CREATING TIME AGED WONDERS
Tom Wynn is turning old lumber into new artwork
Wednesday, April 02, 2014 11:00 AM
Madison contractor Tom Wynn had been using old barn lumber to add rustic interior finishes to the new homes he built for years when he found another way to preserve pieces of the past.
Several of Tom Wynn’s pieces stand on display at Anderson’s Hardware on Clifty Drive. Wynn uses lumber from area barns that are more than 100 years old to create his unique pieces of furniture. His creations began as a hobby, but has eventually grown into a side business for the local contractor. His business, Time Aged Wonders, continues to grow from a hobby that began about seven years ago. (Staff photos by Steve Dickersonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Instead of throwing away all of the unused portions of barns he and his crews have torn down, Wynn began to construct home furnishings from the weathered lumber. Wynn noticed lumber from old barns had qualities that can't be found in new wood, so he began to use reclaimed timber that has been around for a least a century for tables, chairs, benches and other furniture pieces.
"I try to build something you're not going to find anywhere else," Wynn said.
The grain and the vivid colors just aren't comparable to new materials, he said, yet the age is what makes his creations unique and stand out from others.
The wood Wynn uses to create his pieces isn't something people can go out and buy at the big box home improvement stores.
"I just think that makes the prettiest piece of wood," Wynn said of the weather-aged boards.
"Usually the nastiest wood...that makes the prettiest piece."
Wynn doesn't just use the lumber from old buildings either. He tries to incorporate many of the items - like nails, barbed wire and pegs - found in old barns into his new projects.
"We don't throw away anything," he said. "We keep it all."
Wynn began creating his one-of-a-kind creations as more of a hobby about seven years ago.
He never really expected people to purchase his pieces, he said, but he can barely make something before somebody wants the piece these days.
"Whether I ever sell a piece, I could care less," Wynn said. "I just started doing it because I like doing it."
Wynn first created the projects at his home. He would work on the item whenever he had a little extra time.
Most of the first pieces he created were for his own home. When he began building the furniture, Wynn tried to create something that might have been in an early frontier home.
He also tries to replicate some of the early craftsmanship that put the 100-year-old barns together in the first place. Wynn makes each piece of furniture by hand - much like early pioneers.
Eventually other people began to see the tables or chairs he created and asked Wynn to make something for them.
He now works out of his workshop on Clifty Drive because his collection of barn lumber became too large to keep at home.
He calls his business Time Aged Wonders. Each time Wynn creates a piece for someone, at least four or five other people ask about his creations, he said.
"I love doing this," he said of the projects. "It just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
He recently began to display his work at Anderson's Hardware on Clifty Drive.
Some people have a specific idea of an item they would like for their home and ask Wynn to create a specific piece. Other times, people see one of Wynn's creations and know exactly how it would fit in with their home decor.
"They're unique," Wynn said of the furniture pieces. "It's a conversation piece."