Reclaimed Heart Pine with a powerful history

When we heard of plans to demolish many of the General Electric Factory buildings from the 1900s, we were led to Bloomfield, NJ to prevent the factory’s bones from ending up in the landfill. To date, we have rescued over 23 million board feet of antique wood from ending up landfills or other wasteful disposal methods.

A little plant history:
Opening the doors to its 17 buildings in the 1900s, GE expanded to meet the demand for battery manufacturing. With over two thousand workers, and one of the largest local manufacturing facilities, they were busy producing the batteries behind communications systems as well as kinetoscope, wax for phonograph cylinders, x-ray equipment, medical instruments, electric fans, and later, much of the equipment for WWII. After a decline in the demand for manufacturing, the company vacated Bloomfield in 1959.

Timbers within:
While the main building currently remains and is being converted into residential spaces, we reclaimed 81,500 BF of Long Leaf Heart Pine timbers as well as a small amount (15,900 BF) of Oak from several of the surrounding buildings. Heart Pine is said to be the species our country was built on with many of the factories and mills of the past having been largely constructed using these pine timbers. Reclaimed Heart Pine is a highly desired species due to its dense grain patterns, deep patina, character, and of course, history.

 

What’s next for this wood:
While the GE factories have run out of juice, their wooden timbers, posts, and planks will be recharged around the world. Our goal is to continue to rescue ‘old’ wood from factories, warehouses, and other industrial buildings giving it new life as flooring and other products for retail, commercial, and residential clients. Beginning with raw industrial salvaged timbers, we mill board stock repurposing the antique wood into paneling, flooring, fixtures, and more to be used in commercial and residential spaces.

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What’s new in The Big Apple

Jered has been trekking to NYC quite often over the past few months and has snapped many pictures of our wood in use. Flooring, paneling, and siding are most common but there are new twists including patterns, shapes, and finishes.

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We’re so inspired by this blasted Foundry Maple wall at WeWork on Broadway.

 

At Pop at Pod restaurant in Manhattan, you’ll find sanded reclaimed gymnasium flooring from a high school in Minnesota, and rough-sawn FSC Certified Western Red Cedar ceiling t&g.

At Pop at Pod restaurant in Manhattan, you’ll find sanded reclaimed gymnasium flooring from a high school in Minnesota, and rough-sawn FSC Certified Western Red Cedar ceiling t&g.

Chop't Creative Salad Company in Brookfield Place features a creative use of reclaimed Settlers' Plank Oak in a herringbone pattern.

Chop’t Creative Salad Company in Brookfield Place features a creative use of reclaimed Settlers’ Plank Oak in a herringbone pattern.

 

Jered stopped in at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, off of East Houston, and spotted a nice vertical grain reclaimed Heart Pine counter crafted by our sister company NEWwoodworks. (He also said the chicken is absolutely amazing!)

Jered stopped in at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, off of East Houston, and spotted a nice vertical grain reclaimed Heart Pine counter crafted by our sister company NEWwoodworks. (He also said the chicken is absolutely amazing!)

Timberland's corporate showroom in NYC incorporated American Gothic reclaimed oak flooring and paneling, as well as reclaimed white pine ceiling joists salvaged from a sawmill in New Hampshire.

Timberland’s corporate showroom in NYC incorporated American Gothic reclaimed oak flooring and paneling, as well as reclaimed white pine ceiling joists salvaged from a sawmill in New Hampshire.

 

Heart Pine on the facade of this Brooklyn pasta restaurant warmly welcomes its guests. Beveled edges define the planks and add texture while the character complements the clean horizontal lines.

Heart Pine on the facade of this Brooklyn pasta restaurant warmly welcomes its guests. Beveled edges define the planks and add texture while the character complements the clean horizontal lines.

 

We shipped out some industrial salvaged wood for wall cladding to the very first Wolverine company store, located in in Nolita. The old planks were split in half and wire-brushed, giving the look of an industrial stacked wall. The client, contractor, and patrons are thrilled with the finished appearance and we have to agree - it turned out pretty darn cool.

We shipped out some industrial salvaged wood for wall cladding to the very first Wolverine company store, located in in Nolita. The old planks were split in half and wire-brushed, giving the look of an industrial stacked wall. The client, contractor, and patrons are thrilled with the finished appearance and we have to agree – it turned out pretty darn cool.

 

The overlapping and alternating corners of the reclaimed Ash planks add visual interest to the wall, cabinets, and cashier wrap at Charlie Bird restaurant in SoHo.

The overlapping and alternating corners of the reclaimed Ash planks add visual interest to the wall, cabinets, and cashier wrap at Charlie Bird restaurant in SoHo.

