Reclaimed Hand-Hewn lumber is wood that is salvaged from old barns, stables, mills, and other structures built by some of the first settlers. These pieces of wood can be over two hundred years old. Because this wood is a mixed species that has been subjected to decades of weathering and wear, each piece of hand hewn lumber is one of a kind. When settlers ventured to new regions and decided to claim land to farm, they cleared areas to build their homesteads. They used felled trees to do so and did not discriminate among what was available.

What does Hand Hewn Lumber mean?

This is a process that was used by the early settlers to square up timbers. It was done by hand with a tool called an adze. It would take days to complete just a handful of timbers, but the finished product was well worth it. Today there are machines and hand-plane tools that can copy the look, but it does not have the same antique look that original hand-hewn timbers have from the 1800’s.

Where to use Hand Hewn Lumber logs today

Hand hewn wood beams can add an accent of natural ambiance to any room in your home. Because these beams are so strong and durable, you can use them for many things. For instance, fireplace mantels, furniture, shelving, bars, or pillars.

Is your beam truly Hand Hewn?

If you decide to go for this antique rustic look, and spend the time and money to find them, you want to make sure that you have an authentic piece of lumber. How can you tell the difference between manufactured hand -hewn lumber and a truly original piece? Here are some tips:

  • Examine the beam carefully in natural light so that all the patterns of the grain are visible. If you are looking a piece of wood from back in the day, the patterns and markings will be unique and random.
  • Next, look closely at the markings and decipher if it was created by and adze and not machinery. The marks from a mechanical log cutter are quite different and very uniform.
  • Consider the weight if the beams are free. Antique hand -hewn timbers weigh significantly more than modern ones.
  • Another difference between dated hand-hewn timbers and manufactured ones is the edging. Machines leave a sharper and more defined edge, while those created by a craftsmen do not have perfect edges and are often rounded or not complete.

Where to Find Legitimate Hand Hewn Lumber Beams

There are lumber yards that have access to and stock reclaimed hand hewn lumber. You can also find them readily available in architectural antique shops and restoration salvage shops.

Staining

Some people feel that staining reclaimed hand -hewn lumber is disrespecting the authenticity. However, when using this lumber in modern day it may require staining to meld it into your current design to get the look that you want. If you decide to do so, consider the color that you choose because darker stains can cover up the etching.

Some things to keep in mind

Remember that because no two reclaimed hand- hewn timbers will be the same, you will not be able to “match” beams that are used in the same area. Measurements of reclaimed hand- hewn beams can be challenging. Again, because of their character, age, and weathering- finding a beam or beams that meet specific measurements can be difficult. This can pose problems if you are installing them in already defined spaces. Understand that depending on where you are getting your reclaimed hand -hewn beams from, there may be some price discrepancies. If you are getting them from a stockpile in a salvage yard, the price should be relatively consistent. On the other hand, if you are getting them from specialty shops, prices can be a bit higher. If you would like to receive some more information on hand hewn lumber, give us a call! We would be happy to talk with you about such lumber.