Frequently Asked Questions
Sooo what exactly is reclaimed wood?
Reclaimed wood, also known as salvaged, repurposed, recycled or antique wood, generally refers to milled beams that were taken from demolished buildings and then reused for other purposes such as furniture construction. These planks will generally have mill marks, nail holes and other unique vestiges from the boards' previous lives.
Why do you use recycled wood?
Mainly because it feels better. Almost any new lumber you'll purchase these days is grown in ecologically sensitive areas or unsustainable tree farms that use an extensive amount of energy and resources to harvest, process and ship products. At Parkman Woodworks we only use wood that has been recovered locally, which decreases the waste output on nearly every level of the supply chain.
We also exclusively use beams from Los Angeles structures that are at least 75 years old, which are known as "old-growth" boards. These older planks were harvested during a time before tree farms were common in the area, which means they were cut down from natural, ancient forests with much older trees. Farms these days always timber their trees at a very young age, so they're not given the time to mature and become more dense and intricate. By using these boards our products turn out more durable, straight and dazzling.
Which species of repurposed wood do you use?
Douglas-fir. If someone is mentioning reclaimed wood on the West Coast they're almost certainly referring to Douglas-fir, which was the dominant choice for structural framing lumber at the beginning of the 20th century.
Douglas-fir is not a pine, and technically isn't even a fir; it's actually its own species and is much denser and more durable than either pine or fir. In addition to its hardness, Douglas-fir is an incredibly stable wood, which makes it very resistant to warping and bending.
Where do you get your salvaged lumber?
We retrieve all of our reclaimed lumber from demolition companies who exclusively operate in Los Angeles County. An important part of our business is cultivating relationships with these local companies who will sell us large quantities of salvaged boards at discounted rates. This sort of bulk purchasing allows us to keep our prices in line with online or big box furniture stores while providing a locally handmade product.
How's this work?
How long does my furniture take to build?
Our turnaround time, or "lead time," as they say in the biz, is generally about 4-6 weeks. The exact timeline will depend upon the scope of your project and how busy our workshop is when you place your deposit. We'll always be as straightforward as possible during the initial quoting phase and we'll nearly always hit our goal.
If you know you'd like to get the clock started but you haven't quite ironed out all the details yet, that's just fine. Your piece will be in a queue before we start building, so we can get the deposit in now to get the ball rolling and then nail down the specifics over the next week or two.
How much is the deposit?
We work on a 50% deposit, with the remaining balance due upon completion or delivery of your piece.
Our account managers will let you know exactly how much the deposit amount will be. When paying through our emailed Quickbooks link, the full payment amount will be shown by default. Simply delete this amount and type in the specified deposit amount. You can process the payment by entering your bank account or card information into QuickBooks' secured and encrypted system.
A 3% processing fee will be added to payments made with a debit/credit card. Parkman Woodworks will make you fully aware of the card processing fee before you make any payments. Payments made via bank transfer, check or cash will not incur any additional charges.
Checks can be sent to:
641 Gibbons St.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Do you guys deliver?
Sure do. We offer white glove delivery and setup of your furniture to the exact spot you'd like us to place it. Sometimes, depending on your proximity to our shop and the current state of our aging backs, we'll personally deliver your furniture. Otherwise, we'll get you a quote from one of our trusted local shipping companies.
Delivery in Los Angeles County typcially runs from $150-$300, untaxed. The exact amount will depend upon your address and the load-in scenario, including stairways, hallways, elevators, parking, etc. Most deliveries are scheduled on Saturday mornings/afternoons.
What's the ordering process like?
Generally speaking it's best to start by emailing us at Furniture@ParkmanWoodworks.com with any details you know so far about the piece you're looking for.
You don't need to know very much to get started other than the type of furniture you need, such as a table, bench, desk, etc. From there we'll ask you a couple basic questions so we can get you a reasonably solid quote.
If the quote works with your budget we'll follow up with a few more simple questions to nail down the style, coloring and finish options for your piece. Most of these selections won't affect the quoted price.
