Reclaiming Rail - Dangerous Harvesting of Century Old Steel
Renovating and Restoring
Part of our daily life on the rails is the renovation and restoration of century-old railway lines. Many techniques and methods date back over 100 years even though modern equipment and technology have been added to the mix to improve quality and safety.
Still it remains dangerous work and rigorous safety practices are always enforced. Tracks are never safe - even to walk on. We can only build our unique designs because of Railroad Service, our rail maintenance and construction business.
Without proper licensing and insurance it is not possible to even remove track - and extremely hazardous for the untrained. As a licensed professional railroad contractor specializing in railroads, we stand proud of our safety record.
So enjoy our design ideas and furniture but please stay away from rail sections you see.
Here is a simple look at how we do it.
WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE FOR MORE ON WHAT NOT TO DO.
Harvesting the Rail
Sustainability and railroading go hand in hand. Reclaimed from one project,rail and plates are indefinitely reusable unless they have been overly worn, damaged or fail to otherwise meet modern specifications.
We harvest rail during the regular course of our railroad construction and maintenance business. As we remove vintage rail and replace it with new modern steel, we select the most unique artifacts to be crafted into our furniture.
Rich in history, but beyond a usable service life on the railways, the reclaimed materials we use transported cargo and people from one coast to another.
But we give it a second life.
Only well trained professionals work our crews - and it takes their special eye to identify what rail will make amazing furniture.
Selecting the Rail - Harder than it Seems
We preserve the rails with the most interesting and documentable history behind them, so that together with our clients we can share that history and serve as curators of the stories they have to tell.
Pulling out the details that go into each project and drawing the natural beauty out of each piece takes time. It requires the skill of a master craftsman's eye to get it just the right piece.
The deeply weathered distress of years of exposure to natural elements reacts differently on metals. The original composition and methods of production for the steel create subtle variations and the exact location drives even more diversity. As a result, each piece is like art and individually unique.
Your selection will have a story - special to it and we include that history along with a signed certificate of authenticity with every piece.
Natural Creosote-Free Timber
We us virgin cross-ties that have never been tainted by Creosote or any other chemical. The timbers we use get singled out as seconds at the tie plant.
We select timber that won't make the grade to become crossties due to imperfections for the natural beauty found in those unique characteristics some might call flaws.
We take those features and incorporate them into our designs to add to the uniqueness of each piece. Those knots holes and beautiful twist in the grain add an organic natural quality to our work.
Industrial Designer, Robert Hendrick
Founder Robert Hendrick designs each piece. From concept to sketch to engineering and production, his mark is on each piece we craft.
With degrees in Industrial Design from Auburn University and an MFA in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University,his goal is a well-designed product from the start of the process through the end.
Focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility, the modern sleek and clean lines must be easy to assemble, as well as easy and simple to ship.
Using Date Nails
Until the late 1960s each cross tie had a small "date nail" hammered into it telling the year it was made and installed. We obtain those artifacts scavenged from when the track was originally installed.
Dating back to 1900, we use one of those nails in each piece we create.
Collectors buy and trade date nails. We share them in our work. Our crews are always looking for them and take great care in pulling them correctly so they can enhance our custom furniture.
Made in USA - Shipped Worldwide
It's a slice of Americana that we ship across the country and worldwide to Canada, Germany, the UK and countless other destinations.
The great industrial cities of Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis are familiar homes to our pieces.
Our work graces the homes and offices of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta - metropolitan cities rich in rail history.
Western and Southwestern projects have taken us to Denver, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Salt Lake City, Park City, Jackson Hole, Dallas and Houston.
So we take the extra time to be certain each piece can be easily assembled and disassembled to make them transportable.
Shipping is included in Continental US. We deliver and set up all furniture you purchase, we remove the crate and all the packing material before we leave. No mess, no clean up - just a beautiful addition to your room that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Building Your Selected Custom Piece
Traditional railroad building techniques are used in unconventional ways to respect the authenticity of each piece we create. Here Chris Carter, Design Studio Manager and Chief Builder demonstrates the years of experience required before anyone can do what he makes look easy. (click image to view & info).
Final assembly includes white glove Installation.
Notice that no tools were needed and each piece fits precisely.
Our installers also remove all packing materials leaving you with a perfect presentation.
Time to invite your friends over for a drink and to show them your table.
What Could Happen
Not our crew but it shows you what can happen. we make it look easy but there is a lot that goes into what we do - and creating exception custom furniture for you.