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High demand continues for rustic and reclaimed


There’s something about that seemingly ‘less than perfect’ design look that’s causing so many people to bring weather-worn, rough-hewn and uniquely marked or lower grade woods indoors. The rustic trend, to give it a name, has been gaining popularity for the past couple of years, and according to lumber suppliers interviewed by Woodshop News, it’s likely here to stay for quite some time.

Carl Mahlstedt of Goosebay Sawmill & Lumber in Chinchester, N.H. sees all sorts of examples in the rustic category, often inspired by media savvy designers.

“The live edge look is more for tables or shelves, and the reclaimed look you can build cabinets, or use it for sliding doors or accent walls. It seems like this trend is up and everybody is climbing on board right now. All the shows on HGTV and Instagram and what not definitely make it more popular,” says Mahlstedt.

“I’m cutting more live edge than in the past. It seems like the live edge has been popular for a while now, and a majority of what we sell in that are pine or a lower value wood like poplar or cottonwood. But we also sell cherry, walnut and maple with a live edge.”

There’s no real way to categorize materials with that natural raw flair, says Scott Limone of Keiver-Willard Lumber in Newburyport, Mass. The facility moves plenty of rustic white oak and hickory, as well as reclaimed barnwood. It’s difficult to offer a representative sample of these, however, compared to selling higher grades.

“The thing about it is everyone has their own interpretation of what rustic is to them. Some people want small tight knots and mineral streaks, and some want big knots with the holes they fill in with a black epoxy and sand it down for floors. It’s open to interpretation, so when quoting a price we have to interview them,” says Limone.

Rob Lamoureaux of Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, Conn. says customers are often attempting to bring an outdoorsy look inside.

“We’re seeing more than in the past for sure. It’s a specific look. That live bark edge instead of having something milled and clean. It has a lot more feature quality than a nice clean piece of wood; it has character. It depends on the personal taste of the individual. Some people don’t like it,” says Lamoureaux.

He’s seen rustic material used for flooring, furniture, tabletops and accent walls, particularly in restaurants and bars. One unique offering - maple logs tapped for syrup – is suddenly in demand.

“We blank out those tap areas separately and people like the feature of it. There’s a distinct mineral deposit around the tap area that darkens the wood.” 

This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue.

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