The definition of reclaim is “retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.
When Scott and I began Iler Woods over two years ago, we truly felt like we needed to reclaim our lifestyle, our thoughts, our mission here in the 21st century. We often joke and say we were plopped in the wrong moment in time. We have been told we are old fashioned, that the way we want to live is impossible in the 21st century, or that LA county is a hustle and bustle community, not a slow down your life community.
Well we beg to differ. If you truly want to reclaim your life, reclaim your work, or reclaim your environment, it is a shift in mindset and a shift in the physical world.
And, so it began this journey, to find the quiet within and reclaim our values and share them with our community.
What we have found along the way is that staying true to our “reclaimed materials motto” made a bit of a shift. So, we wanted to take a moment and explain the differences in materials that are used.
Here is what Scott Iler has to say about the different types of wood used in the Iler Woods shop:
Reclaimed lumber can be described as wood taken from its original application and used for something else . Most reclaimed wood comes from old barns or any structure made of wood. We use as much reclaimed lumber as we can on our signature rustic home furnishing projects. We actually used an old cabinet door and created a picture frame with it.
A different type of wood Iler Woods uses is up cycled wood. In a nutshell, up cycling is taking material from an inexpensive pallet (as an example) and using it to create book cases, tables, chairs and so on. One of the very first projects we did with up-cycled wood was to create a pair of gorgeous night stands.
One of the best parts about using reclaimed and upcycled wood is that you never know if it’s going to be a hardwood or softwood (more on that in another blog).
You may ask, “You guys make a lot of products with new wood, I thought you only used reclaimed and upcycled wood."
When we began a little more than 2 years ago our goal WAS to use only reclaimed and upcycled product.
As our business evolved we were being asked to make products that require a food safe material and finish. In comes new wood.
We know for SURE that the new wood we get has been safely dried and is devoid of chemicals, and has never been used. The same goes for the finishes we use on our food trays. Upcycled and reclaimed wood does not offer that sort of history. We don’t know what the pallet we found behind the store was used to transport and it may have been toxic. The same goes with reclaimed wood. Often times people will put a coat of creosote on the wood to make it weather and bug proof. While creosote is a great product it is not great for human consumption.
The virgin wood we use has been responsibly harvested by companies which have a stake in forest management and preservation of open spaces. These are some things necessary and dear to us when we do use new wood.
So, that’s the thick and thin of the types of wood we use. Are we still using reclaimed wood? The answer is yes when we are creating types of furniture, rustic decor, and/or customized items for customers (if that is what they are requesting). Items designed for food display will have new wood.
As for our mission to reclaim 21st century living.
It’s a balancing act! Yes, we have to use new marketing tools (ie. social media and technology since we are an online business) but we hold true that handcrafted, handmade, and simple living can still be achieved. We love our community of artisans can tell us the process of their beautifully made items.
Holding true to slowing down our pace of life. . .Well, I love banging on our 1935 furnace in our basement on cold mornings. It reminds me how lucky I am to have a home with heat. I also am equally in love with my 1930s fireplace in the living room. It grounds me between 21st century and 19th century living. Listening to the sound of a fire crackle on a cold night or give light in a dark room is comforting. It reminds me to not take for granted these simple pleasures.
So, if you want to meet us in person, We would love to have you join us at our Holiday Market on Saturday, November 26th at Grey and Cash in Monrovia! Come see our reclaimed, upcycled, and new wood items in the shop! Enjoy a sip of good cheer and bring a friend or two!