Excerpt from “Woodworks – The New 3Rs – Reclaim, Recycle, Renew”

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Excerpt from “Woodworks – The New 3Rs – Reclaim, Recycle, Renew”
By: Carolyn Koenig, San Francisco Magazine: Marin at Home, Homestyle Section, Fall, 2003

Black’s Farmwood
“The reason to use reclaimed wood is its quality and character,” says Michael Black, owner of Black’s Farmwood, Marin’s reclaimed wood pioneer. “Each piece of wood is different; it has a pedigree, a story.” But, he adds, using reclaimed wood also helps preserve our diminishing forests.

Black began his vintage and recycled wood business in 1999, spurred by serendipity. He had been working on a construction job in Novato prior to embarking on a PhD in clinical psychology, when his grandmother in Ohio called to say her old tobacco barn had blown down. He thought the barn timber would be perfect for the bath and pool house job, the homeowner loved the wood, and word quickly spread about his high-quality, weathered “farmwood.” Black then made the decision to develop new lumber sources and change his career path to satisfy a growing interest in recycling.

Although the company remains small, its client list certainly isn’t. Black’s Farmwood works with numerous Marin homeowners and architects, wineries such as Sterling Vineyards and Lytton Springs, and restaurateurs such as Wolfgang Puck, who recently purchased wood for a new bistro in Hollywood.

Today, to produce his 100 percent vintage and recycled timber, Black calls on a network of suppliers and two mills, one in Kentucky and one in New York. The timber – which is available in styles from wide plank, character-grade flooring to antique hand-hewn beams and barn-wood paneling – is harvested from barns, riverbeds, and old deconstructed buildings throughout the country.

“We’ll never see the likes of this wood again,” he says.