A Booming Barn Board Business

A barn board salvage business can cut yours taxes, beautify the land, recycle useable wood, and earn you a tidy sum each week.

| January/February 1981

Six years ago—quite by accident—my lady and I started a profitable home business in New England, an enterprise we still enjoy today. At the time, we found the beautiful barn-board interiors of some of our neighbors' houses so attractive that when it was time to remodel our own kitchen's cracking plaster walls, we felt sure the warm coziness of weathered planks would provide a perfect background for our antiques and cast-iron pots and pans.

We soon discovered, however, that real barn board was impossible to buy at any price. (Some building supply companies offered simulated barn board and plastic beams, but such "forgeries" just weren't what we'd envisioned.)

So, fortunately (as it turned out), we were finally forced to tear down an old barn ourselves. And ever since that first experience, our company—Adventures in Time—has located decrepit old barns and sheds, and recycled their valuable aged boards and hand-hewn beams. The task is not only our business, it's one of the joys in our lives!

Free Barns for the Finding

It's not as difficult as you might think to track down the income-producing "derelict" buildings. First, ask everyone you know for suggestions ... and then drive around rural areas and look for fallen or abandoned structures. (Sheds are easier to dismantle than barns but, obviously, yield less wood. And while barns generally produce the best antique lumber, don't overlook the weathered boards that can be found in old tenant houses, corrals, cattle chutes, fences, and windmills.)

Once you discover a structure that looks promising, locate the owner and inquire whether he or she would like you to tear down and haul away the hazard. (After all, you'll be performing a public service ... not only by promoting recycling and beautifying the landscape, but also by eliminating a potential fire or accident "trap.")

When you negotiate for the right to tear a building down, remember to appear professional and not too anxious. Don't drool over the 28-inch-wide floor boards, or caress the open beams, or fondle the hand-forged iron latch and hinges. Just remind the owners that (as is the case in most states) they're probably paying taxes on the pile of rubble, ask them to visualize how much nicer their land will look when the eyesore is gone, and spell out clearly that you'll do the job free in return for the wood.

2/21/2016 6:23:20 PM

will remove barns/sheds and cleanup. roy 717-949-3865.

6/18/2014 1:49:38 PM

Have a barn that we are thinking of having removed. Who do we contact? Do they do this for the materials?

6/8/2009 12:07:52 AM

great stuff ...I never steeped in a barn till I was in my late 30s and now I save as many as I can! Scott

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