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Reclaimed timber: What should you keep and what can be thrown on the bonfire?

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

Old furniture

Although reclaimed wood is currently de rigueur in the world of furniture construction there are still so many who aren't exactly sure of what it is and the benefits to be had from utilising it in this way. At Eat Sleep Live we don’t use anything other than reclaimed wood that’s been sourced from British demolition sites to construct our furniture and we build everything by hand which means that every piece is unique.

The rise in popularity of the use of reclaimed wood in interior design is inextricably linked with growing concern for the environment. As consumers have steadily become more aware of the environmental implications of logging and timber processing, wood sourced in this eco-friendly way is something that they have jumped on board with.  Companies like Eat Sleep Live make wooden furniture environmentally friendly because they use wood that’s come to the end of its life as a home, dock, school, bridge or any other construction and recycle it into something new and desirable.


Why is it so popular?

Reclaimed wooden furniture has become popular not only because of its eco credentials but because items constructed from it appeal to people's sense of history. Each piece has its own tale to tell and having a unique item of furniture in your home with interesting origins serves well as a source of interesting anecdotes, something which can’t be said of high street alternatives.


What style does it suit?

Reclaimed wood will suit any home and style in theory as it can be easily adapted to your design theme . If you prefer lighter furniture over dark then this can often be arranged as most companies offer a selection of colours and finishes to their products - just take a look at our own colour guide – which means that whatever the size and style of décor in your home, reclaimed wooden furniture can be adapted to suit.


How is reclaimed wood sustainable?

Using reclaimed wood gives a retired material a second life which means that the cost of felling new trees is avoided. A lot of firms using reclaimed wooden to create bespoke furniture construct their wares by hand too which cuts down on waste and negates the need for expensive to run machinery that generally leaves a huge carbon footprint.

Official figures from Waste and Resources Action Program suggest that reclaimed wood can actually reduce carbon costs up to 87% compared to using newly felled timber, so not only do you end up with amazing new furniture but you can be happy in the knowledge that essentially it’s improved the environment.

Ecology concept

Burning wood

As bonfire night approaches you’ll probably be collecting wood from around your home and garden and piling it up ready to construct a bonfire. However, before throwing everything on to the fire take a look at the wood you have and consider what you could actually reuse as opposed to burn.

Some types of wood are particularly expensive and you should therefore avoid putting them onto the fire; Oak, Mahogany, Walnut and Sandalwood are all costly to purchase so even if you’ve grown tired of your old table or cabinet, consider how you could give it a new lease of life before subjecting it to incineration on 5 November.

Pine and plywood are generally cheap woods that can be picked up for a fraction of the price of the others and therefore it’s much more acceptable to create a bonfire using these materials. If you’ve got painted wood that you want to burn then you need to be careful as some paints can give off toxic fumes which can be extremely harmful if the fire is restricted in any way. If you are planning to burn painted wood then ensure that the fire is in a very open area such as a field.

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