From there we'll send an invoice with most or all of the specifications we've talked about so you can place your deposit. Deposits can be made by check, cash or bank transfer for free, or by credit card with a 3% processing fee, which will later be added to your final balance.
Then we start building your dream furniture!
How do I choose?
Does my furniture have to look rustic?
Certainly not. We can perfectly flatten and smooth out the boards and then fill in any of the nail and knot holes with an inconspicuous filler. This cleaner look compliments our powder coated steel bases for a more modern style at the same price.
If you'd prefer we can also build with new hardwoods such as black walnut, white oak, Shamel ash and many other species from local recovery companies that only procure boards from trees that fell naturally in Los Angeles County. To be clear, these hardwoods are not reclaimed wood, but they are recovered. Still, they are generally cleaner-looking boards than the salvaged planks. Using these recovered hardwoods will raise the price somewhat in comparison to reclaimed lumber.
What are the color/texture options?
When working with reclaimed wood planks, we have four basic options for coloring and texture. When we say "texture" we're referring to the fact that the boards have grooves and patterns from the aged grains and mill markings. You can decide whether you'd prefer to retain the boards' natural texture or completely smooth out the surface.
When the texture is retained, the patina that the wood has acquired over decades of aging will show as a rich and complex brown with light amber tones. When this patina is taken off by milling or "planing" the boards flat, the original color of the tree shows through as though it were just cut down yesterday, providing a brilliant blonde with honeyed tones. The grain patterns of the old-growth Douglas-fir will shine through in stunning fashion with either option.
For coloring, we generally only use one method: Shou Sugi Ban!!! Which is a Japanese charring technique that roughly translates to "burn that mother." For this process we bust out a big ol' blow torch and scorch any wood that's showing. Then we sand off the ashes and are left with a deep, dark brown that's contraasted with lumnious light streaks where the harder grain pops through. We can use this charring method on either retained-texure or milled-flat surfaces.
Thus we have our four options:
- Retained board texture with no added coloration
- Planed flat board texture with no added coloration
- Retained board texture with charring coloration
- Planed flat board texture with charring coloration
We prefer not to use stains if possible, but we're happy to accommodate your request by building customized stain samples for a $250 charge.
What kind of finish do you use?
For indoor residential furniture we'll apply several layers of high-end, water-based, satin indoor topcoat. We prefer a satin finish, as opposed to matte, semi-gloss or gloss, because it protects well while without presenting an overly shiny look.
For outdoor residential furniture we'll apply several layers of high-end, water-based, satin outdoor topcoat. This outdoor finish will allow for more movement of the wood due to elevated moisture conditions, and it provides U.V. protection. As with most outdoor wood, you will need to refinish your piece about once a year, depending on placement. We're more than happy to walk you through this straightforward refinishing process.
For indoor and outdoor commercial furniture we'll apply several layers of a professional grade conversion varnish. This finish is one of the most durable on the market and can withstand the rigors of high-volume use.
For hardwood furniture, we'll apply two layers of a hard-wax oil. This finish protects well while allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine.
All of our finishes will protect against any water rings, wine stains or small scratches. As with any wood surfaces, you should avoid gouging the boards with sharp objects. Direct heat to the surface, such as a pot or pan directly from the oven or stovetop, should be avoided. Pot holders or linens are required for placement on wood surfaces.
All steel is finished with a professional-grade powder coating. You can choose from a wide array of colors, which we can provide for you. This is the only part of the furniture building or finishing process that we do not complete in-house, as it requires a particularly large and specific facility.
Which desk or table base style should I choose?
Check out our Reclaimed Wood Tables section for our most common dining room table, coffee table and kitchen island base styles.
Head to our
Conference Tables section to see dozens of examples of our conference table, meeting table and lunch bar base styles.
Reception & Office Desk section has base designs for our most popular office desk, reception desk and home office desk designs.
Don't see the design or style you're looking for in those examples? That may be just fine. We perform all of our woodwork and metalwork in-house and can custom design your piece. We'll work with your inspiration images and ideas to create digital renderings to make sure we nail down the exact piece of furniture you're hoping for.