New vs Recycled Timber Furniture

What is the difference between new and recycled timber furniture?

In creating our custom made furniture, we use both recycled and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified timber.  Both have their place, their positives and their negatives. We love creating recycled Messmate furniture for its unique character of flowing grain lines, variable tones and sap lines.  This type of timber looks beautiful in a luxe industrial style dining room, a modern coastal or naturally styled home.  The low feature new timbers look fantastic when creating a minimalist or Scandinavian style home. Here is a summery to help you choose what it the right timber for your style and budget!

Aesthetic of recycled timber furniture - character filled or clean

Recycled timber has usually been reclaimed from old buildings, bridges and piers.  This timber tends to have been harvested from the wild and because of this, it shows the signs of a harsher life with lots of unique character.  Reclaimed wood tends to have wavy rather than straight grain lines, varied tones, sap line and pockets. The other feature of recycled timber are the markings of its previous use whether it be nail or bolt holes, rust or water staining.   

New timber is usually plantation grown and because of this, it has a sheltered life protected from winds, drought and nutritional deficiencies.  New timber tends to have straight and even grain patterns, a consistent tone and less sap lines and pockets. New timber is the better choice if you wish to have your custom made furniture created with low feature or character.  This is the best choice if you want a Scandinavian or minimalist style for your furniture.  

What is the price difference between new and recycled timber furniture?

Recycled timber is approximately 30% more expensive at the timber yard than the same wood that is newly harvested. This is because of the additional time required when milling the timber to remove nails, bolts as well as to machine it into straight lengths. Wormy Chestnut is a new timber that has the appearance of a recycled timber so a great option for those wanting the look without the price tag.

In the workshop, creating recycled timber furniture is more time consuming than new timber furniture.   This is because we hand fill all of the sap lines, pockets, nail and bolt holes to ensure a totally flat surface. The extra time required for these piece also leads to an additional labour cost.  

Timber availability 

Although a client may come to us with an existing preference for new or recycled timber to create their piece of custom made furniture, we cannot always comply with their request.  We usually only have access to recycled Australian timbers such as Messmate, Jarrah, Blackbutt or Iron Bark.  Timbers that are not native usually haven't been used to create buildings and piers in the past and therefore are not available reclaimed.  

New timbers that we often use to create our custom made furniture are American Oak, Australian Chestnut, Wormy Chestnut and Walnut. These are timbers with tones differing from ash blonde to chocolate brown. The only limitation with these timbers is they are not always available at the thickness that a client desired which is when we need to find something similar in a recycled timber.   

Please contact us here if you wish to discuss creating your own piece of custom made furniture! Alternatively you can call Alison on 0407-906-799.