Recycled wood furniture, often referred to as Reclaimed wood furniture, is a sustainable and eco-friendly furniture solution found in many furniture stores these days in various shapes, sizes, colours and textures.
With the world attempting to reduce its carbon emissions, eco-conscious consumers are looking for environmentally friendly options. As a result, Recycled Wood Furniture has emerged, and suppliers are stocking more recycled Pine furniture.
In a study conducted in 2020 on the Eco-Friendly Furniture Market, the proponents valued the market size of the eco-friendly furniture market at USD 35.2 billion in 2019. According to the study, this was a result of the rising adoption of sustainable materials in producing furniture as a means to support the environment. They also add that a growing drive for environmentally-friendly housing projects across the world and eco-friendly furniture fit in quite well in this trend.
What Does Recycled or Reclaimed Furniture Mean?
Any wood species can be used in reclaimed or recycled furniture as long as it has had a prior use, such as buildings, structures, pallets, bridges, mineshafts, old houses, barns, and industrial buildings.
No wood is cut down specifically for the use of making furniture, and the wood has had a prior use to becoming furniture. The wood used should have avoided any heavy environmental impact which logging can cause and be free of old-growth timber.
What Are The Most Common Species Used in Recycled Furniture?
Species used in recycled and reclaimed wood furniture including the following:
- Pine: This is softwood and very versatile, abundant, and cost-effective. The grain is quite defined and working with Pine is quite straightforward. The finishes you can get with Pine are very diverse and effective; it is the most common of reclaimed wood used for furniture.
- Oak: A more costly solution but the results are impressive. Oak is more difficult to work with being hardwood and must be carefully controlled in the MC levels as it is easier to crack and warp than pine.
- Elm A similar wood to Oak requires more care in the moisture content levels, and the finishes on elm are more limited. It is not as widely used as Pine and Oak due to the availability and limited finishes that can be achieved.
In the case of Arin International, we mainly use Recycled Pine in our Vietnam production.
How Does Recycled Wood Get Processed Into Furniture?
Once the wood is delivered to the factory, the process of de-nailing and cleaning begins. This is labour intensive and takes time to process.
After processing the recycled wood, its moisture content must be ascertained; then, the wood planks are prepared for the kiln drying process by stacking each wood plank on pallets with around 2-3cm space between each plank.
Kiln drying is an essential part of the process. If not processed through kiln drying properly, recycled wood furniture will crack, split and warp once it is delivered to the consumer.
This is because kiln drying removes excess moisture in the wood. Depending on the type of wood you are trying to use, the process can take hours and up to months.
Once the wood comes out of the kiln and is checked, the moisture content or MC is under 12%, the selection of wood planks can begin. Any planks with large knots will be discarded or repaired if possible, as large knots can become loose and fall out over time.
Planks with an excess of nail holes will also be discarded, or the areas with fewer nail holes will be cut out and used for smaller, more detailed areas of the furniture pieces.
After selection, the planing and sanding process begins to bring the planks into a uniform size and shape, making them easy for furniture production. From here, the planks go through any shaping that the furniture design requires. This involves being put through various shaping machines.
Once the planks are shaped, they need to join together to make tabletops for coffee tables, dining tables, media units, and the like. This joining together can happen in usually two ways. One technique used is called the tongue and groove or T&G construction method, which involves each plank being glued together where the tongue refers to a protruding piece of wood from the side of the plank. This tongue then fits into a cutout piece of wood on the other plank, much like a wood floor is laid in your home.
The second way to join the tabletops is to laminate them together. This involves the planks going into a lamination press where glue is applied to each side of the wood and held in the press for a certain amount of hours for each section.
Once the recycled components are completed, the assembling of the components can begin.
Other Components Used in the Production of Recycled Furniture:
It is important to consider the other components used in the manufacturing process to be aligned with the environmental and sustainable message we are discussing, for example, if the manufacturer uses MDF or other composite materials, or if the glue is not water-based, or if the finishing is oil-based it is our opinion the environment and sustainable aspect of the furniture will be compromised. The message is diluted and misleading for the consumer.
The other components should be aligned with the solid and recycled aspect that furniture is being built with, and other materials used should be as natural as possible. This can be achieved by using water-based finishes, water-based glues, use reclaimed woods as backboards and drawer bases, and avoidance of MDF and other composite materials.
While all of this contributes to the premium price of the end-product, it is a justifiable expense. It all leads toward keeping the products as environmentally friendly as possible. This, coupled with multiple reports of MDF producing toxic fumes, makes the idea of using recycled wood furniture more enticing.
Recycled Wood Furniture is The Best Eco-Friendly Option
Recycled wood furniture made from materials that may be Pine, Oak, Elm, or other wood species as long as they have had a prior use to becoming furniture can be classed as reclaimed or recycled furniture.
The components used should be as natural as possible, avoid composite or heavily processed materials, and have a water-based finish.
Today’s consumer is more aware of the world push to reduce greenhouse emissions and the effect we are having on our environment recycled wood furniture fits into the social conscious of today’s consumer.
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