Sustainable, warm and unique, barnwood furniture is making its mark. At DutchCrafters, our Amish woodworkers take pride in their sustainable practices and crafting with reclaimed wood embraces sustainability on a whole new level. While there’s no doubt barnwood furniture is beautiful, the story goes much deeper than just knocking down barns and making furniture out of them.
The Urban Barnwood Collection here at DutchCrafters is in high demand, and when Jonathan Fell, the sales manager of Urban Barnwood, came to visit, we jumped at the opportunity to talk to him about the origins of Urban Barnwood and what brought this exceptional furniture collection to life.
Jonathan shared with us the details of how Urban Barnwood began with a romance and resulted in a whole new line of solid wood furniture with unique appeal.
A Romantic Barnwood Story: How Urban Barnwood Began Making Barnwood Furniture
Back in 2013, Marion Yoder decided to surprise his girlfriend with a gift. He had gotten a few pieces of old barnwood from a friend, and he decided to build her a coffee table with it.
A local dealer happened to see Marion’s barnwood coffee table and was so taken with it, he asked the Yoders to make him a dining table using barnwood.
The dining table sold immediately, word spread and Urban Barnwood’s collection of wood furniture made with reclaimed barnwood took off.
Marion and his girlfriend are now married, and they still have the coffee table that started it all.
We went on to talk to Jonathan about the Urban Barnwood woodshop and what it takes to make furniture with reclaimed barnwood.
The Urban Barnwood Woodshop
Owner: Ray Yoder
Years in Business: 19
Woodshop Location: Sugar Creek, Ohio
About the Woodshop: The Urban Barnwood woodshop is state of the art, occupying 30,000 square feet. All of the furniture is Amish made, and it has its own finish shop.
Background Info: Owner Ray Yoder originally built log homes, then transitioned to log furniture. His son, Marion Yoder, grew up working for his father, and it was his coffee table design made of barnwood that set everything in motion for their barnwood collection.
Working With Reclaimed Barnwood
Jonathan explained the challenges of working with reclaimed barnwood. It’s not a quick process and is very much one that supports the Slow Furniture Movement, where time and care are taken to tend to every detail and ultimately produce the best quality. The wood is oak, ( a mixture of white oak and red oak that is one-half quarter sawn and one-half plain sawn), and it must be collected from old barns. Urban Barnwood has multiple crews that bring down barns located in Ohio and Kentucky, collect the barnwood and bring it to the supplier. There the process begins to de-nail and kiln dry the wood and to exterminate any bugs, eggs or fungus. The barnwood is also graded for color and cracks. This two-week long process involves the following steps:
- Set in a dry kiln at 110 degrees for a few days.
- Continues in dry kiln at 120 degrees for two to three days.
- Finishes in dry kiln for two to three days at 140-150 degrees until the lumber has reached a 6% to 8% moisture content.
Jonathan emphasized the authenticity of the reclaimed barnwood, and pointed out how old it really is. He explained that some of this barnwood comes from barns that date back to the early 1800s, a time when Napoleon became emperor and the first railway was laid. This wood is old, some of it 200 years old, which contributes a unique factor that no other solid wood furniture has.
Jonathan explained that investing in reclaimed barnwood furniture is investing in history and barnwood furniture will always be different and beautiful. For those new to the barnwood look, he reminds potential buyers of what they’re getting. If you want a table that’s perfectly streamlined with no unpredictable or unique markings or characteristics, then barnwood might not be the look for you.
The Newest Designs from Urban Barnwood
The latest from Urban Barnwood includes the 1869 Dining Collection and we are so excited to have it on display in the DutchCrafters showroom.
The 1869 Dining Collection was designed by Chase Ryan of Austin, Texas. Right after watching the disassembling of some old barns, he became fascinated with the strength of the wood and the joinery and began sketching. The mix of modern and rustic makes for a stunning collection.
Urban Barnwood in the DutchCrafters Showroom
In addition to the 1869 Looking Glass Dining Table, we currently have Urban Barnwood’s best seller on the DutchCrafters showroom floor. The Amish Reclaimed Barnwood Farmhouse Solid Top Dining Table is shown with a clear top stain. The legs feature a two-tone finish. The table has a mission roundover edge with hand-worn corners.
About 40% of the orders Urban Barnwood receives ask for nail and knot holes to be filled. While the imperfections are celebrated, some fans of reclaimed barnwood wish for a smoother look and feel. It can be done by filling nail and knot holes with epoxy.
Does Reclaimed Barnwood Cost More?
The cost of reclaimed barnwood furniture depends on a few factors including the wood species, age of the wood, its availability and sourcing method. It does require more work to collect the wood, prepare it and build with it, which is reflected in the price.
Sustainable, historic, warm and timeless, reclaimed barnwood furniture is here to stay.
Don’t miss our interview with Jonathan Fell from Urban Barnwood as he joins us in the DutchCrafters Showroom.