Antique Beams & Boards Gives Old Barns New Life
Matt Gleckler’s northwest Ohio business carefully harvests wood from rural structures across the state.
The weather-beaten frames of old barns dot the fields of northwest Ohio. Where some see demolition and disposal, Matt Gleckler sees opportunity. His Antique Beams & Boards in Delta recycles historic structures into reclaimed-lumber showpieces. Barn boards find new life as beautiful countertops, solid mantelpieces and wood flooring.
“At our core, we honor the past by showcasing the wood pieces in a new way,” Gleckler says. “I started this as a business to support my family, but over time my passion for these old barns has grown. Every barn provides a glimpse into the past.”
Gleckler never planned on opening a reclaimed-lumber business. After graduating from the University of Toledo in finance, he worked in banking investments. Wanting to start his own business, Gleckler next built a new movie theater in Wauseon, which he and his wife still own and operate today.
Inspiration struck when Gleckler had to knock down a dilapidated barn to build the theater. After researching demolition and reclaimed barn wood, he was intrigued. Barns from 200 years ago, built with hand-hewn timbers, still possessed quality and beauty. Today, he has helped give new life to materials from more than 1,000 barns.
Ohio barn materials harvested by Antique Beams & Boards are found nationwide, especially in the eastern United States. In 2010, Gleckler disassembled a full-frame barn in Northwood and sent it to Stowe, Vermont, to be reconstructed as a vacation home.
Homes and businesses in Ohio carry pieces of local barn history as well. Bass Pro Shops in Rossford purchased restored wood for the store’s flooring and siding. Orchard Bar + Table in Catawba Island used reclaimed beams and boards in its decor. Gleckler has also donated reclaimed wood to Sauder Village, a living-history destination in Archbold.
“I can tell by the building style the age of the barn, give or take 10 to 15 years,” Gleckler says, adding that the types of wood used are often indicative of a barn’s location. Napoleon has lots of elm, he explains, and east of Toledo there is more oak.
“There are barns in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, but not in the quantity that there are in northwest Ohio,” Gleckler says. “Material from an old barn is really recyclable. Everything gets used, down to every last nail.”
For more information, visit antiquebeamsandboards.com.