Recycling & Re-Use 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.

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…)

Historic Pen Collaboration

Friday, January 18th, 2013

CRL recently supplied The Historic Pen Company with a sample pack of some of our most prestigious and legendary materials including Stanford Gym, San Quentin Prison Hospital, Warner Brothers Studio, The  San Francisco Presidio, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Factory, and exotic Borneo Ironwood from monsoon blow-down.

Historic Pen

Historic Pens from legendary sources

Pens are limited editions made from wood or timbers that were part of a historic site that witnessed the history that we only read about. Accompanying each pen is a Certificate of Authentication detailing the provenance. The pens are made with artisan precision that represent the historic site.

We are proud to be part of a process that captures a period of time to create a timeless work of art.



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.

Woody Biomass Guys Visit CRL

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Last summer a couple guys came to the North Fork Millsite “investigating options for the processing of woody biomass from local forests.” They took a tour of our yard and learned about reclaimed lumber! Read their blog about the visit here!

Inventory of reclaimed lumber, Photo credit: Woody Biomass Utilization


Monday, May 18th, 2009

For years the norm was to crush and landfill, or to burn the wood from a building, or the whole building. Even now, if a building is scheduled for demolition or even for deconstruction, Crossroads feels it is wasteful to do away with a well built structure in good condition. we have seen tremendous structures in excellent condition, taken down to make room for a big box store or parking lot. This is an insult to the resources that were used to build the building, and the people that planned, designed, and built the structure.