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.
Over the past few months we’ve received an overwhelming number of pictures from our customers of their home projects. Some are new construction homes, some are small renovations but all of them are impressive and exciting and we wanted to show off their amazing work! Here is a collection of these pictures and some links to the products they used at the bottom of the page.
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.
As the popularity of reclaimed lumber grows, we see more and more individuals walking through our doors with inspirational photos from Pinterest, Houzz, and various HGTV programs for their weekend project. These tools are priceless to us, as they give us a clear picture of what you’re looking for. The challenge has always been to give you a clear picture of what the reclaimed lumber could turn into and we think we have achieved just that with our new racks and displays.
At Bingham Lumber we are able to yield an extremely high percentage of usable fiber from the salvaged timbers, roofing boards, and barn boards. The reason we are able to be an industry leader in percentageis the way we approach the milling process. We rely on our 70 years of sawmill experience to use different techniques to increase the usage of this recycled fiber.Continue reading “The Reclaimed Story”→
The face of Bingham Lumber has changed but the heart and soul of the company hasn’t. The team consists of family and several employees with 20+ years of experience, integrated from three generations. The team is determined that Bingham Lumber will continue to evolve as the times dictate, never losing sight of Don Bingham’s creed initiated seventy years ago: Quality lumber at a fair price.