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 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 before tree farms were common in the area, which means they were cut from natural, ancient forests with much older trees. Farms tend to timber 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.
Douglas-fir. If someone mentions reclaimed wood on the West Coast they're usually 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.
We retrieve all of our reclaimed lumber from demolition companies who operate exclusively 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.
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 wood species, design and color options for your piece.
From there we'll send an invoice with most or all of the specifications we've discussed so you can place your 50% deposit. Deposits can be made by credit card or bank transfer.
Then we start building your dream furniture!
Our turnaround time, or "lead time," as they say in the biz, is generally 6-8 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.
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 is generally $200, or $300 to surrounding counties. The exact amount will depend upon the amount of furniture and the load-in scenario, including stairways, hallways, elevators, parking, etc.
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. Checks can be sent to:
641 Gibbons St.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Certainly not. We can perfectly flatten and smooth out the boards and then fill in any of the nail holes and knot holes with an inconspicuous black filler. This clean appearance compliments our powder coated steel bases for a more modern style at the same price.
If you'd prefer, we can also build with locally sourced hardwoods such as sycamore, walnut, maple, oak, ash and many other species from our local lumber purveyors, which are cleaner than salvaged planks. Building with hardwood will raise the price in comparison to reclaimed lumber.
When working with reclaimed wood planks we have four basic color and texture combinations. When we say "texture" we're referring to the fact that the boards have grooves and patterns from their aged grains and turn-of-the-century 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 planing or "surfacing" 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 torch-charring technique that roughly translates to "burn that mother." For this process we bust out a blow torch and scorch any wood that's showing. Then we sand off the ashes, leaving a deep, dark brown contrasted with slightly lighter streaks where the ash has been brushed off. We only use this charring method on surfaced-flat tabletops.
Thus we have our four options:
- Retained grain with natural patina
- Surfaced flat with natural blonde
- Surfaced flat with light charring
- Surfaced flat with dark charring
We do not to use stains or grey washes.
- On reclaimed wood furniture we apply several layers of a high-end, water-based topcoat. We prefer a satin finish, as opposed to matte, semi-gloss or gloss, because it protects well while without presenting an overly shiny appearance.
- On furniture made from hardwood, such as sycamore, walnut, oak or ash, we apply several layers of a hard-wax oil. This all-natural finish protects while allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine.
- All of our finishes will protect against normal-use water rings, wine stains and small scratches. As with any wood surface, you should avoid gouging the boards with sharp objects. Direct heat atop 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 of our steel is finished with a commercial grade powder coating available in a wide array of colors. 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.
Head over to the Our Furniture section and take a look at the various designs we offer. We're able to mix and match any of our tops with any base design for the perfect bespoke combination of your preference.
Don't see the design 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 certain steel bases. We'll work with your inspiration images and create digital renderings to make sure we nail down the exact piece of furniture you're hoping for.