5 Things You Need to Know About Reclaimed Wooden Box Beams

5 Things You Need to Know About Reclaimed Wooden Box Beams

Hand crafted hand hewn, rough sawn, and new wood box beams.

Box beams are an extremely useful way of achieving a solid beam look, built to exact sizing, and without the weight. Here's what you need to know.

Regardless of your material selection, our craftsmen with over 200 years of experience between them will create the perfect box beam for your custom project always using real wood that is either newly harvested or antique/reclaimed wood. All of our box beams are real wood beams, there's nothing fake about it. We don't care for the term "faux beam" because the term lacks the respect for the hours of craftsmanship that we put into each box beam. We produce box beams in a variety of wood species but it usually comes down to texture choices driving the difference:

What kinds of box beams are there

1. What kinds of box beams are there

  • Hand Hewn Box Beams: the most rustic of textures. These dimensional beams were hand cut, using hand tools like broad axes and adzes to chop away the excess material; turning a round tree log into a square or rectangular beam
  • Rough Sawn Box Beams: With the advent of powered machine driven circular saws, rough sawn became ubiquitous. Timber milled with circular saws a century ago often left behind circle saw marks, by they cut marks, impressions, or burn marks.
  • Resawn Box Beams: Resawn may also be called live sawn. When resawing the original face material away, the beam core is what is left. This resawn core has a nearly smooth face on all sides. This is the ideal type of material to sand smooth and apply a stain or custom translucent finish, allowing the beautiful old growth tight grain to show through.
  • New Wood Box Beams: When creating a box beam from newly harvested wood, the process of creating a box beam is the same; resawing an appearance layer from a thicker plank, engineering to Baltic Birch and joining. A popular choice for new wood box beams is white oak. Almost always, our clients choose a custom color finish for these beams, usually to complement their floors and stairs.

2. How is a Box Beam Different than a Solid Beam?

As opposed to solid beam or solid timber, to make reclaimed barn wood hollow beams, we resaw the original face material away from the core of the beam. These original face skins are engineered to the finest Baltic Birch for strength and structure, then marry the sections; reinforcing the sides with internal blocking. Seeing the true artistry of a well-done reclaimed box beam is a real treat. Our Craftsmen are able to hide the corner and length seams and even cut in wood grain by hand so there is no discernable difference in grain at the joints. This is why our clients often think we hollowed out a solid beam to create their box beams; because the joints are imperceptible.

What is the difference between a solid beam and a box beam

To make box beams from newly harvested wood, we resaw a thick layer of material from a thicker plank, then create the box beam as usual.

How is a wood box beam made

3. Where are Box Beams used?

Choosing a custom made box beam not only looks great but has functional appeal as well. Box beams are often what you see in a box beam ceiling, protruding down from the ceiling. A box beam is also used to wrap unappealing structural elements like pipes or I-beams, framing, or HVAC in a building. Installation is far easier as well since the box beams are lighter, can be easily trimmed or modified to fit with tools on the job site, and the weight is far less than a solid beam allowing for greater spans without significant support. As well, they are a great alternative to solid beams in applications which preclude the use of heavier solid beams. People even use them vertically as wall decor elements to further replicate an endoskeleton of a timber frame building.

Box Beam Doorway

Ceiling Box Beams

Where can you use wood box beams

4. Do Box Beams Cost the Same as Solid Beams?

Many factors go into the cost of a box beam including; dimensions, material selection, finish-work, and many more factors however a box beam is always more expensive than a solid beam. A box beam is purely made from a larger solid beam whose four skins have been cut away to be used to build the new beam. This addition of the extensive labor involved in crafting such a piece. This is in addition to the cost of the host beam from which the original face skin material is taken.

Are Box Beams More Expensive than a Solid Beam

5. How Big Can You Make a Box Beam?

There isn't a box beam size we haven't built. With our massive inventory and experience in architectural elements, we'll likely be able to create what others may not due to limitations in their material access or construction ability. We make large beams with respect to length, depth, and width with some beams spanning longer than 30 feet.

How long can you make a box beam

 

This is just a portion of what there is to know about a wood box beam. Learn everything you need to know before pulling the trigger on buying a box beam by reading our all in one top tips on wood box beams here.

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