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Working with reclaimed timber

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

Taking care of removing rusty nails, can be the start of a beautiful process of working with reclaimed timber. Slowly sanding back the old chipped paint reveals a golden brown hue. Could it be New Zealand Rimu? When you are unsure of what the timber would look like beneath layers of old paint, this can be an exciting step to creating something new from the old.

Of course, what can also wait for you beneath the layers of old paint is signs left behind by the Common House Borer beetles in the form of 1-3 mm diameter flight holes. Coincidentally, one of its other common names is the Furniture Beetle!

When creating furniture and décor out of reclaimed timber, you want to either stay away from ones who had one too many visits from the Common House Borer or other borers as the timber would not produce a stable chair or table. Sometimes we simply cannot turn away from a beautiful piece of reclaimed Rimu which may have a few borer holes. So how do we remedy this? We use flight hole treatment to inject into the holes and add a mixture of wood filler and wood glue and sand it back to reveal a smooth surface.

Once you have dealt with nails, pesky borers and removed the old paint, the real fun begins. Will you take inspiration from old nail holes or hide them away? The choice is yours depending on what style you want to go for.

In the past, old Rimu window frames have turned into beautiful and functional bottle openers and an old Rimu bed frame has turned into a Riempie Bench.

So next time you are scouring second-hand shops, have a look at the old wooden furniture pieces everyone walks past because it has passed its prime. It might just be ready for a second life as a reclaimed furniture or décor piece.

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