DIY & Architectural Salvage


Salvaged brick

The house on the property lately sold by Mr. J. J. M. Ritchie to the Nova Scotia Bank, was on Monday last put to the hammer and sold… the old fashioned brick chimnies bringing $15.

The Digby Weekly Courier, Apr 27, 1877


Do-it-yourselfers love architectural salvage; and Nova Scotia is fairly well served by salvage companies that divert old growth lumber and historic architectural details from C&D sites. These salvagers can be a rich source of period hardware and vintage moulding. Even things as minute as authentic nails and screws can be hard to find but are essential for correct finish work. Hopefully the salvage yard you eventually deal with is responsible enough to advocate for preservation (where possible) rather than always rushing to rape and pillage orphaned buildings. Responsibility also lies with the renovator who has the potential to damage built heritage with inappropriate alterations or additions. Attaching an old cornice to an old house isn’t necessarily a good idea just because the two are old. You may actually be creating Frankenstein Manor even though your intentions are noble.

It is a very smart and helpful practice to identify any renovation work by inscribing on the reverse side of newly installed woodwork any pertinent information, particularly if the wood is salvaged from another location. This would include recording the source of the material and the date of installation but may also contain other information that could be helpful to future stewards of the property. A photo log of home renovations is another option utilized by some but the long term survival of such records is subject to the assiduity of the property owner. Really, these two methods of record keeping, in tandem, are ideal. Taking care not to create a false sense of history is the key when dealing with reused material. Diligent documentation and sensitive, well-thought-out projects will help achieve this while protecting your investment from mistakes.


Architectural salvage in Nova Scotia

Phillips and Chestnut, Truro (formerly Onslow Historic Lumber Co.)

Renovator’s Resource, Halifax

Annapolis Heritage Society, Annapolis Royal

Graff Brothers Salvage Company, Weymouth

Bargain Bruce’s Reusables, Middleton

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Posted by Joe Jun 10, 2011 Posted in Architectural Salvage, Atlantic Canada, Featured Comments Off

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