Custom Ebony Finish; Work of Art

Goorin 4Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s passing through the hands of our finishing crew.

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Settlers’ Plank Oak with Custom Ebony Finish

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Settlers’ Plank Oak unfinished

This custom ebony stain with matte water-based polyurethane gives our Settlers’ Plank Oak floor a more monochromatic appearance thereby drawing more attention to the variation in texture and grain.

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Louise Nevelson

 

 

 

 

 

Kind of reminds me of a Louise Nevelson sculpture.

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Cold Storage Oak

Beautifully patina'ed White Oak from a local cold storage facility

Beautifully patina’ed White Oak from a local cold storage facility

 

One of the most challenging requests that we get from customers is for a product that has a worn smooth surface and dark aged patina. While its easy to provide reclaimed products that are rough and retain indicators of their past life, like nail holes and saw marks, finding a material with that authentic time worn look can be a struggle.

In the past few years our finishing department has gotten quite talented at simulating decades of wear with artistic techniques. Like bizarro-land alchemists, they transform clean freshly milled product into old antiqued floor boards.  These techniques usually combine texturing processes like wire-brushing and hand sanding with multi-step custom stains and finishes. The results are always stunning but man does a lot of work go into it.

Now we have a limited edition product that has the look everyone is clamoring for with none of that fuss: COLD STORAGE OAK!

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Our acquisition crew spent the sweet month of September dismantling the interior of a local cold storage facility. This facility boasted over 25,000 board feet of White Oak flooring that measured 3″ thick and up to 15″ wide. Best of all, this floor has suffered the abuse of forklifts since before the age of Iphones, or color TV for that matter.

Though some boards have worn more beautifully than others this stuff is the Holy Grail of reclaimed wood.

The process of dismantling this floor was not complicated (each board was attached to a supporting I-beam with a mere two lag bolts) but elbow grease was used aplenty. Lifting and lugging these boards for three weeks was some workout. Here are some photos of our efforts.

 

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The ride home was pretty quiet each day.

Horse trailer creep - Copy Horse trailer creep

One day we caught this dude peeking out at us from a horse trailer that we passed on the Thruway.

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Maybe he was admiring the graphics on our truck.

Red Creek 13Anyhow, the material is now safely back in our yard and we are admiring it while we can because there certainly won’t be any left by the end of winter. Call for availability!

Just down the road; Reclaiming a local gym floor.

Last summer we traveled all across the country pulling up gym floors. Our guys were in Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, New Hampshire and Illinois. This summer we were fortunate enough to get a gym floor in our own back yard. Located in Geneva, this project is close enough that we were able to send an all-star crew of our regular denailers and sawyers to do the dirty work. Though I’m sure none of them considered this a vacation, it’s always nice to have a change in routine and be free of the shop for a few days. Plus, in Geneva there are good eateries in abundance when lunch time rolls around.

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Gym floor 5

 

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By the end of this week this handsome material will be available to the public.

First come, first serve!

Before and After

Who doesn’t love a dramatic transformation?!

Pam’s patio was suffering from a lack of use, and she realized that was probably due to a lack of personality. The custom concrete work wasn’t doing quite enough to draw the family outside.

The concrete block wall didn't do enough to complement the beautiful custom stamped concrete patio.

The concrete block wall didn’t do enough to complement the beautiful custom textured concrete patio.

Previously clad in plain plywood, the storage area under the deck now features custom made doors on specialty hardware.

Previously clad in plain plywood, the storage area under the deck now features custom made doors on specialty hardware.

Looking for something more exiting that typical siding, Pam wanted something to really ‘pop’ and liven up  the space and she knew that reclaimed Barn Siding would do just that.   Opting for the Mixed Brown-Grey product that includes the full range of weathered colors, she also varied the layout, mixing vertical and horizontal and even building a custom pair of barn style doors with a modern vibe.

 

 

The end result (paired with a splash of color on the glass doors) is a lively, live-able patio, that the whole family loves!

The completed patio is a dramatic change- the siding and fun punch of color on the doors make a huge difference. Now the space is modern and inviting.

The completed patio is a dramatic change- the siding and fun punch of color on the doors make a huge difference. Now the space is modern and inviting.

Esquire Novelty

Esquire Novelty Building52837As the summer begins to wane we are seeing the first truckloads of wood come in from the Esquire Novelty Building in Amsterdam, NY. These Heart Pine timbers are arriving just in time to fill a growing number of Character Select Heart Pine orders that have appeared on our production board recently.

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Jackson 5We first looked at this building back in 2005 but the demolition was delayed until recently.

