With its unique and varied colouring, antique Oregon furniture is an interesting addition to any home or antique furniture collection. Because Oregon pine is not a particularly hard wood, this means that you can get Oregon items at reasonable prices.
The Oregon Pine tree (also known as the Douglas Fir, Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir and a host of other regional names) is an evergreen tree indigenous to Canada and the North-Western parts of the United States. The wood has pronounced colour differences between its early-wood and late-wood, with the heartwood much darker than the sapwood. The colour ranges from a light yellow to a reddish brown, often with prominent rings showing the tree’s growth. The grain of the Oregon pine is usually straight, but can also be spiral or wavy. This means that Oregon wood has distinctive markings on sawn surfaces, with a few resin ducts and pockets. The dried timber from the tree is relatively durable, with an average weight of 530 kilograms per cubed metre.
What is Oregon wood used for?
Oregon Pine was a popular choice in the late 1800s and early 1900s, used in living and working quarters. A more formal hardwood would be put to use in public areas such as the dining room.
Today, along with being used for furniture, Oregon has a number of different applications, including:
- Heavy construction
- Harbour and dock work
- Ship and barge building
- Roof trusses
- Plywood and veneer
Where can I find antique Oregon furniture?
At Historic Woods, the company specialised in taking antique Oregon Pine timber from old locations and giving it a renewed look . The wood is sawed to particular sizes and down to the brighter wood, still often with historic nail marks, deep patina and bolt holes. The wood can then be put to use for timer framing and construction.
At Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, the company reclaims large amount of Oregon pine wood from old warehouses and factories. This wood is usually recovered in the form of dimensional lumber and large beams. This antique wood is then refinished and resurfaced to make wood tops (popular in restaurants and bars) and other furniture items.
A South African stockist of Oregon furniture is the Purple Chair. Visit their website or contact them directly as they may be able to help you source the antique Oregon furniture you are after.
How do I care for antique Oregon furniture?
If you are lucky enough to find or be given an antique Oregon furniture piece, don’t worry too much if it has a few dents or scratches. These markings tell the piece’s story and form part of its history. If you want to give your furniture some care, you can re-finish the antique to give it a new look. With an orbital, you can sand down and remove previous finishes and coatings. Before applying a new coating, first sand paper the item down once more with both 340 grade and 150 grade sand paper by hand. You can then apply the first coat of your chosen finish.
Between each coat (once it has fully dried), use 340-400 fine grade sand paper, applied by hand. You will usually need about 3 or 4 coats of the new finish, but you can keep applying until you are happy with its depth. Lastly, you can use 0000 grade steel wool to buff the new surface and follow this with some bees wax polish.
Using a natural polish such as bees wax is best for antique furniture, as it is closer to what was previously used to treat the item before the modern onset of chemicals and other treatments. You can also consider suing products such as Danish oil, tung oil, or linseed oil.
Antique Oregon furniture is not always easy to come by, so learn to recognise the wood so that you can identify it in at antique shop or at an auction sale.