It started with Andrew Edens tearing down an old barn to reuse the old lumber. Now his shop features a variety of vintage wood and it all has a story.
Knoxville company reclaims old wood for new uses. Jim Martin and Emily Stroud
(WBIR-North Knoxville) If you want to build something out of wood, you could always head down to your local hardware store or big box retailer to find some two by fours.
If you want another option, you could go to a specialty store to find wood that's rare. It's not just old, it's vintage.
All the wood at Smoky Mountain Vintage Lumber was once a tree and then something else.
"It's nice to use a piece of wood that's been used for something else and then reclaim it so it has another life after I get done using it," Andrew Edens said.
The owner is a marketing guy and a woodworker who has a passion for reusing vintage wood.
"It started with one barn I took down in Bulls Gap. After that we tore down another seven barns," he said.
His inventory has expanded to include old buildings, beams, siding and even floors.
He picked up some grooved boards and said, "So this was gymnasium flooring laid in Mount Olive Elementary School. And it's actually milled locally at the Vestal, which is an Appalachian sawmill."
To the untrained eye the stacks of wood may look like old boards but to Andrew Edens it's actually wood with a story.
He admired another stack and said, "These are the reclaimed floor joists that were in the Nabisco building, built in 1917 in and these were the floor joists in there. And this is what they looked like prior to planing down and then after you plane them down it's just some of the most gorgeous wood I've seen in a long time."
Some tobacco baskets came from Paducah, Kentucky and Morristown, Tennessee.
"They would put their tobacco in there to showcase it to local buyers," he explained.
A few small gray doors leaned against a post. "These horse doors are from Jefferson City and they're the old blacksmith hinges that were hand made," he said.
He noticed another stack and his eyes lit up. "Now we reclaimed this out of a hotel in West Knoxville. People love the Chestnut and so do I. So it's not barn wood but it's been reclaimed. And they don't make of course Wormy Chestnut anymore."
He said most of the lumber is 80 to 120 years old.
"It's funny everybody says their barn, oh how old is it? Oh it's a hundred years old. So 1914 must have been a busy year in the barn business because everybody says, how old it it? Oh it's about a hundred years old," he said.
He planed some of the old wood to create a smooth surface and uncover the original beauty.
"It always surprises me what the wood looks like. But generally it's always a good surprise," he said. "You can't find grain patterns like this in new lumber anymore."
You can find those old grain patterns and more at Smoky Mountain Vintage Lumber.
"It really has a life behind it and now of course I am making something so it has a life in front of it as well which makes me proud to be part of it," he said.