Labor & Blue Collar Work Archive

Nail Pullers and Removing Metal from Reclaimed Lumber

Monday, May 5th, 2014

nail puller piles 2

Nail puller [neyl pool er] 
1. One who pulls nails.

Pulling iron from our reclaimed lumber is one of the most important jobs here at Crossroads. A lot of our wood is remilled on site and due to the expense and time involved in keeping the milling blades sharp, making sure the wood is metal free is important.

Armed with a hammer, cat’s paw, crowbar, and a White’s metal detector, a nail puller will spend hours insuring a unit of wood is free of iron, along the way he will also be trimming out damage and grading the wood.

The two piles of nails represent a day of nail pulling. The larger of the two piles was created by a two man team working on 4”x12”x21’ beams. In the course of 8 hours they metal detected 80 of these beams, that’s 6,720 board feet of material. There is a lot of heavy lifting and use of 4’ crowbars when working on these 21 foot long beams.

The smaller pile was just one man metal detecting 2x decking material. Over 5 hours he cleared 1500 board feet of wood. Most of the metal was pulled with a hammer and cat’s paw.

These units are fairly direct and not difficult items to get nail free. It simply takes close attention and hard work.

On the other hand there are times when our nail pullers run into broken off nails, screws or bolts. We even find bullets and other unusual metals buried in our old wood. We have had times where it took 2 men 2-1/2 hours to clean a 10x12x20’ which is 120 BF in 5 man hours. That is slow going and one reason reclaimed wood costs more than new lumber.

Saying Goodbye to Pete Seeger

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

This week we are remembering the incredible life and impact of folk musician Pete Seeger, who passed away on Monday at the age of 94.  Like many people, Crossroads’ founder Marc Mandel is a great admirer of Seeger, and the spirit of Pete’s music and work has been an inspiration for Crossroads Recycled Lumber and the nature of our operation.

Pete Seegar sang and fought for the rights of workers like the loggers and millhands whose labors we strive to honor by salvaging and reusing the old timbers they made.  He was an environmental activist in his music and in his daily life, something that is obviously a big part of what we do.

Along with playing great music of his own, Pete revived and popularized many old, beautiful folk songs.  He not only preserved history and honored the great works of the artists who created these songs, but he also gave the music new life and new meaning for a new generation.  On a more profound level, this is what we aim to do with our products at Crossroads.  This is why we feel like we are not JUST a lumber yard.

Thank you, Pete, for all that you did with your life.

FOR SALE: Saw Blades for Art or Display

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Large bandsaw blades from the old North Fork Mill
(8) 8″ wide X 25′-6″ long 1-1/4 tooth spray
(4) 6″ X 27′ long 1-3/4 tooth spray
These are for display only – not for equipment use. We can cut to order.

$150 each


bandsawantiques2013-11-24 23.11.24

2013-11-24 23.12.30


Big Timbers from Forks, Washington

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

At Crossroads we often document the historical origin of our material. It can be a challenging task to get an accurate history about structures and businesses that have been dismantled. We recently had an order for one of our large timbers from furniture maker William Stranger.  William was thrilled with the beauty of the wood and wanted to know its story.

Russ Gammon, Marc Mandel, & John Hunt

Russ Gammon (IGL) Marc Mandel (CRL) and John Hunt at a McMillan Bloedell Sawmill teardown in Port Alberni, BC 1996

In this case, Marc Mandel, owner of Crossroads, was the perfect data source. When asked about the history of the lumber he responded from memory,

“That 12x18x24’ Fir timber has an interesting story.  It originally came from Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.  We called the wood the “Forks Clear”.  In 1995, a friend in the reclaimed wood business, John Hunt (ReTech Wood Products) was hiking in the woods and spotted some old mossy logs that loggers had left long ago. (more…)

Coming Full Circle: Lumber Reclaimed from California’s Lumber Mills

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
North Fork Mill 1940s

North Fork Mill, 1940s. The front building is gone,
but the roof seen in the back left now houses CRL!

Here at the Crossroads Recycled Lumber yard we’ve salvaged millions of board feet of reclaimed lumber and timbers over the years.  Every plank and beam was once part of a majestic tree, felled with a chainsaw, or by hand with a crosscut saw depending on the era, and shaped by millhands, in forests and mills across North America.

The Crossroads Recycled Lumber yard sits on the site of the old North Fork Mill, so we are reminded every day of the legacy that our wood leads.  Over the years as the timber industry has declined, we have collected beams and trusses from sawmills deconstructed up and down the West Coast.

Logging remains one of the top two most dangerous jobs in America, and our lumber from these mills pays homage to the hard work of loggers, mill hands, and millwrights and the role they played in American History.  It is a special honor for us to be able to help preserve the timbers from these mills through reuse.


Crossroads Featured in “The Deconstruction of Building 802” Video

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Learn about the salvage process from start to finish! This is an excellent, informative mini-documentary about the deconstruction process, following the disassembly of the Port of Oakland, CA.  Thank you, for all of the work you do to Stop Waste!

Crossroads Recycled Lumber is featured from 3:25-5:33.

“Our clients are pretty conscientious about where their material comes from.  They like the idea of recycled stuff.  We as carpenters like to use [reclaimed wood] because you can’t find this tight grain, old growth stuff anymore.  It’s already dry, and it’s a lot more fun to work with, a lot more stable.”

-Pete Crandall, Crossroads Recycled Lumber customer

Many more resources about this project are available on the website at

Click here to see photos of the split decking from Building 802 on display in Whole Foods, Blossom Hill in San Jose.

Video: Reclaimed Tongue and Groove Flooring off our new Weinig Moulder

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Our Reclaimed Lumber Mill featured in Wood-Mizer Way Magazine!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Crossroads was featured in Wood-Mizer Way Magazine #70, in the article “Reclaiming the Past.”

An excerpt from the story:

“Forests fell and, sometimes, men died, in producing that lumber,” [Marc Mandel] says. “Workers invested their lives and skills manufacturing it. It seems wrong to waste the labor and energy of the past when we can, today, reuse the wood to provide continued benefit to our community.”


Click here to read about our humble beginnings in reclaimed wood, and our commitment to salvage historic lumber in the WoodMizer Way article “Reclaiming the Past”.

Wood-Mizer Way Magazine

Wood-Mizer Way Magazine

Video: Resawing 2X6 Doug Fir at Crossroads Lumber

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Check out our guys Merkell and Ray as they resaw nominal 2X6 Douglas Fir Tongue & Groove into 1X6 Ship-Lap for the Blossom Hill Whole Foods in San Jose, CA.  Our wire-brushed old patina 2X6 has been very popular in the last year!