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When old becomes new again: Local man uses reclaimed wood while building his home

Jerry Kubiszewski, of Tea looks at thing differently than a lot of other folks. When he sees an old barn, he studies the wood, and wonders what the story is behind each piece of lumber. It has become his obsession, he says.

Jerry recently retired from installing wood shake shingles. He said, “Thirty years of that was enough.”

Now he looks for old wood to create new things. He’s built several houses from reclaimed wood, using the old lumber in many ways. He’s built two so far, one in Pringle, S.D. and one in Klondike, Iowa.

He said, “Klondike Road goes to Iowa, When you go down across — just across the river, you look up, there’s a cabin up right there; the only one there — I built that basically on top of the river there.”

That cabin is made of Southern Yellow Pine that Jerry tore off of an old lumber yard in Missouri. Using reclaimed wood can add details to a house not always found with new construction. Salvaged pieces, like the ones Jerry looks for, are often marked with beauty and character that provide a unique look to the home or project. The work begins when he tears down the old structures. Jerry said he takes his time, “We use a tool and pull every nail out. We take it apart about as opposite as they put it together.”

Although that method takes an extended amount of time.

Jerry said, “If you’ve done it long enough, and know what you’re doing — you just don’t look at the clock.”

The history of the wood is what holds meaning for Jerry. A real artisan in his craft, he said, “I like to do it because you know our ancestors, or whoever did it, they did it with a handsaw, they went to town with a wagon.”

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