Bayview Escarpment

Wine Cellar from 1860s Reclaimed Lumber

I am in the process of constructing this wine cellar, using wood salvaged from an 1860s building near Hamilton, Ontario.

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Adding to the story, not erasing the past

All too often reclaimed lumber is stripped of its history and treated like new lumber – milled straight and square, then shaped into something new. While some of the patina may be retained, everything else is lost. Instead, for this project I have taken the pine and fir salvaged from a long-gone 1860s Ontario building and done as a little as possible to the material before incorporating it into this wonderful wine cellar, located in a beautiful home overlooking the Beaver Valley near Kimberley, Ontario. This means that most of the boards are not absolutely square or flat, that many of the old hand forged iron square nails are still visible, and that chimney soot, water damage, iron stains, and old saw and tool marks are still present. What more could a person want?

Once the nails were removed, the boards were sanded then soaked in epoxy
The epoxy enhanced both the strength and beauty of the wood.

By soaking all the planks in modern acrylic epoxy I was able to harden the boards, rendering them structurally sound once again. This despite the sometimes significant damage and rot they had sustained over more than 150 years since they were first harvested, milled using a large circular saw blade, hauled by horse cart to the building site, and nailed to a wall.

Timber Frame Mortise and Tenon Re-purposed

With the home owner determined that I somehow incorporate these remnant mortise and tenoned pine timbers into the final design, I developed this one-of-a-kind magnum shelf. Although not readily visible here, there is also a large mortise in the top of the shelf which I filled with clear epoxy, creating a smooth surface that will also allow for some light play once the under-cabinet low level LED lighting is added. The shelf sits over a 7-bottle sloped display rack.

Once the hardware has arrived, I will install a series of floor to ceiling cables that will allow dozens of bottles of wine to be suspended on their sides, mid-air, floor to ceiling and anchored into the wooden plates. This will effectively create a curtain of wine. Last, a glass wall and door will be added, enclosing the wine cellar but also leaving it fully visible to anyone in the adjacent room.

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