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Thread: Market for Reclaimed Lumber?

  1. #1
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    Market for Reclaimed Lumber?

    This is not intended to be a subtle ad--if there is interest, I'll put something in the classified. Right now I'm trying to figure out some things out for a friend...

    Friend of mine inherited a piece of property with some old buildings on it--a small log cabin from the 1700s and a couple outbuildings (pretty substantially sized--garage-sized and barn-sized) from the early 1900s. He'd like to get rid of the buildings, and is wondering if there is a market for reclaimed lumber like this and, if so, where you go to sell and how you define what you have. If there is a market, what is the information that would be relevant to buyers, or is it they have to come and see?

    Anyone have any ideas? Property is in PA and has lots of black walnut on it, but unclear if the outbuildings are black walnut or not.

  2. #2
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    I have seen reclaimed lumber for sale at The Restore and other places. In Berkeley, CA there is a place called Urban Ore that sells 'reclaimed'
    just about anything.

    There may be a used building supply merchant in the local area. Finding and contacting someone in the reclaimed materials business might make the whole thing a lot easier.

    Some municipalities require permits to take down buildings.

    Craigs list often has listings of reclaimed lumber. Most buyers would want to know the condition, sizes and species of wood available. Species might be the hard part. Pictures always help.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric DeSilva View Post
    This is not intended to be a subtle ad--if there is interest, I'll put something in the classified. Right now I'm trying to figure out some things out for a friend...

    Friend of mine inherited a piece of property with some old buildings on it--a small log cabin from the 1700s and a couple outbuildings (pretty substantially sized--garage-sized and barn-sized) from the early 1900s. He'd like to get rid of the buildings, and is wondering if there is a market for reclaimed lumber like this and, if so, where you go to sell and how you define what you have. If there is a market, what is the information that would be relevant to buyers, or is it they have to come and see?

    Anyone have any ideas? Property is in PA and has lots of black walnut on it, but unclear if the outbuildings are black walnut or not.
    Most of the ads I've seen (in PA) for something like that are either just the beams of a building like that, or they are lumber for free if you take the whole building.

    The only thing I've seen selling for appreciable amounts of money are hand hewn beams, but I'm not buying in the architectural market where someone may be willing to pay a fair amount because they're using someone else's money.

    There is a guy up somewhere in north central PA who is accumulating beams and such from barns, but I only know about him because he's trying to sell them on craigslist all over the place. I'd bet he buys them for almost nothing and spends most of his time sorting/storing/marketing what he has.

    You need lots of pictures and condition means a lot.

    FWIW, there was a nice barn that was on CL here for a while with the only stipulation that a taker takes everything except the foundation and leaves nothing behind, and nobody wanted it.

  4. #4
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    Unless it's verifiably American Chestnut, you've already got
    established competition.

    The amount of work you're contemplating; the stepwise dismantling of rickety buildings,
    the sorting and storage of salvaged lumber, the milling of logs with God-knows-what
    pounded into them is endless.

    The only people I've seen making money from something like this had Chestnut growing nearby.

    Everybody else eventually has a bonfire that can be seen from Space.

  5. #5
    Some individual or organization might be interested moving the entire cabin. Especially if it is one of the really small ones
    associated with slavery. There are not many left.

  6. #6
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    Contact a hardwood flooring dealer. They might be interested in buying the house. They have several different types of wood flooring for sale here in Kansas City. Might contact local lumber yards, they might be able to help you out.
    Randy

    Don't worry abuot tommorrow, it may never arrive
    Don't fret over yesterdays mistake, you can't undo them
    Just live today the best you can.

  7. #7
    Eric, give me until tomorrow, I'll have some info for you. I'm in a reclaimed wood store visiting a customer every so often. I know they reclaim barns, etc. Let me see how far they travel and the point of contact. I've met the owner a time or two but I don't have his contact information at the moment.

    I'm just south of you, so let me see if he'll travel up to PA.
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  8. #8
    With all those out there eager to get hands on wood like that in order to cut it up into skinny planks there should first be an effort made to see if the buildings have some cultural and historical meaning before they get ripped down and the vultures let loose, with a preference for maintaing the buildings in the original context and if not only then relocated or repurposed and at all costs not milled up into flooring material, which only feeds the industry for the demolition of historic buildings for no other purpose than a low-brow stile of design.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernest dubois View Post
    which only feeds the industry for the demolition of historic buildings for no other purpose than a low-brow stile of design.
    Easy there.
    That's the basis for my entire design aesthetic.

    Low-brow, indeed.
    We prefer "Work in progress" or "Enhanced decrepitude".

    Pay no attention to the yellow barrier tape, it's decorative.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ernest dubois View Post
    which only feeds the industry for the demolition of historic buildings for no other purpose than a low-brow stile of design.
    Some of us are quite proficient at taking something that's worth a lot, and "building" something from it that is worth less than the cost of the raw materials!!

  11. #11
    All I can say Jim is you are walking in a delicate balance…but so am I when I go a searching for slab of real padouk.

  12. #12
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    I'd be interested in looking at pictures of the 18th Century stuff. One of our projects is work on a 1784 Middlin' plantation in Southside Virginia. The Foundation in charge has bought an 18th Century outbuilding that was already disassembled, and another was donated by a family who was glad to see it put to proper use. You can see some of the work on the place on my website: www.historichousepreservation.com

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the input--I'll pass it along. Had to do some traveling, but wanted to say I appreciate all the thoughtful comments. And, Scott, I got the PM, so I'll pass that along too.

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