All About the Smell
From a distance, every barn we salvage—and the pieces that come from it—looks the same. These run-down structures show the effects of years of neglect and abandonment. The metal roofs are rusted with several pieces flapping in the wind. Under these areas, you can see distinct lines of water damage. The sides show various wear patterns depending on the exposure to the sun and nearby vegetation with a few boards dangling by a single nail. Typically, there is always at least one door barely held on by damaged hinges. Layers of dust coat the entire interior. Even when the boards have been salvaged and placed in our piles with other salvaged materials, they look essentially the same.
If you have noticed from our posts, we always reference where the materials used to build a project originate from. You may ask the question, “How do you know the difference in the boards other than their position in the pile?”. The simple, yet maybe not so obvious, answer is mostly by the smell. While all these barns may look the same from a distance, they once served a variety of useful purposes. In their prominence they housed animals, served as storage for chemicals, feed, and manure, provided an area to work on equipment, etc. Over the course of several years, small debris and a resulting distinct smell was embedded into the boards you have come to know in our projects. Sometimes, it is apparent the moment we grab the boards for use; and in other cases, it may take planing or sanding to catch a whiff of the past.
A lifelong friend and great craftsman has used our material to make some beautiful projects recently. He said his garage smelled like bat crap the first time and the second time like tobacco. That would be the Howle Barn and Dagwood Barn respectively.
It is very satisfying to follow this material from salvaging to processing and building to delivering to each of our clients. Each piece has a character and story that is captured by our senses, something we strive to convey to our clients, while also providing memorable pieces. If you are interested in these materials to assist with your next project or would like a consult for a new piece, please contact us.