Old barn wood provides the basis of a new line of work for Glasder Building and Development, while brightening up the homes of McHenry County one piece of furniture at a time.
Glasder: Knock on Wood
Details can often make or break the most serious stories or the most meticulous paintings. Sometimes even a beautifully carved wooden accent can transform a house from the verge of rundown to almost mystical.
Joe Glasder, owner of Glasder Building & Development in Crystal Lake, has created a business in which he places great emphasis on the quality of details in his work.
“People remember my work and that’s why I get repeat business,” he said. His entry this year into custom furniture made from reclaimed wood is no exception.
All in a Day’s Work
For more than 20 years, Glasder Building & Development has prided itself in home construction and subdivision development across northern Illinois. In addition to McHenry County, Glasder has serviced clients in Lake, DuPage and Cook counties – and beyond.
In addition to new build, the firm specializes in additions and remodels. Custom furniture from reclaimed wood was added to its repertoire this year. It’s sort of a back-to-basics expansion of the company’s offerings, and one that Glasder is quite proud of.
“I started doing basements and small additions, moved on to houses and then subdivisions, and now I have gone back to what I started by demand and the economy,” Glasder explained.
Often Glasder works alone to design, cut, assemble and sand pieces, and, when necessary, counts on his group of skilled craftsmen for assistance. “The finished pieces are showroom quality,” Glasder asserted.
Beautiful, Quality Pieces
While the overall building industry has slowed because of the economy, Glasder has augmented his business by creating unique furniture from reclaimed barn wood. “I had built up a large customer base before and they are now my customers for furniture,” he said. In addition to repeat clients, clientele comes from word of mouth.
This product diversification coincides with a growing trend. “Many national retailers are promoting a return to simpler décor that emphasizes less extravagance,” Glasder said. “They have created specialty lines of reclaimed furniture.”
A good reputation and eye for industry trends, combined with a focus on quality, has positioned Glasder to continue growing in the region. “Quality is forever,” he said. “I have the experience and confidence in maintaining a certain excellence. They get the highest quality from materials to finished product.”
Glasder genuinely likes his work, which he thinks can only help build a solid furniture business. “I like what I do,” Glasder emphasized. “I’m a hands-on guy and it’s not just a numbers game.”
He also emphasizes flexibility and custom work. “My niche is custom furniture pieces that can’t be found anywhere else,” he said.
While working on a specific piece, Glasder takes on the mind set of his client for best results. “If we’re decorating or styling craftsman type furniture, we don’t want fancy or colonial,” he stated.
Sometimes a job will require that Glasder stay late into the evenings or come into the workshop on the weekend, which he has no problem doing in order to finish with the best results. “It’s kind of a labor of love,” he said. “I enjoy what I’m doing.”
Glasder especially enjoys tackling projects that are new or unique, and recently included built-in pieces such as custom bars, fireplace mantels and surrounds.
From Old Barn to Beautiful Decor
So where does Glasder get these incredible reclaimed pieces? About six years ago, he helped dismantled a barn in Cary (photo above) to make room for the Brookstone subdivision his firm developed.
The barn wood — including beams, timbers and siding — were reclaimed and are now being stored indoor at the shop in Crystal Lake for furniture production.
Glasder estimated the barn to have been about 150 years old. “It’s what people like — it’s a way of reusing history,” he said. “Each piece has a story.”
What he also likes about the project is that it is in concert with the green movement to reuse lumber instead of discarding it.
Glasder takes pride in the fact that he had the foresight to keep the wood instead of burning it, and that he is actually able to make something new and beautiful from it.
Using reclaimed wood is more than just a fad or a style, it helps the environment by reducing the need for cutting down younger trees and extends the life of durable old-growth wood.
“Anyone can create something out of a flat or square board, but to create custom work from an old barn is a talent and it’s fun,” he said.
What to Expect
With the addition of furniture and versatility of his work, Glasder is eager to take on whatever challenging projects his clients can imagine.
He will even give suggestions as to what might look nice in his clients’ homes or what pieces might fit well together.
“I have a portfolio of ideas,” he said. “I have the materials and talent.” He’s excited for the next project.
>> Glasder is located at 6115 Lou St. in Crystal Lake. For more, call 815-459-1155 or visit www.glasderbuilders.com.
Sidebar: Benefits of Reclaimed Wood Furniture
- Unique Appearance – Nail holes, wormholes, knots and variations in the wood grain
- Ties to History – Each piece tells a story
- of a time and place with local roots
- Green Elements – Sourced locally, preserves forests and utilizes less energy to process
- Strong, Stable and Durable – Tight, dense
- grain, has already stood the test of time
- Versatile – Can be sawn into wider
- planks than harvested lumber
Source: Glasder Building & Development