Brown, a senior sales executive, point out distinctive reclaimed wood pieces: a set of huge screws that had belonged to a grape press, rare olive wood discs and boards from the Coney Island boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Of interest to horse aficionados are Old World Timber’s paddock boards from enclosures for American Pharoah and California Chrome, which will be used at the new University of Kentucky Student Center.

But, with popularity comes potential overexposure.

The housing blog Curbed headlined “Is It Time to Take a Break from Reclaimed Wood?” on Oct. 30, 2015. By Dec. 15, 2015, Curbed was wondering whether the “cozy, communal feel” reclaimed wood provides might be as overdone as the use of antlers and “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, “doomed to overexposure and mediocrity.”

The Independent in Great Britain in January 2017 also proclaimed that reclaimed wood was on its way out. (Also on the way out, according to the Independent: beards.) Also out: open concept, to be replaced by separate and distinct kitchens, and millennial pink (supplanted by forest green). The hot new surface is terrazzo.

But the naysayers aren’t impacting local businesses’ sales or their growth in numbers of employees, some of whom come from the most unlikely places.

Many of Old World Timber’s workers are provided through two locations of Kentucky Correctional Industries, run by former Versailles mayor Fred Siegelman.

Charlie Harris, 49, served 26 years in prison on burglary, robbery and persistent felony offender charges before being hired by Old World Timber. He blames much of his record on his alcohol addiction. He said he started drinking when he was 12, but he hasn’t had a drink since February 1989.


Charlie Harris, left, and David Hopkins, right, stacked planks at Old World Timber. Harris was hired after spending more than two decades in prison. He credits the Browns with helping him by putting trust in his ability to learn new skills.
Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com
Now Harris is becoming a skilled reclaimed wood worker in the Old World warehouse. Nathan Brown has helped Harris reacclimate to life outside prison. Brown took him to Walmart and to McDonald’s for Harris’ first Big Mac in 30 years.

He’s learning to drive a manual transmission 1997 Honda Accord and applying to live in an apartment close to Old World. Nathan Brown is acting as co-signer on his lease.

“Every day I get up and I want to come to work,” Harris said.

“It’s a beautiful mix of our mission in giving wood and people a second chance,” Nathan Brown said.

Woodworking Project Helping Veterans Recover from PTSD

A woodworking project is helping veterans recover from the stresses of their time on their front line.

The former servicemen and women say creating their own rocking horses has also boosted their confidence and helped them on the road to recovery from illness or injury.

Among them is Kevin Gray, who served with The Royal Artillery twenty years ago and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I feel a massive sense of achievement and apart from my children, I think this is probably the proudest thing I have ever created.

That thing that has been missing in my life for twenty years, the friendship, the sense of belonging, was all instilled immediately here over the past seven months it has been a fantastic journey.” – KEVIN GRAY

Kevin and a handful of other veterans have each spent more than one hundred hours working on the project at Pheonix House, the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick.

Woodshop manager Bob Marshall said he was delighted by the result.

PTSD is a very difficult thing to cope with and there is a feeling on worthlessness and just reminding people that they have been highly skilled, highly functioning individuals in a former life while they were serving and bringing that back through a piece of wood is a fantastic journey.” – BOB MARSHALL

The skill and workmanship of the veterans has been recognised by the Guild of Rocking Horse Makers.

Each horse has been valued at up to £1800 and on this occasion, they will be given to loved ones.

Via: ITV News

There Is Nothing More Beautiful Than the Look and Feel of a Truly Handcrafted Log Home

The charm and allure of log houses are everlasting. They are synonymous with rural, natural living at it’s finest and have an undeniable connection to peaceful living. We often think of log house, and log cabins tucked away in the forest, somewhere out of sight, and out of the chaos of city life. You may also think about the early years of Europeans settling in what is now called North America, building log houses to inhabit while they made a new life for themselves. These skills were passed down from generation to generation, and are still used in this modern day by people who want an all original home to live in rather than a replicated model. Designing your own home is such a rewarding process. Having the dream to build a log house can be exhilarating, but, like any home building project, log home building also comes with it’s challenges and skills to learn. Building a log house from scratch is an ambitious undertaking, but it can be done. When building any home, firstly a floor plan is needed. The floor plan and design can be purchased or worked on with a professional designer or engineer to ensure that it will meet building codes. There are many log home floor plans available for free or for a fee online, or, a prospective log home owner can sketch up their own plans and bring them into a designer.

Purchasing the materials for the log home building project will also take some diligent research. As with any project, it’s best to call around in the local area for pricing on materials, getting at least three to four estimates will help to narrow down which supplier to purchase from. Next, in the building process, you’ll want to make sure that you have a well-drained area to set the home’s foundation. The foundation work can be contracted out to save you the hassle, and be sure that it’s done right. Once that is all set, the building can begin. Building your own log house requires lots of measuring and cutting, so you’ll need to buy or borrow good quality tools. You’ll definitely need a chainsaw and a scribing tool to mark the logs. Building a small log house or cabin would be the best place to start and can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time than larger houses.
If all of this seems like too much work for you, there’s always the option of purchasing a log home building kit that already contains all of the necessary materials. Depending on the company selling the log home kits, the materials may come already pre-measured and pre-cut with labels and directions on how to assemble the house. The whole kit would be delivered right to your building site and you can take your time building it. Of course, for those who like a more hands-on approach, the do it yourself version would better suit them. The pricing of building the log house yourself, or ordering a kit could be comparable, but as always, do your research and find out. It’s advisable to have a budget in mind when working on any home building project, and always to allow for some leeway for hidden and unexpected costs. Usually 10% of your total budget will suffice.

“Drill Duel” torture test proves who is the toughest and most powerful tool

The compact Dewalt and Milwaukee are two of the most popular battery-powered drills sold on Amazon.

These aren’t the most powerful drills on the market, but they’re reliable and affordable around $100-$150.

Wranglestar wants to know where that extra $50 is going with a drill-duel torture test. The video starts with a brief features review for each drill. Jump ahead to the 7:05 minute mark if you just came for the action.

Which one do you think will come out on top?