Urban Barnwood Interview: Meet Johnathan of Urban Barnwood

Watch this Urban Barnwood interview and get to know Johnathan, the only ‘English’ employee at Urban Barnwood. Urban Barnwood is the leading brand of reclaimed barnwood furniture in America. They specialize in creating beautiful barnwood furniture designs with the construction techniques of Amish woodworkers. Johnathan Fell is the Sales Manager at Urban, so we were excited to speak to him about their unique shop when he visited us in our showroom in Sarasota, Florida.

Urban: From Log Furniture to Barnwood Furniture

Urban Barnwood began as a log furniture woodshop in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Their woodshop is deep in the heart of Amish country off a back road but now employs over 30 people in a large shop.

The first reclaimed table

As a log furniture shop, they never worked with barnwood to make furniture. However, one of the owner’s sons decided to make a coffee table out of reclaimed barn wood. Not for a customer, but for a girlfriend! After building this coffee table, a vendor saw his work in the shop and requested a table made of the barnwood. Upon finally making it and putting the table in a store, it sold immediately. They knew they were onto something. But the best part of the story: the employee is now married to the girlfriend and the coffee table sits in their home.

The popularity of reclaimed furniture

Then, Urban Barnwood was off to the races. They started building it just as the popularity of reclaimed furniture exploded, in about 2013. And the company can barely keep up with demand, hiring employees and expanding their shop throughout the past 7 years.

The Wood’s Journey from Barn to Table

Urban Barnwood ahs two crews knocking down old barns in Ohio and Kentucky every day. These barns are all built out of white and red oak wood and many are almost 200 years old! The large support beams from the interior of the barn are the parts they’re really after. After knocking down barns, the wood is collected and de-nailed. Then, it’s put through a kiln for almost two weeks to kill insects and dry the wood to the appropriate moisture level. Finally, it’s ready to be turned into furniture!

The build process

Once reclaimed barn wood is prepared to be built, it can be worked with much like standard lumber. However, special consideration must be taken to preserve the beautiful, unique wear patterns of the old wood. These patterns and marks are unique to each individual piece of furniture. You can expect nail holes, knotholes, saw marks, and color variation in reclaimed barnwood. And they don’t want to hide that with the finish process. In fact, the unique stains and finishes that Urban applies are likely to help the patterns show through.

Is Reclaimed Barnwood the Right Choice for You?

If you seek smooth, flawless wood grain and a consistent color throughout, reclaimed furniture definitely isn’t for you. With all wood furniture, there’s a degree of unpredictability to the finish, but especially with reclaimed. This wood has lived a life before becoming furniture, and that life is what makes reclaimed barnwood furniture unique and stunning. And that’s why reclaimed is the hottest trend in furniture in the 2010s, with no signs of slowing down. If Reclaimed Barnwood is the right choice for you, then we have no hesitation in recommending the Urban Barnwood collection as the perfect place to start.

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