Reclaimed wine vat oak was mixed with our Settlers’ Plank grade to create this special flooring.
We follow a “made-to-order” philosophy of production. When you place an order for any of our floors or other products, we will generally mill the material just for you, allowing you flexibility in your specifications. Do you need a specific width that is outside of our typical range? A different thickness or alternate milling profile? What about a custom finish? Your needs dictate the product that we create.
Because of this it’s rare that we have leftovers or material on hand and ready to ship.
This floor is pretty much the reclaimed wood trifecta: a unique and desirable source and story, amazing character and quarter sawn boards, and a prefinish to allow for a fast install process.
Once in a while, through various unusual circumstances, we end up with something in our stock that is ready to go if you need something right away…
This reclaimed Settlers’ Plank Oak floor is truly a gem. The 3” wide planks were salvaged from Oak wine vats here in upstate NY. There is wonderful deep, dark staining from the wine running through many of the boards. There is also a very high percentage of quarter sawn material, with bold, stunning ray fleck running through the pieces. And it’s pre-finished with a rich, warm, three coat tung oil finish (an all botanical product that we buy from a great manufacturer in Vermont – more on that in a later post).
Occasionally we have “extra” square footage from a custom milled floor. 125 sq ft of this mixture of wine vat oak and our Settlers’ Plank grade is ready to go today.
We have 125 sf available to ship right away. Give us a call to talk about the details…
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking about our kiln in the context of conservation (we use our scraps to fire our kiln, lessening our waste- how cool!) but you might wonder why our kiln is such a big deal at all.
“Pioneer Millworks, why do you dry your wood?”, we’re asked, “If it’s reclaimed, doesn’t that mean it’s already pretty dry?” “Why do I care if it’s dried when I can buy reclaimed barn siding somewhere else for one dollar per square foot?!”
All good questions!
The kiln at our Farmington, NY location is running day and night, all year long.
Our production team uses moisture meters to determine the moisture content of our reclaimed materials. There are different requirements for boards and timbers due to the material thickness.
We dry all of the wood that we process into our beautiful reclaimed flooring, siding and wall paneling for a couple of very important reasons. While it is true that reclaimed wood does tend to be drier than fresh sawn products, the raw materials we use are exposed to environmental moisture both at the original site and here at our facility. This means the wood is not quite as dry as it could be, and probably not as dry as your home, or office or restaurant. Our reclaimed planks are dried to a 6%-9% moisture content and ultimately this means that the material is more dimensionally stable when you receive it at your job site. Wet wood shrinks when it loses moisture, and the more moisture it has to lose, the more dramatic the change. This shrinkage can result in cracking and buckling after installation. While all wood expands and contracts as it absorbs and loses a small percentage of moisture over the course of the seasons, it is the significant change that can cause the greatest problems or possible installation failure.
Our reclaimed boards are stacked and “stickered” prior to drying in the kiln- small pieces of wood are placed in between the layers as the boards are stacked to allow the heated air of the kiln to circulate around the material.
Drying the material also helps us maintain our quality milling. With a consistent moisture content, we can generally be assured that we won’t have a batch of flooring that moves or shrinks to a greater degree than another while it is waiting to be milled or after the milling process.
The other big reason that we take kiln drying so seriously is the possibility of insect infestation. No one wants to think about bugs in their barn siding, but old wood will very likely have, at some point, insects living in or on it. It’s not a very exciting thing to talk about, but it’s a very real concern in the reclaimed wood industry.
The high heat of the kiln drives out and kills any insects that may be inhabiting our reclaimed materials. Kiln drying, like all of the other parts of our production process contributes to material cost, but also ensures that reclaimed floor or paneling you install is product that you will be satisfied with. And we really, really don’t want you to accidentally bring insects into your home (or office, or restaurant – yuck!).
Powder Post Beetles are among the insects that we commonly find evidence of in reclaimed wood. The telltale holes and trails give the planks wonderful character – after the bugs are gone.
Kiln drying is critical to the quality and value of our products and just one of the many ways we differ from others in the reclaimed wood market. What other questions do you have about our processes and methods? Is there anything else you’re curious about? We love to talk about our products and what sets us apart from the rest…
Brian Dwyer and the other founders of Pizza Brain. From left: Ryan Anderson, Joseph Hunter, Brian Dwyer and Michael Carter. (Photo by Brian Dwyer)
Brian Dwyer has earned himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as a purveyor of the largest collection of pizza memorabilia. Incorporating our reclaimed wood into his one-of-a-kind project also earned him a spot here, on our blog.
