Reclaimed Factories: Recycling the world’s most rugged and beautiful wood

New England abounds with old factories that hark back to the earliest days of the American Industrial Revolution. Massive brick-and-wood structures that once lined the banks of New England rivers have long since fallen silent, many transformed into condominiums and office space.

But some of these old factories are too far gone for that kind of restoration. Instead, they’re being reclaimed for their beautiful, durable lumber. They are filled with enormous weight-bearing beams hewn from old growth timber and gorgeous wide plank flooring exhibiting the unique wear and coloration that can only come from decades of contact with feet and machinery.

One of the most prized woods found in old factories is long-leaf pine, cut and hauled north from southern forests after the Civil War. Some experts say the Industrial Revolution was built on long-leaf pine which, before steel became available, was considered the most durable building material around. In fact, long leaf pine was used extensively in New York City during the building boom in the late 1800’s – it was even used in the foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Old lumber such as wide plank flooring – including long-leaf pine and other species such as hickory, ash, cherry, walnut, maple, and oak — is sought after for all the reasons we just mentioned. At Bingham Lumber, we spend a lot of time and effort searching for high quality, reclaimed factory lumber, which is usually dense and still full of the valuable resin that helps protect it from rot and insects.

What we find especially attractive about reclaimed wide plank flooring is its random widths. While we love the unique and interesting look the random widths provide to a new floor, we also love that it produces less waste from reprocessing, enabling us to offer our clients a better pricing structure.

Our reclaimed wide plank flooring is fully sourced from reclaimed structures such as old factories and other industrial buildings and can be Forest Stewardship Council-certified upon request.