Dating from the turn of the last century (it is first listed on an 1905 survey map) this building was originally part of what was known as the Mohasco mills complex.

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Mohasco Mills was home to a large carpet-producing industry.

Lured to the Southern States by lucrative financial incentives, the carpet mills vacated the site in the late 1950′s and 60′s. The property remained vacant until Esquire Novelty, following the lead of several other Toy manufacturers who relocated to Amsterdam in the 1970′s and 80′s, moved into the Building #17 which once housed the weave mill.

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Esquire, which later moved it’s operations to China, produced jump ropes and other toys but is most known for its historically accurate, highly detailed, toy guns.

The Esquire Novelty building was among the last of the Mohasco Mills structures to survive. Many of the other buildings succumbed to arson and controlled implosions.

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Building #17 is being demolished with more finesse. We expect to see several truckloads of handsome timbers arrive in our yard in the next few weeks.Esquire Novelty Timbers

Stay posted for some stunning installation pictures documenting this historic wood’s reincarnation as wall paneling in a NYC restaurant.

Postscript:

As promised; here are the photos of the Esquire pine, milled and installed outside a Brooklyn eatery. Looks great!pasta pine 1 pasta pine 2 pasta pine 3

Putting New Timberland Boots to the Test

TJ, Cal and Dave modeling the new 'Rip Saw' from Timberland. Appropriately enough, that timber they're sitting on is on the deck of our largest saw.

TJ, Cal, and Dave modeling the new ‘Rip Saw’ boot from Timberland. Appropriately enough, that timber they’re sitting on is on the deck of our mill’s rip saw.

A few months ago we were contacted by a representative from Timberland PRO. In the process of designing a new boot for professional use, they were looking for some real-world feedback from guys in the field and wanted to know if our team might be interested in helping. 10 of our hardworking team members would be provided with a brand new pair of work boots, and all they needed to do in return was give their honest opinions.

The "wood-grain" wrapping paper and hinge patterned tape was perfect for us!

The “wood-grain” wrapping paper and hinge patterned tape was perfect for us!

The boots arrived yesterday after months in development and we had the chance to get everyone’s first impressions. Even though it’s 90 degrees here, the guys laced up their new “logger” style, tall shaft boots and headed back out to the shop.

 

 

Designed for professionals, hopefully these new boots will keep our team comfortably on their feet.

Designed for professionals, hopefully these new boots will keep our team comfortably on their feet.

So far the thing we’ve heard most is “Wow! These are really comfortable!”. One of the guys even tossed his old boots right into the garbage. The team seems impressed with Timberland’s hard work designing these work-tough boots and the anti-fatigue technology is helping them stay on their feet longer with more comfort. We’re thrilled to have been selected to participate in this test and will continue to pass on the feedback to Timberland.

You’ll likely see these boots in stores later this year.

Tony's old boots were on their way out, so when the new Timberlands arrived, he promptly put them in the trash.

Tony’s old boots were on their way out, so when the new Timberlands arrived, he promptly put threw his old boots in the trash.

They're taller than the pair he had on, but Jake tells us they are "really comfortable".

They’re taller than the pair he had on, but Jake tells us they are “really comfortable”.

Modern Mix: Barn Siding in Timber Home Living Magazine

Timber framing and barn siding? Yes! Jennifer’s bathroom, featured in an earlier post, has now found its way into print. Our Roblyn Powley is quoted extensively – well said Roblyn! The article below is published in the August 2013 issue of Timber Home Living magazine.

modern mix of materials reclaimed from pioneer millworks

As seen in Timber Home Living magazine.

reclaimed and modern materials

As seen in Timber Home Living magazine – page 2.

Foundry Flooring

All the wood flooring that we sell at Pioneer Millworks carries traces of its previous life. Nail holes, saw marks, original patina and weathered textures are our bread and butter. One product that screams its autheticity as a reclaimed product though is our Foundry Flooring.

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Foundry flooring is original factory flooring that is carefully salvaged and re-used without any additional milling. These boards retain all the wear, scuff marks and original patina that is evidence of years of use. They can be lightly sanded and finished or installed without any additional finishing at all.

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Factory

Our Foundry material is a limited edition product. We typically acquire it in batches of 6,000 to 20,000 square feet. On the occasion that we are able to find a demolition contractor with the skill, resources and patience to remove the flooring from an old factory building (it’s difficult work; I know because I’ve done it), we happily secure all the product that they are able to provide.

Each batch has it’s own individual look.

Here are some images of some recent batches that we’ve had in inventory.

Foundry Floors

Sexy Stuff indeed!