Barnwood Masters Offers Custom Reclaimed Furniture
A piece of wood is, by its nature, a work of art. The interior rings a tree produces mark the years of its life. They also act as a sort of diary. Some of those rings mark where branches once grew. Others tell of drought or flood years. The careful observer can even tell if the tree caught fire or struggled with disease at some point in its life. A lot of wood has two stages to life, each of which can last decades – one as a tree and another as a building material. But Tim and Micah Bradley, the father and son co-owners of Barnwood Masters in Mentone, give reclaimed barnwood another stage of life as custom-made furniture.
Like the wood they work with, the Bradleys have experienced some major changes in their family life. For many years, Tim Bradley worked as a catastrophe claims insurance agent. That career ended abruptly years ago when a car accident resulted in a mild traumatic brain injury. This affected much of his life, including his ability to work and drive. It took five years for him to recover to the point where he could again pursue some of his interests.
One of the first activities his family encouraged him to attempt was woodworking, a long-time favorite hobby.
“It was just something fun that we would do as kids with him in the shop,” Tim’s son Micah says. “(We would) tinker around a little bit and build 4-H projects, shelves and little cabinets.”
Since reclaimed barnwood is beautiful, versatile, and relatively easy to access in Indiana, Tim started using it when he again picked up the hobby.
It didn’t take long for others to notice Tim’s gift as an artisan, and he began selling what he made.
“He was getting enough orders, and there was enough attention to what he was doing, that it was time to make it into a real business,” Micah says.
That was three years ago, and since then the business has grown exponentially.
Barnwood Masters has two main services. They dismantle collapsing barns, and make handcrafted furniture specifically for homes and businesses. Although Tim’s first love is building tables, Barnwood Masters offers a wide range of possible products, from chairs, cabinets and kitchen islands to bed sets and coffee tables.
“That’s one of the perks of being a custom shop – if someone has something specific in mind, then we can build it,” Micah says. “So if someone wants a barn-beam mantle for their fireplace, or if it’s just something simple like putting in some floating shelves – these are all things that we have done and we’re definitely willing to do.”
Micah says reclaiming barnwood holds a higher purpose than just making furniture. It’s also a way to preserve the earth’s resources.
“Sustainability is a big thing for us,” he says. “We want to be good stewards of what God’s given us on this earth. So if it’s a way to reclaim, repurpose or reuse, then I think we have the responsibility to use that well.”
Visit barnwoodmasters.com or call 574-933-3805 for more information.