Sorting and Grading is the first step once a building is dismantled and the wood delivered to our shop. We thoroughly inspect and grade each board to obtain only the soundest of boards suitable for our furniture. If the board does not pass our inspection, it does not make the cut. After we have separated out the lumber that does not meet our stringent standards, the highest quality boards are separated into over a dozen different categories, based on weathering, grain, color, size, character marks, and structural potential. Our designs and patterns require a specific and rather lengthy selection process, in order to provide the tones, structural integrity, contrasts and character only found in Western Heritage’s products.
Preparing reclaimed barn wood for use as fine-furniture material is more of an art than a process. Each piece of reclaimed wood is very unique with its own characteristics: nail holes, notches, cracks, stains, ax marks, old brands and the occasional “I love Jenny,” are all elements to be preserved. These character marks, along with the intrinsic coloration, patterns and grains present in the reclaimed wood determine the classification each board as it enters our shop. These various classifications are critical to our designs. Each piece is distinct in its history, beauty, and was harvested, most likely by hand, by the original craftsman 100-200 years ago.
We determine the coloration and textures of our final product not through staining or distressing, but specifically through our experience and knowledge of selecting barn wood. In larger production shops, classifications are non-existent, and these meticulous steps are ignored, evident by the flat mono-tone appearance of their creations.
In our workshop, all of our pieces are hand-made, top to bottom, by a single craftsman. This takes a little longer, but each piece is “owned” by the artist making it. He takes the time to make sure every edge is sanded properly, the mortise and tenon joinery is solid, the drawers and doors work like a dream, and the final touches are added. More care and attention is put into the whole piece, rather than on a line where he would be unaware of the goals of the final product.
Sanding reclaimed wood is unpredictable. The beauty found in each product is based on our ability to maximize the amount of character marks left by the original craftsmen and the weathering provided by mother nature. The challenge aspect of this task is assuring that each piece is also smooth to the touch and well protected. We accomplish this through our rigorous finishing process not found in any other reclaimed wood shop.
Our small team of expert finishers treat each piece like it’s their own, carefully chiseling, sanding, inspecting and re-inspecting every saw mark, nail hole, groove and crack that we strive to expose. We take pride in the fact that this is the most lengthy part of our entire construction process. To speed this process up would be a disservice to the wood, our art, and to the generations of souls who will enjoy our masterpieces.
The hues and patinas that radiate from our furniture are dictated by the wood we hand-select combined with our unique finishing process. Often imitated, but never replicated, we implore you to compare our artwork with other shops. You will know which ones were created with love, one at a time and hand-crafted with an unprecedented attention to detail in our small shop in Jerome, Arizona. We expect nothing less in our furniture, and neither should you.
As you take possession of the furniture piece a new life is started. What you now own is a one-of-a-kind artisan piece of reclaimed barn wood furniture that has been specifically tailored for you.