Monthly Archives: February 2014

Salvaged Wood – Question & Answer

Salvaged Wood – Question & Answer

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesIn addition to our ongoing preservation efforts, Southern Accents is known to be a resource that fields questions on salvaged products daily. We delight in passing along our knowledge of these products to anyone interested. With growing interest and the realization of the environmental benefits of reusing salvaged items, we get quite a few questions about the use of salvaged wood. One question that we hear quite often pertains to the treatment of salvaged wood to eradicate or prevent insect infestation.

The first thing that we want to stress is that all wood, whether new lumber or salvaged, is a target for insects, specifically wood-boring species. There are different methods that can be used to safely treat any wood species and address any possible ‘bug’ issues.

When we salvage a property, any wood that is visibly infested is culled and burned. However, not all insects can be easily detected. Thankfully, there are safe treatment options available that will take care of unseen insects. Our preferred method of treating salvaged wood is using heat. The wood is placed in a kiln for several hours to get the core temperature hot enough to kill any existing wood-boring insects and their eggs. We think this is the safest and most reliable method of treatment. This method is especially preferred for salvaged wood that will be used in the interior of a home or business.

Another method is using a mixture of borate powder and water which is applied to the wood. This method coats the exterior of the wood, forming an invisible salt solution which acts as an insect deterrent. Once ingested by the insect, it causes it to dehydrate and die. The downside to any chemical treatment is that the chemicals will only kill existing insects to the depth that the chemical is absorbed by the wood. Borate or Borax is a boron mineral and salt that is mined directly from the ground. It is deemed to be relatively non-toxic and might be desirable for wood used particularly in areas where exposure to insects is expected.

When using salvaged wood for interior purposes, whether as flooring, a wall covering, counter top, or furniture, the product can be finished with a wax, oil, urethane product or paint. All of these finishing products will also act as a protective barrier and deterrent to future insects.

The beauty and patina of aged wood is unmatched. The treatment methods discussed here ensure that the use of salvaged wood is a very viable option. The use of salvaged wood is often desirable for aesthetic reasons, but also because it contributes to the continued sustainability of our environment. Stop by our showroom, wood warehouse, or visit us online atsa1969.com to view our extensive collection of salvaged wood.


Frosty, Philly, & Fortuitous Finds!

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesThe second week of February was a very interesting week for Southern Accents! The prior week Garlan traveled north to Philadelphia on a buying trip… apparently a truckload of beautiful Architectural Antiques was not the only thing he brought home! North Alabama was turned in to a winter wonderland last week as we experienced two rounds of winter precipitation… a sight we very rarely see down south. While the beautiful white powder kept most of us at home for several days, we stayed busy posting all of the fantastic new finds from Philly to our New Arrivals page. If you haven’t visited our website lately, here’s a peek at just a few of our latest additions!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

View all of the items shown above and many, many more by visiting our Website or our showroom in Cullman, Alabama. Give us a call at 877 737-0554 to inquire on these and other unique architectural antiques and salvaged finds!


Sentimental Treasures – Preserving History

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesRecently Southern Accents salvaged an 1870’s house in Cullman, Alabama. The attic of the house was filled with memorabilia. There were boxes of old journals, letters, greeting cards, and photographs. Many dated as early as the 1920’s. We could not help but wonder why these items were left. Were there no family members available that might have had an interest in some of the personal belongings? We could not bring ourselves to leave the items behind or throw them away so we brought them back to the store. The letters, cards, and pictures were placed in various containers and displayed around the showroom.

A couple of weeks ago a family member of one of our team members was visiting from out of town. As Chris Garcia browsed through the showroom, she was both drawn to and fascinated by the letters and photos. She gathered up all that remained and took them with her. Her initial goal was to create something from the memorabilia that would honor this family. She wasn’t sure what she would do, she just knew that she could not leave these items behind either.

After returning home, Chris lovingly poured through all the old letters, one at a time. In reading them she happened upon one from 2008 from a family member. The letter, addressed to the now deceased home owner, Eda Schlichting, was written by a man, thanking his aunt for letting him see some old pictures. This letter caused Chris to wonder if there might possibly be a distant relative interested in the items. Chris began a search on the internet for the author of the letter. Chris writes, “My first contact was not the correct person, but what I found on the other line was a wonderful, helpful woman who brought out the phone book and found the family relative I was looking for.” Chris said that she then nervously made a phone call that connected her with Eda’s relative, a Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson’s grandfather was married to Eda’s sister. The phone conversation led to his sharing how he drove his mother from Montgomery to Cullman in 2008 to visit her sister. It was during that visit that Eda shared the photos that resulted in the thank you letter.

