One of the areas that has made Kevin Ritter’s business stand out, and what he was exposed to as he grew up woodworking in the family business, is re-purposing old materials. Since Kevin relocated Timeless Kitchen Cabinetry to Tennessee (read more about the move here), some of the items he’s built include a series of tables using wood reclaimed from an old distillery. Kevin enjoys conquering the unknowns found in previously used lumber – nail holes and imperfections add character.
When out of the blue he received a call asking if he could build a kitchen island using materials collected years and years ago from an old bar, you know Kevin was stoked. The lady on the phone, Ms. Williamson, said that she had the material on a trailer, and that she needed to make a decision quickly on whether to bring the parts to his shop or take them home. Kevin said, “Bring them here.”
When the two met in person for the first time, she told the tale of where the wood came from and what special feelings she held for it. She explained that her grandfather, back in the first quarter of the 20th century, had frequented a local drinking establishment; it was a regular stop after a day of fishing to socialize with the guys and relax.
Years later, the family discovered that the bar was being torn down. For nostalgia’s sake, a family member went to the establishment to scavenge all the woodwork, including the bar front and other trim – a whopping $30 was paid. It was that material that came on the trailer to his shop. Ms. Williamson wanted to convert the old bar into a new kitchen island.
As the story continued, Kevin also found out the bar remnants had been stored in her Uncle’s barn since the day they were removed prior to demolition (Fig. 1). That was some 40 years ago that it was stored in a barn. Uncovered. Exposed to the elements, including weather, vermin and the occasional bird and its droppings. What did he step into? To Kevin it was, “How could I pass?” He was ready for the challenge. Ready to start the project.