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Originally published Friday, June 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

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New life for Northwest old-growth beam

The solid beam, likely old-growth fir, was in good condition when it was recovered from the 1940s home on Bainbridge Island.

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NO ONE likes to see a piece of old-growth wood go to waste. Especially when it can be reused and rebuilt into a functional piece of furniture that retains its original birthmarks and character.

This beam was salvaged recently from a house deconstruction on Bainbridge Island. The solid beam, likely old-growth fir, was in good condition when it was recovered from the 1940s home. A Ballard RE Store field-crew member envisioned a bench fashioned from pieces of the beam, and he crafted this piece, leaving the original bolts, stakes and wood contours in place. The crew member said he was surprised at how much tree sap was still in the beam as he worked with the wood.

The builder cut two segments to serve as the bench's legs, and the structure itself is about 5 feet long. On either end of the polished plank you can count the tree's growth rings. The bench is coated with a polyurethane finish, making it fit for inside and out. It will feel right at home in your summer garden.

For sale: The old-growth fir bench is going for $250.

Dimensions: It's about 5 feet long, 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide.

Find it: The RE Store is at 1440 N.W. 52nd St. in Seattle. Online at www.re-store.org.

Michelle Ma is a Seattle-based freelance writer. Alan Berner is a Seattle Times staff photographer.

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