Repurposing something always has some appeal whether it is for some economic benefit, convenience or in the case of wood, an aesthetic benefit. Reusing old wood seldom has an economic or convenience side but the aesthetic is where the benefit lies.
Reclaimed wood comes in so many forms that it takes an experienced eye to see the value in any given pile. It is often the case that there will be a large labour component required to repurpose the material for the outcome in mind. Timbers can often be resawn into boards to be used for paneling, furniture, cabinetry or other architectural millwork. Doors, trim and floors are also popular uses for reclaimed wood.
Before you purchase, it is a good idea to really think through how the wood is going to be used. Reclaimed wood during its repurposing can sometimes generate an unwanted volume of waste so it is always best to purchase more than is required. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to buy more that will match your current find if you require more material at a later date.
It is also necessary to be aware that both sides of a reclaimed board may not look the same. If, for example, the 2 x 6 came off of an old granary building, the outside could be gray and weathered and the inside completely different because it was never exposed to weather or sunlight. The inside patina would be noticeably different from the outside. Resawing wood like this would result in two boards that are completely different. They would both likely have a very desirable look but the two different colorings may not work together for the same project.
The wood on the inside of beams will also not look like the outside. It is common practice to saw off the outside of the beams to save the patina and then saw the rest of the beam up into boards to be used for paneling, flooring, doors, cabinetry or millwork. The defects like fastener holes, cracks knots etc. are a feature and should be celebrated when using reclaimed wood as all of these character marks help tell the story of the wood’s past. If voids require filling, a black filler often works best as it complements the dark stain from the metal fasteners that bled into the surrounding wood.