Chris writes, “I will be mailing the box of letters, journals, and photos to him this week. I am so grateful this touched me so deeply and that the family will have their photos with them to pass on for generations.” Mr. Wilson had wondered about the fate of the old photos and was surprised that a complete stranger had taken the time to track him down. He shared with Chris his interest in his family’s genealogy and expressed how grateful he was to be receiving the items.

Although, the heart of our business is to rescue architectural antiques, we always understand the importance of the re-connection of our salvageable items back to the original family it belonged to. The sentimental value of an item means it will be protected and treasured more in the future than it would have been in a home we could have provided for it. In the case of Eda Schlichting and Chris Garcia – it proves there is an underlying truth, which resonates through generations – even those who may have never even met: The People Who Preserve History Are Just As Important As Those Who Make It.


History Recorded

Southern Accents has taken our mission to rescue, restore and protect architectural elements of historical significance to a new level. With our latest salvage project, a 1901 historical house in our hometown of Cullman, Alabama, we have started a new process of documentation. Before our salvage operation began, we had our photographer take interior and exterior pictures of the property. We then had our in house architect take measurements and draw blueprints. During the salvage process we worked to gather as much history on the house as possible. Once our salvage efforts were complete, we had our photographer return for documentation of the final demolition.

This black and white picture shows the Hays house in it's glory days!

This black and white picture shows the Hays house in it’s glory days!

As any preservationist knows, regardless of how a building is taken down, once it is gone it is soon forgotten. Our young children, for example, will never drive through downtown Cullman and remark, “remember the old Hays house that used to sit on that lot” because they will not remember. Our goal in documenting a structure that we salvage is to record its history, therefore preserving its memory for future generations. As we have stated many times in the past, it is never our intent to demolish any building. We come on the scene in an effort to salvage as many architectural elements as possible from a structure that has already been scheduled for demolition by the property owner. Through our salvage efforts, architectural items can be reused or re-purposed and given a new life. Our salvage operation, coupled with our documentation, can help ensure that lovely old houses and buildings are remembered for many years to come, their stories recorded and preserved.

An archived picture of the historic Hays house.

An archived picture of the historic Hays house.

In the coming weeks all of our pictures, information and drawings of the historical Hays house will be compiled, organized, and placed in book form to be printed and bound. A bound copy will be kept in our showroom. We will also publish this information online via our website and blog. To our knowledge we are the only salvage company that has taken on the task of documenting a salvage operation to this degree. If you would like to read more about the Hays house and view additional pictures, please read our “Hometown Salvage Mission” blog post.

The historic Hays house received significant tornado damage in April of 2011. This picture was taken shortly before salvage operations began in the fall  of 2013.

The historic Hays house received significant tornado damage in April of 2011. This picture was taken shortly before salvage operations began in the fall of 2013.

Southern Accents in house architect drew this blueprint showing the front of the historic Hays house.

Southern Accents in house architect drew this blueprint showing the front of the historic Hays house.

This drawing from Southern Accents in house architect depicts the back of the house.

This drawing from Southern Accents in house architect depicts the side of the house.

Once all salvage operations to the interior of the house were complete, the final demolition work began. A cloud of dust rises from the rubble as the machines begin to slowly tear down the walls.

Once all salvage operations to the interior of the house were complete, the final demolition work began. A cloud of dust rises from the rubble as the machines begin to slowly tear down the walls.

During the final stages of the demolition work, the last few exterior architectural pieces were recovered with the help of the backhoe.

During the final stages of the demolition work, the last few exterior architectural pieces were recovered with the help of the backhoe.

The remaining walls begin to crumble

The remaining walls begin to crumble

This now empty lot was the final resting place for the Hays house. All that remains are tire tracks and a few scattered pieces of rubble.

This now empty lot was the final resting place for the Hays house. All that remains are tire tracks and a few scattered pieces of rubble.


%d bloggers like this: