George and I have been working on a new project that I have to keep my lips zipped on, but I’ll give you a hint: it involves barn wood! We love working with barn wood because it’s cheaper than new wood, it’s recycled and it has a great look. (Side note: the best deals on barn wood are usually on good ol’ Craigslist. That’s where we purchased our wood.)
But barn wood has also been sitting out in the elements for many, many years and it may be dirty or even downright unusable. We can fix dirty, but we can’t fix termite or carpenter ant or bee damage. Always remember to check your wood for bugs! We once built a table in the winter with barn wood, then in the Spring started to hear buzzing. There were dormant carpenter bees in our table! Do’h!
Once upon a time we used barn wood from our family farm, but we’ve just recently run out. So we met with a sweet and enthusiastic barn wood dealer on Craigslist. And he let us in on the secret to cleaning barn wood. Use a grill brush to clean the wood. It’s genius really.
With a grill brush you can keep the integrity of the wood, but knock off some of the old dirt and grime. Simply scrub with the grain and use the same motion that you’d clean a grill with. We used a brush with two types of scrubbies: similar available here*, but the type of scrubbie doesn’t make much of a difference.
The grill brush enhances the grain in the wood and you can control how much you want to take off. It a simple project, but makes a noticeable impact. And those are the best kind of projects.
Have you ever used reclaimed barn wood in your home projects? I’d love to see pictures of your creations! Just post a link in the comments.