How to Build a Reclaimed Wood Wall

Cropped Wall
We wanted to decorate our booth with a reclaimed wood wall. If you want to build a reclaimed wood wall this post will give you information on the process.

This is our process to build a reclaimed wood wall.  This wall was put up in our booth where we sold some of our woodworking items (including the tables you see in the picture).  FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW.

Our reclaimed wood wall video on YouTube.

Channel can be found at Average Joe Woodworking


I decided to rent out some space to sell some of my woodworking and I figured, “If I’m going to sell woodworking, it just makes sense to have a reclaimed wood wall in my booth.”  So what I am going to do is take you through the steps of what I did to build this reclaimed wood wall.  It’s not that difficult.  Building a reclaimed wood wall is fairly easy and it’s just some simple steps so we will walk through those real quickly.


As is the case with most woodworking projects the hardest part is finding lumber you want to use.  I was lucky enough to come across an auction in Manhattan, Kansas in the national guard armory for cabinets.  The pallets were made out of a lot of oak, and poplar, and cedar, and the shipping company decided they did not want them.  Since all those cabinets were going to be sold at auction these pallets were free.  The unfortunate thing is all I had was a crowbar and a hammer, which it is extremely difficult to take a pallet apart with just a crowbar and a hammer especially when they are hardwoods.  Luckily with enough grit and determination I was able to pull apart quite a few pallets and end up with quite a bit of wood to work with.  I think I ended up with about square feet, not board feet.  I think they were only half inch boards so maybe 100 board feet total.  I had to wake up bright and early so I think I only got 6 or 8 pallets, I can’t remember, it has been awhile.


The next important task is to repair any boards that were destroyed when pulling pallets apart.  I’m just simply gluing joints together nothing more and nothing less.  If it is too destroyed I just throw it away.  I also took the opportunity to cut off some pieces that were severely broken like this piece that you see on the right hand side there.  That just needs to be cut.  You end getting about 3 or 4 feet out of an 8 foot long piece.  That is what you have to do to make them look good otherwise they’re not going to stack up real well on your reclaimed wood wall.


Now we reach every woodworker’s favorite part which is sanding.  This is a very light sanding with 220 grit and the reason I chose 220 grit is because I did not want to take away any characteristics of the wood.  My goal here is to just knock down the sharp corners and the splinters that are sticking up.  People are going to touch your reclaimed wood wall. It’s just something that people do.  It looks nice.  People want to touch it to see how it feels and you just want to take away the rough spots but you don’t want to take away the characteristics of the reclaimed wood.


Now I am applying a mixture of homemade acetone and BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil).  If you would like to see the video of how I made this homemade acetone and BLO mixture there will be a link in the description below and there will also be a link at the end of this video that you could follow.  As you can see after about thirty minutes or less this is how the wood looks.  So I want to remind you again, this is what it looked like, and this is how it looks after 20 or 30 minutes.  I really like this homemade acetone and BLO mixture.  So now this is the step where I am going to apply it to all the wood.  It only needs to dry overnight and by tomorrow these will be ready to hang up on my reclaimed wood wall.


When you’re going to have a reclaimed wood wall it’s best to have something grey or black behind it because there are going to be cracks that show through, there are going to be splits in the wood, the wood is going to move.  It is going to show a little bit unless you do tongue and grooved which is a lot of work [if the wood is not already tongue and grooved] I’d rather not do tongue and grooved.  The best thing to do is put something grey behind it.  This was a studded out wall that I did not feel like sheet rocking.  Since I did not feel like sheet rocking it and painting it I just took some old grey sheets that I think my parents kept from when I was in high school. So I raided their linen closet and stole them back, well I guess they bought them to begin with so I did not really steal them back.  I liberated them.  So I liberated these sheets from my parents linen closet and I went ahead and tacked them up so it had a grey background so when the wood shifts or when there are cracks it’s going to show the grey.


I was not planning on having a baseboard but since the red oak came out completely black I would just use that and it would kind of give the appearance of having a base board.  Right now I’m making sure the base board or the first board is completely level.  It does not matter if the floor itself is not level you have to make this first board level.  Otherwise everything is going to look a little off.  Now the only thing left is to add the boards checking every so often that the boards are level.  I prefer to add boards on one side varying the lengths then filling in on the other side.  That way I only have to worry about using the circular saw on one side.  And since the right side is going to be exposed and people can see it I prefer the right side to have their natural edge and then I use the circular saw to cut the other side.  I am working right to left based on the fact that the right edge is going to be seen but the left edge is not.


The only tools you will need when doing a reclaimed wood wall is: a ladder if it is going to be taller than your head, which it should be, a nail gun, or nails and a hammer, a level, a circular saw, and some wood glue just in case you need to glue some joints together or make some small repairs.  If you are working on sheetrock you can use Contractor’s Glue [Liquid Nail] and actually glue the boards to the sheetrock.  I will warn you though that if  you want to take the reclaimed wood wall out you’re going to basically destroy the wall. Only do that if you know you’re going to have it there forever.


And as always thank you for watching.  If you liked what you saw please hit the like button and subscribe for more videos.  As promised the link to the acetone video on how to make your own homemade acetone to age the wood is in the upper right hand corner.  And as always thank you for watching and have a nice day.

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