Brian and his partners recently opened the world’s first pizza museum and pizzeria in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia called Pizza Brain. I got the chance to work with them on their totally unique project.
I met the Pizza Brain team early on in the construction process and it was clear to me they wanted to incorporate as much reclaimed material as they could back into the museum/restaurant.
Our Settlers Plank reclaimed mixed hardwood flooring joined a tin ceiling which had been reclaimed from a nearby church, and the team even used discarded pianos to build the pizza bar! There is truly a long list of reclaimed products throughout the space – and that’s not even counting the pizza museum memorabilia pieces.
I stopped by the other day (captured a few images) and had lunch with one of the owners. Great food!!
Display cases built into the floor house pizza memorabilia which are frequently rearranged and refreshed. (The display case in the floor near me housed pizza related dolls!)
As I sat eating a piece of pizza, I noticed my eyes were drawn to the floor. And it wasn’t just because of the rich browns, golds, tans, reds – the original wear marks, knots, saw marks, nail holes – but I was enamored with the display cases which are recessed into the floor. There are several displays scattered in the Settlers Plank mixed hardwoods. Each hold various pieces of pizza history and commercialization. They add to the uniqueness of this place.
Settlers’ Plank reclaimed mixed hardwoods offered just the right texture, durability, history, and visual interest the Pizza Brain team was looking for.
Brian Dwyer plans on constantly rotating the museum collection within the space, so each visit will be different from the last. The next time I’m in for a slice, I can’t wait to glance at the floor and see what’s on display.
Pizza Brain is connected to Little Baby’s Ice Cream that also incorporated the Settlers Plank mixed hardwoods reclaimed flooring throughout their parlor. They offer plenty of unusual ice cream flavors including, of course, “pizza”. On my next visit, I plan on sampling the Maryland barbecue flavor which combines Old Bay mixed with barbecue sauce. Sounds delicious!
I had never been to Denver, except for a prolonged visit to the airport several years ago. So last month, I flew out to meet some people and see some of Pioneer Millworks‘ finished work. Even though many commercial and retail projects are consistent from one location to the next, it is always gratifying to see how our reclaimed wood is integrated with other aspects of design.
My first stop was a small womens clothing store that opened a couple of years back – No doubt, the floor has gotten better with age. Even the staff at the store knows it!
Old paint, scratches, dents & dings, and absolutely beautiful.
Salvaged from a factory in Michigan, the occasional stripes of paint help to make the floor come to life, along with the scratches and dents imparted by decades of use. Sometimes the floors aren’t the only things with stories to tell. A woman that works at the store explained that just days before my visit, a newlywed couple had come in twice – first on their own, and second with their interior designer – to look at the flooring and use it in their new home. We love it when a design makes that kind of an impression.
Just down the corridor is another gem, where the floor was crafted from Yellow Pine planks recycled from a grain mill in Arkansas. A trend in both residential and commercial design is to celebrate the beauty of imperfection, which this floor does exceptionally.
Surprisingly smooth from years of use
The undulating surface, tonal differences from one plank to the next, and even some subtle texture caused by years of grain rushing past, makes for a perfect backdrop for the clothing. Some of the fixtures in the store make use of our reclaimed Douglas Fir as well.
Though I didn’t need any makeup, I dropped by this cosmetics store, which uses our barn siding on the exterior of many of their new locations. The dark and rich tones in the barnwood are selected such that when installed, the brightly lit interior of the store stands out. At the same time, the siding creates a highly textured facade that keeps the continuity of natural materials and products.
Variegated colors, textures, and signs of previous – quite a contrast to the surroundings!
Lastly, I noticed some familiar looking shutters made with our Attic Collection reclaimed softwoods. These are a great example of our capabilities beyond floors and walls, having been fabricated in our own shop. Even though these are heavily whitewashed, the randomized texture from the original and planed surfaces is a crucial part of the overall design. This variation breaks up the color of the shutters to help them stand out from the background wall color.
Shutters? Yep – we make those too!
Denver, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, is well served by either of our two locations. This helps to keep shipping costs down, with a faster lead time on a broader selection of products. If you have a chance to stop by the local shopping malls in the Mile High City, feel free to check out these stores for yourself. I’m hopeful that not long from now, we’ll have more projects to share.