There is an upside to having to spend time at home with kids during the current coronavirus pandemic – you have the opportunity to spend some quality time with them and help them learn new skills, such as woodworking. There are hundreds of simple, easy-to-do woodworking projects that kids can tackle mostly – if not entirely — by themselves. A few might require an adult to step in and provide some assistance, especially if there is a power tool involved. But for the most part, kids can get the chance to measure and cut wood; hammer, glue, or screw parts together; learn how to use paint or stain; and end up making a useful, even fun product for themselves or someone they love.
Here are three kid-friendly woodworking projects that are perfect for a wide range of youngsters:
With a history dating back over 400 years, New England has no shortage of old things, including many old buildings full of beautiful, high quality architectural items such as wide-plank flooring, wonderfully distressed barn siding, massive beams and other elements that can be put to good use in new, renovated, and restored homes.
One element in particular often gets overlooked when people salvage materials from old buildings – windows. This is a shame because windows are highly useful, versatile features that can be repurposed for almost unlimited new uses.
Here are just a few basic window-repurposing ideas that can be simple and easy DIY projects for homeowners of all skill level:
Renovating an older home can be a daunting task, but if you’ve been blessed with ownership of a house built in the late 19th or early 20th century – such as an old farmhouse or country home – you have the opportunity to update it while reinforcing the charm and old-timey look of wood that is no longer available in the modern lumber industry.
Beautiful old wood detailing such as tongue-and-grove ceilings, wide plank flooring, exposed support beams, and horizontal lapboard siding, can often be restored to its original splendor with just a good cleaning, light sanding, and a transparent finish to bring out the inherent character of the wood or a fresh coat of paint to brighten it up.
Wood that has suffered over the years can be replaced with reclaimed and recycled wood harvested from old buildings slated for demolition. In fact, a lot of reclaimed wood not being used for flooring can often be left pretty much alone, except for the previously-mentioned cleaning, and be used in a variety of new roles, such as cabinetry, wall paneling, and accent pieces. Even mismatched pieces can be used as decorative paneling and kitchen island construction, creating a dramatic, creative statement that complements your home.
Reclaimed wood from old barns, houses, and other structures has become popular for a number of good reasons – it’s a great way to reuse a valuable resource; old wood is often of higher quality than modern, new lumber; and every piece of reclaimed wood has a unique character and look from wear and tear, to name a few.
While reclaimed barnboard, paneling, and flooring are favorites for bigger projects such as antique hardwood floors and accent walls, it’s also ideal for smaller, do-it-yourself projects regardless of your woodworking skill level.
For example, an old, weathered plank makes a perfect farmhouse-style window treatment. Simply select a piece that appeals to you, such as one from our reclaimed wide plank paneling, cut it to fit over your window, screw it into place, and attach evenly-spaced 1¼” vinyl-coated cup hooks to hang a sheer tab curtain. Then tie or drape your curtains to suit your taste and room décor. It’s that easy!
Floating wood shelves are a sleek, modern way to showcase beautiful wood while providing a very utilitarian way to display and store items. Featuring hidden shelf brackets that fit snugly and securely into a wall stud and holes drilled into the shelf, floating shelves are relatively easy to install with a few common tools and some accurate measuring.
Start with a piece of solid wood at least one inch thick and five inches deep. Here at Bingham Lumber we have plenty of beautiful, reclaimed lumber from old barns and houses that would make ideal floating shelving that’s practical and attractive for any room. Depending on the length of the shelf, you’ll need at least two floating shelf brackets, available in just about any hardware store for less than ten dollars a pair.
Underfloor heating, known as radiant heating, is a type of heating system (as the name implies) that is installed under flooring, eliminating the need for unsightly radiators or warm air ducting that must be cut into ceilings, walls, and floors. Radiant heating may be either hydronic (water/fluid flowing through pipes) or electric (electric resistance heating elements).
The comfort level of the floor surface is the key to determining what temperature is necessary to achieve proper comfort. Building occupants – especially homeowners who might be more inclined to walk around without shoes — may feel uncomfortable with floor surfaces that are too warm or too cool.
To provide adequate comfort, many factors must be taken into account, including the size of the room, the construction of the home, R-value of the windows, HVAC systems, the number and age of the occupants, and the interior finishes that may be directly affected by these requirements.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of our great little town, Brookline, New Hampshire. Although, we weren’t always Brookline – when the town was first chartered back in 1769, it was named Raby by New Hampshire Governor John Wentworth after his English cousin, the 4th Earl of Strafford and Baron of Raby Castle.
