Pine Bush, NY—“It all started off with my wife saying, ‘Dale, I want a coffee table,’” says Dale Hammond, owner of Hammond Barn Wood Creations. Hammond comes from a family with skilled hands—his father was a roofer and carpenter, and his brother was in construction. Be that as it may, he himself had never before attempted to craft a piece of furniture from barn wood. “I had never really done anything like this, but for the heck of it, I said sure.”
Hammond and his wife live on a farm, so the budding woodworker had access to plenty of barn wood.
“I did it true old-school style. I did it with a handsaw; there’s no screws involved or anything,” Hammond recalls.
True to his family background, it turned out that he had a knack for working with his hands. With the help of social media, word of Hammond’s newfound talent spread. Soon, his first order came in; a request from a friend for a small kitchen island. He spent the next few years developing his skills, and in 2014, what had begun as a hobby became a bona fide business venture.
“Every job is different. That’s what I love about it,” Hammond says. “It’s always something different, and it’s always something new.”
Furniture orders range from cabinets and headboards to larger projects like restaurant tables. Hammond will often stray beyond the realm of furniture making to satisfy his clients, and has also produced custom items such as a ring box, cake stand, and even corn hole set.
By using reclaimed barn wood, Hammond is not only creating pieces that are one-of-a-kind, he is also preserving bits and pieces of local history for future generations to enjoy.
“Where we live in the northeast, some of the barns up in the Catskills, you’re going back 200 or 250 years with some of these families,” he says.
Inconsistencies in barn wood make working with the material a challenge, but those same irregularities are also what give the material its character.
“The problem with a lot of wood that has come down is, that if it sits, it gets warped over the years,” says Hammond. “De-nailing is always a lot of fun. Lead paint is a thing, too. You have things that test it, and if that comes back, you scrape it off and take it from there. But, the nails and the other things you encounter, those are the things that make that wood itself. That’s the biggest thing. It gives it character.”
To contact Hammond Barn Wood Creations, give them a call at 845-863-9144 or connect on Facebook: HBWC Woodworks
This feature is part of the Hudson Valley Pollinator Series, a tribute to the individuals and businesses that are forging the way to a more resilient and self-reliant economy through their boldness, innovation, and continued care for the people and environment around them.