However, just because you have some old wood in your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sitting on a goldmine. Some reclaimed wood is worth taking the time and effort to restore and put to another use such as making a reclaimed wood table or bookcase, but in many cases it may not be worth the time and effort of a restorer to get the wood back into a usable condition.
Is your Wood Good?
There are lots of woods which are impossible to find newly felled these days such as American Chestnut in the US and Elm in the UK. If you have some wood you think may be rare then it’s worth putting in some research to find out how readily available your wood is as this will give you an indication of how much it could be worth. But more common wood can be equally valuable if it’s considered to be an antique (more than 100 years old). Oak has always been readily available in the UK but antique oak is considerably more expensive than green oak. This is because antique wood was harvested when it had grown much older and larger than the fast-growing oak which is felled today. So the wood has more desirable characteristics such as tighter growth rings and a more attractive patina that can only be achieved with age.
Wood is one of the most durable and long lasting materials available to us but it’s not impervious to wear and tear or attack from things like wood beetle or dry rot. In order for your wood to be sold it will need to be in an exemplary condition. If your wood is rotten or has been attacked by insects over the years then it’s very unlikely that it will be worth salvaging. Some wood may not be fit for the purpose it was being used for previously, but it may be able to be put to another use. For example wood that is no longer strong enough to be used as a beam could be cut or re-milled to make a reclaimed wood dining table, a front door or even window frames.
It’s also important to remember that although you may have a large volume of wood, such as old flooring or even an entire barn or shed, much of it may be lost during the restoration process so it’s best to assume that you’ll lose a large proportion of the wood you have in order for it to be successfully repurposed.