The reclamation process begins with sourcing our wood from local barns, buildings, industrial mills, and other sites throughout the American Northeast. Most of our reclaimed lumber is sourced from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and other nearby states.
Before we begin the removal process, we carefully inspect the wood to determine its condition and assess the overall quality of the wood to ensure it meets our standards. If the wood is deemed quality, we begin the process of carefully dismantling the structure and sorting pieces by species and variety. Examining growth rings, density, color, and graining helps us determine what type of wood we are working with.
Once the wood is transported to our mill, we begin the process of carefully de-nailing to remove any old nails, bolts, screws, or other debris left over from its previous life. The de-nailing process is done by hand with the help of a metal detector, to ensure the rustic quality of the wood is carefully maintained.
After the wood is de-nailed, the wood is rough sawn into planks approximately the size of the finished planks. Size, weight, species, and grain have to be taken into account during the rough sawing process to ensure we get the best cuts from the reclaimed lumber.
Before heading to the kiln, we sort and grade the rough sawn lumber to determine what will become wide plank flooring and what will become grade lumber. Our lumber grades include select grade, common grade, and character grade, with character grade flooring offering the most rustic appearance. Southern Vintage mills each grade from the same high-quality lumber, so you always receive the best cuts of wood, no matter which grade you prefer.
Once the lumber is sorted, it heads off to the kiln where it is dried to a 6-8% moisture content before being milled. Using circulating heated air, excess moisture is removed from the reclaimed lumber to prevent warping or buckling in the finished product. With the kiln drying process, we can control the temperature, humidity, and steam levels to ensure we reach the desired moisture content levels quicker and more evenly.
To ensure our wood is up to the highest quality standards, we sort and grade the reclaimed boards once again after the kiln drying process is completed. This time around, we ensure any splitting, cracking, or insect activity is removed that could weaken the wood.
With the reclaimed wood at the correct moisture content and carefully inspected, it’s ready to move on to the milling process. The wood is run through a jointer and planer, then rip cut lengthwise to the specified width. The milling process ensures consistent thickness and width among each board. Because we begin with high-quality lumber, we are able to offer some of the longest plank lengths in the industry.
Using precision tools, each reclaimed wood plank is refined and molded with a tongue and groove profile, which allows for seamless installation. Because our flooring is end-matched, the boards lock together on all four sides, hiding any nails or screws and creating a clean look. Our end-matched boards also reduce waste during the installation and provide more stability and a stronger joint.
Once our reclaimed boards are milled to perfection, they move on to the finishing process. We carefully sand the wood and apply hand-crafted textures, stains, and finishes. We offer a variety of textures and finishing options so you can craft a style completely unique to your home.
Before your new reclaimed wood flooring is shipped to your home or business, we hand-inspect each piece to ensure it meets our Southern Vintage standard. The finished flooring is then packaged and shipped out — ready to install into its new home for generations to come.
Once a beam in a farmer’s barn, a supporting joist for a warehouse roof, or a hand-hewn girder in a stable, no two pieces of reclaimed wood are exactly alike. Harvested decades ago from slow-growth virgin timber, our reclaimed wood flooring offers authenticity and patina that cannot be duplicated today.