If you’re interested in buying beautiful, quality furniture, that’s environmentally friendly, furniture made from reclaimed old-growth lumber should be at the top of your list.
“Old-growth trees are historic giants that slowly grew to immense sizes over a period of 1000-2000 years,” says Josh Hooge, co-owner of J&S Reclaimed Wood Custom Furniture in Vancouver. “Due to fierce competition for sunlight, water, and nutrients, the coniferous trees of the Pacific Northwest historically grew up to 400ft feet tall and were 20ft in diameter, and they produced dense, strong timbers of very tight grain.”
“The only remaining source of that old-growth lumber is from torn down structures like old barns and heritage buildings,” Josh says. “Almost all the old-growth trees were harvested more than 100 years ago. The only ones left are solitary giants found in protected parks and hard to reach mountainsides.”
So Josh, with his business partner, Steve McFarlane, salvage the old timbers to make beautiful custom furniture like dining tables, coffee tables, bar carts and bookcases.
In addition to old growth wood, J&S Reclaimed Wood also salvages lumber from shipping pallets to make their furniture. Shipping pallets are often too expensive to ship back for reuse, so they are made to use one time and then discarded, collecting in alleyways or dumped in the landfill to be incinerated.
“Pallet wood is usually rough-sawn planks of oak, maple, hickory, ash, poplar, mahogany, pine, and fir that have nail holes, wear marks from use and aging from its journey that is unique to each pallet,” says Josh. “We collect the unwanted pallets, break them down at our shop and reuse the planks to make our furniture. There’s no waste left over; we recycle the nails, and the broken pieces get picked up with all our scraps for firewood.”
“Our customers and clients want to support sustainable practices and support local businesses,” Steve adds. “We make everything from local products and materials, purchased from local businesses as much as possible”
Besides being environmentally friendly, each piece of hand-made furniture tells a story.
“With wood, the colour, weight, growth rings patterns, and grain patterns tell the story of the life of the tree,” says Steve. “You can tell about the different climate events the tree experienced, floods and fires, harsh winters and droughts, local terrain and growing conditions, how long the tree took to grow and if it’s old-growth or not.”
Furniture made from old-growth lumber also preserves our local history, says Josh. “They represent the loggers who felled the trees by axe and saw, the old sawmills and mill workers who cut the logs into planks, and the historic buildings that were built from them.”
“The timbers are part of our heritage in Vancouver,” he adds, “from small muddy backwater to a growing international city. It’s also part of our country’s heritage and identity.”
To find out how you can own furniture made from reclaimed lumber, visit J&S Reclaimed Wood Custom Furniture’s website, call 778-317-3027 or email them. You can also find J&S Reclaimed Wood Custom Furniture on Facebook and Instagram.