Delta business turns old barn wood into new products sold nationwide
Antique Beams and Boards was started in 2006 and it’s been growing ever since.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - You’ve no doubt heard the expression everything old is new again, and a local business is proof of that. It’s called Antique Beams and Boards, and the Delta-based business is booming.
The landscape of northwest Ohio is full of old barns. Many of them have been empty for years and are now falling into disrepair. The company finds new uses for the wood from the old buildings.
Old barns may not look like anything more than eyesores to a lot of us, but Matt Gleckler sees a space full of possibilities. Matt was an investment banker, but he shifted gears in 2006 and started Antique Beams and Boards.
“Every barn is a treasure hunt to me. Not in the typical sense of treasure, but with the wood I am looking at the species, the style, the construction, and the quality of the beams. I love it, says Gleckler. “The craftmanship we find is remarkable. It could take a person days to finish just one beam. Many times they needed up to 100 beams. There were different families around the area that built barns for generations, and it’s often easy to figure out what family or crew worked on a specific barn.”
Matt has worked on hundreds of barns and he says the focus of that work is always about finding a use for every inch of a project.
“Everything we can save to cover a floor or a wall or build a table means a tree is not being freshly cut. It helps keep things out of burn piles and landfills,” he explains. “We are very proud of that. Everything is salvaged one way or another. We find so many beautiful pieces of wood here. This was originally the Great Black Swamp, so the soil was great for growing things. The tree variety we find is huge. Everything from ash and sycamore, to beech, oak, and elm.”
We were in Berkey with Matt and his crew on Thursday. The barn they are working on right now is a small project. Most of the barns they work on are much larger. This one should be dismantled by next week and then the real work begins. “This is the first step in the second life of this wood. It goes back to the shop to be sorted and washed. It then goes into the kiln to be dried. It is then cut and formed into whatever the customer is calling for.”
Matt’s customers include designers, builders, and homeowners. His biggest customer base is on the East Coast. He also does a lot of business in the South.
Matt and his crew turn the reclaimed wood into all kinds of new products. “We do everything from flooring and paneling to decorative beams and mantles. We also create furniture like tabletops and countertops.”
On a side note, there’s an interesting connection between Matt and the Berkey project. His family hasn’t owned the property for decades, but the barn and the farm it was part of, once belonged to Matt’s great-grandfather and later his great-uncle. His great- uncle’s name was even found on a concrete floor of the barn.
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