Almost thirty years later the town was renamed Brookline at the suggestion of a highly imaginative leading citizen originally hailing from Brookline, Massachusetts. Consistent with a trend that existed throughout New England since it was first settled, newly established towns and villages were often named for the place from which the settlers came, sometimes – in a fit of creativity – adding “New” to it, such as New Braintree, Massachusetts and New Britain, Connecticut. In this case, it took almost three decades for someone to make the suggestion to name Brookline after Brookline MA.
And while Bingham Lumber isn’t 250 years old (yet) we have a historic past, too. Our owner, Tom Bingham, is the latest in a long line of lumbermen in his family. His great grandfather and great uncle owned a wood-turning and custom wood shop and both his grandfathers owned sawmills. The second Bingham generation (Tom’s father, aunt and uncle) moved their mill, Bingham Lumber, from Fitchburg, MA here to Brookline in 1973. The mill grew and thrived until 2000 when the tides changed for the sawmill industry in New Hampshire.
Do It Yourself home improvement is a growing phenomenon these days as the internet abounds with do-it-yourself (DIY) websites, blogs, forums, social media and other ways for individuals to check out cool DIY projects such as handicrafts, woodworking, and even furniture-making.
Maybe you’ve even decided you’d like to try your hand at your very own DIY project. After all, winter’s a great time to do a little research, look around, and check out an interesting project or two to start in the spring. Perhaps you saw a beautiful table, bookcase, chair, or sign on Pinterest or Instagram. So how do you get started?
First, think about the kind of wood you’ll need for your project and what you’d like to use – there are hardwoods and softwoods in a variety of textures, grains, and colors. There’s new lumber and beautiful reclaimed lumber – decades or even centuries-old, high-quality panels, planks, and timbers from old homes, barns, and other buildings. Here at Bingham Lumber we procure the finest reclaimed lumber from respected sources throughout the Northeast to ensure the highest quality and then we remill it for a wide range of uses.
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.
A wood floor — especially one crafted from vintage, reclaimed, wide-plank lumber – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s one of durability when properly cared for. Wood flooring that has received a quality finish using an appropriate finishing product is relatively easy to care for and will provide many years of use and pleasure.
A little knowledge goes a long way in maintaining your wood floors, so get to know your specific type of flooring and finish and rely on the manufacturer’s or supplier’s instructions for proper care. Research your particular finish so you’ll know which cleaners can be used without damaging your floor or finish. Never use cleaners designed for other surfaces such as tile, lineoleum, or laminate on hardwood — these will dull the surface or cause it to become overly slippery,
Sweep your floors regularly with a soft broom – this will not only keep them clean but also naturally buff the surface of the flooring and keep it from scratching – and use a dry towel whenever possible to wipe up messes and spills. Use as little water as possible and immediately wipe up any wet spots. Do NOT use oil soaps because they will leave residue, build up, and eventually dull the surface, making refinishing difficult.
Throughout the Mid-West and up and down the eastern seaboard lives a deep rooted history in agriculture and farming that has existed since the arrival of the first American settlers. The result is a landscape that has been dotted with beautiful old barns steeped in American history and use that has imbued them with character, charm and unique features. These features are the reason for the recent increase in popularity of reclaimed barn siding, paneling, and the overall use of reclaimed materials in new construction.
There are a number of reasons to recycle old lumber from reclaimed barns, starting with the recycled wood’s unique characteristics:
Physical Appearance- There is nothing on the market today that compares to reclaimed barn wood. Many of these old barns were built over a hundred years ago using virgin timber that no longer exists. Much of this wood has been gently weathered and features unique coloring, beautiful grain patterns and knot structure, insect markings, and nail holes that add character and charm to the wood. Properly handled and processed for modern use, the beauty and functionality of recycled lumber is unmatched.
Years ago, wall-to-wall carpeting was viewed by many as the ultimate flooring for new homes – a vast expanse of soft, warm, cushiony flooring that seemed ideal for young families moving into new homes in the suburbs.
However, hardwood flooring has seen a revival in recent years as homeowners have rediscovered the beauty and value of durable, attractive, versatile hardwood that remains long after carpeting has worn out and faded. Today, hardwood flooring is recognized as a highly-sought-after, top-quality flooring that maintains its value over the years and helps homes appraise higher and sell faster than homes with synthetic carpeting. Also, many individuals with allergies and asthma have turned to hardwood flooring over carpet because of the reduction in allergens associated.
If you’re a builder or buyer looking for high quality hardwood flooring, there are two types in particular that are popular but can be confusing because of their relatively similar look and names: hardwood strip flooring and hardwood plank flooring. We’ll explain the difference here and why plank flooring is the better overall value.