Deconstruction

The next project for us actually began some time ago.  Based on when you start counting, it could go back a long time ago.  Back in 2013, there was a barn in southern Ohio (yes, down by the river) that needed to be taken down, or it was going to continue its inexorable slide down the holler.  One option was to have the local volunteer fire department burn it for practise, but instead my dad and I went down that summer and disassembled it.  Some we couldn’t save, but a lot of the structure was eminently salvageable.  Most of the frame was built out of full-measure, roughsawn 2×4, 2×6, and 4×4 oak (red and white).  A lot of the sheathing was oak too, though some of it turned out to be cherry.  And one 4×4 was cherry as well.

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So the question becomes when to date the start of this project.  Is it now, in 2016?  Is it when I took the barn apart in 2013?  Is it 1982 (possibly 1983) when the barn was built?  Or, given the age of the trees, somewhere in the 1930’s?  An interesting conundrum…

But at any rate, this is one of the nice things about working with solid wood.  When something has outlived its usefulness, it can be raw materials for something else with a minimum of fuss.  Some furniture is more valuable for its wood than for the piece as a whole (try calculating how much it would cost (today) to buy the rosewood in Mary Todd Lincoln’s famous bedroom suite, if you could even find the wood!).  And what’s more, this is done easily at the level of the local craftsman.  Unlike plastic, which degrades as it is recycled, wood is pretty stable as it is repurposed.  So this project started as a tree, then was a barn, and now is ready to start a new journey.

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