SOLD to Keith D in Excelsior Spring, Missouri 10/06/2018
With this natural, deep rich, dark color, many people would mistake this fireplace mantel for black walnut. It is in fact, a strong-patina white oak. If you look closely, you can see where the ghosts of the original circle saw that cut these timbers 100 years ago. Back in the day, they would bring portable sawmills, like the one in the ad, on-site to cut the required lumber. You can see the big saw blade that left its mark on this old beam. It also has a great original rectangular size.
White oak is naturally a wheatish-tan color. However, when the wood sits in a barn environment, it can darken up to nearly a dark roast coffee brown. The dark coloring saturates into the surface and cracks of the wood. This is the real deal — 100-year-old barn beams with no modern distressing here.
The bottom is an original face but shows a little sapwood and bark. The sapwood is the new wood just below the bark. For some reason, it does not have the tannin content like the heartwood, so it doesn’t naturally darken.
This mantel beam came from an early 1900s vintage barn near Cologne, Minnesota, about 40 miles SW of Minneapolis downtown. This is the beginning of farm country. The soil here is rich and runs black as deep as three feet. If you are familiar with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, this area was known as the edge of the Big Woods. As a bit of trivia, the barn was owned by the brother-in-law of Carol Molnau, the Lt. Governor of Minnesota from 2003 to 2011. He recalls when President Reagan visited Minnesota and the Molnau farm. There were secret service snipers perched on the silo.
There’s a couple of pictures of the actual barn being dismantled. This beam probably came from the basement and was as icky and gooey as it looks. It is amazing what great wood can be hidden underneath all of that goo. Farmers regularly whitewashed their milking parlors with lime to keep the environment sanitary. You can see a few pictures of the original whitewashed beam.
We can cut this mantel shorter and refinish the ends for an additional $50.
It can be shipped anywhere in the lower 48 states via FedEx Gnd for $75.
The Tag – School Bus. Not a lot of history on this, but just a cute picture from a Little Golden Book.