Reclaimed Wood Beam

DIY reclaimed wood beam

End of January. Cold, grey, windy, and icy outside. A few of my projects are put on hold. They have to wait for a better weather. I am also swamped at work right now. But I want to keep my blog going, so I am going to write about my past upcycling projects for now. Most of them don’t have good pictures, but, IMHO, at least some of them have good ideas. Today I am going to talk about reclaimed wood and how I used it to reface the beam in my living room.

Here in the U.S., reclaimed wood has been a rage for the past few years. An entire new industry sprouted. Industrious people went out into the countryside looking for old, abandoned barns and whatnot, tearing them down and turning the reclaimed wood from those barns into all kinds of things for resale: floors, furniture, beams, you name it. It’s all good. I welcome it. It does not mean I can afford to buy those things, though. Out of curiosity, I checked prices on some of the products made from reclaimed wood at some point. Reclaimed wood flooring prices were more or less double of those for flooring made from sustainably harvested woods such as eucalyptus. $10 per square foot, or more. Really? I understand it takes time to process all this old timber, remove the nails, beautify it, and so on. All this labor factors into the price. However, the way it goes now, using reclaimed wood will never become a reasonable choice for us, average people. It will remain a fad for the rich.

Now that I have vented my frustration with reclaimed wood prices, I admit it looks lovely. So much character and vibrance. I coveted to cover the beam in my living room with it. This very utilitarian-looking, 16-feet long beam consisted, in fact, of three 8×2’s pancaked together. The purpose of the beam was to support the roof. To make it “pretty”, it was painted white. The 8×2’s separated somewhat long before we bought the house and the “beam” sported cracks. Here is how it looked.

wooden beam before

Not wanting to pay $2,500 for a reclaimed wood contraption which would encase the beast (the best price I found on the Internet), I put off the idea for a couple of years. Just tried not to look up. Then, one day, I literally went outside on the deck and started to look around the backyard trying to find something I could use to wrap the beam with. And I found it. The fence. Boards nailed on top of it had all the desirable characteristics of reclaimed wood less being about 20 years old instead of a 100. No matter. Off they came the very next day to be scrubbed, washed, dried, and sealed with polyurethane.

Then I painted the beam in dark brown.

beam painted brownAfter that, I brad-nailed  the “reclaimed” boards to the beam. I bought a Ryobi Airstrike brad nailer specifically for this task. I now have so many uses for it around the house and for my other projects, I have no regrets about buying it.

Hanging 14 feet up in the air with one hand pushing a board in place and the other one brandishing the brad-nailer was kind of scary. That’s not what I was doing in the picture below; I was just painting the wall. It was the same kind of a setup, though. Please be very careful if you attempt to do the same thing. Good ladder or a scaffold is a must.

hanging out there

I started nailing the planks on the sides going bottom up figuring that, if I need to rip the boards to fill the gap on top, it would be less noticeable. It worked out fine. So, after playing a monkey for a few evenings, I was done. This is it. My new reclaimed wood beam.

reclaimed wood beam

Here is my costs’ tally:

  • Reclaimed wood boards – $0
  • Paint – already had it from other projects – $0
  • Telescopic ladder – already had it – $0
  • Polyurethane – already had it – $0
  • Ryobi Airstrike brad nailer – $129
  • Brad nails – about $10
  • So, the total was about $140.

Thanks for checking out my blog!