Reclaimed Wood vs Sustainably Harvested Wood

Reclaimed Wood Barns

Here at Viridian, we know a thing or two about wood and pride ourselves in our FSC certified as well as reclaimed old-growth product lines. We speak for the trees and that language is sustainability. Something that comes up often in conversation between us and our clientele, as well as our community, is the difference between reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood. We think that is a great question and love to get people thinking about the importance of understanding where wood comes from.

What is reclaimed wood?

The look and feel of wood has been hardwired into our brains to evoke a feeling of security and comfort. As our ancestors transitioned from raising families under canopies or inside caves, living in structures made from harvested and salvaged wood became a part of early life and remain a part of life today. In the modern age, we build our habitable spaces with all manner of things but harvested, salvaged, and reclaimed wood remain a staple in interior and exterior design.

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Historically, Viridian Wood products feature reclaimed material from an array of unique outlets. A large portion of our most popular products have lived a past life in the form of functional structures like backyard fences lining huge plots of land or granary mills erected before sliced bread was available everywhere. The longevity of the wood’s past life not only creates a glowing patina that is impossible to recreate, it also gives our products a stability that is unique to reclaimed wood. This means that this wood is extremely unlikely to warp or bend when made into a refined piece of paneling or furniture. This is a huge advantage as wood is a living material even once it ceases to be a tree. It is prone to growing or shrinking depending on the humidity of its environment. Resultantly, without the proper treatment and handling, a table here in Portland, Oregon is a slightly different size and shape than that same table in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Reclaimed Wood vs Sustainably Sourced Wood

Reclamation remains a cornerstone of our business and we are beyond proud of the uniquely distinguished products we are able to provide thanks to the special properties of the wood we source and recycle. To meet the needs of our customers, we have begun branching out into other responsibly derived hardwoods. Our FSC certified product lines come from acres of land that are managed intensively by the Forest Stewardship Council. Among a strict criteria of harvesting practices, the FSC’s definitive principle is to plant seedlings faster than a mature tree can be harvested. The logging practices are meticulous and gentle on these plots of land in order to maintain a low impact on the land as a whole. The careful maintenance of the forest through their programs allows the ecosystems existing in the forest to flourish while leaving room for producing material for us and the businesses we serve. 

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We are a careful lot, who care about being a responsible resource for our customers and our community. It is no secret that wood is a finite resource that is to be preserved and cared for. While our company is founded on a principle of reclaiming and recycling, FSC certification applied to all of our purposefully sourced products along with our Forest Foundation partnership are our way of giving back to the forests when reclamation is an unfit option. These are two clearly different modes of procurement and both of them serve our environment in different ways.

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Viridian was founded in 2005 with the goal to “make it easy, affordable and inspiring for designers to build beautiful and healthy environments with sustainable wood.”  Choosing a reclaimed wood table reduces the demand for new lumber, and Viridian partners with the National Forest Foundation to plant a tree in a US National Forest for every table made.