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reclaimed hand-hewn barnwood around RV slide-out

Incorporating history into our RV with hand-hewn barnwood

Are you a sucker for old, weathered, reclaimed wood that has a story to tell?

We love adding history to our tiny home on wheels and reclaimed wood is one way to do just that.

The key to using wood in an RV is to use lighter options or have it milled down. For our RV slide-out molding, we used hand-hewn barnwood skins. The “skins” are basically one side of a barnwood beam, making them much thinner and therefore lighter, without sacrificing character.

If you’re planning a renovation, we hope to inspire you to use reclaimed materials in your own home, even if it’s one on wheels.

Rustic RV with hand-hewn barnwood around slide-out

Incorporating history into our RV with Reclaimed Hand-Hewn Barnwood

A few years ago, we replaced the original RV slide-out molding with new wood. However, we knew it was just a placeholder until we came across hand-hewn barnwood skins.

Here’s a photo of the original RV slide-out molding in our living room:

Original RV slide-out molding in Tiffin Allegro OpenRoad 32LA

If you’re unfamiliar with the term hand-hewn or rough-hewn wood, it’s the process of transforming a round log into square timber using nothing but hand tools, resulting in visible marks and texture.

Reclaimed Hand Hewn Skins | MountainModernLife.com

Back in the day, early settlers would generally cut trees from their property to build their homes and barns. At this time, sawmills were either harder to come by, or more expensive.

It was a labor-intensive process, but this technique is what gives the hand-hewn wood so much character and history. It’s also why I love and appreciate them so much.

Unfortunately, finding a place that sold hand-hewn barnwood skins, was another story.

We were unable to find any nearby during our renovation, and while I found locations out of state that could ship, they required large orders.

It may have taken 3 years, but we recently found some amazing hand-hewn barn wood from the 1800’s. It’s Rock Elm, which is a hardwood rarely used anymore, although it used to be a highly sought-after wood.

This is because it grew extremely tall and strong, and was often referred to as “cork elm” because of it’s durability, even against water. It was used in ships and even as spokes and hubs of early automobiles. Pretty cool, huh?

The wood needed some love in regards to cleaning it up, but we are thrilled with the end results!

Updated RV interior using reclaimed wood

While I’m super happy, and impressed with myself for patiently waiting to find hand-hewn wood, I know any reclaimed wood would have looked amazing!

Every time I’m able to incorporate reclaimed wood into our RV, I’m reminded of the quote from, Georgie Nakashima, taken from his book, The Soul of a Tree.

If you do something beautiful with a tree it lives forever" quote from George Nakashima

If you’re curious about the process we went through to prepare and install the hand-hewn barnwood inside our RV, you can watch the video below:

Video: Updating RV Slide-out with hand-hewn barnwood

Filling in the cracks:

If you watched the video above you may have seen that there were a few cracks in the wood that showed up on the right-side of our slide-out. Thankfully, it was an easy fix, but one I didn’t get to until after the video was published. I just filled them in (from the back) with some epoxy and now you wouldn’t even know they were there. Easy peasy.

RV Slide-out Molding replaced with reclaimed hand-hewn barnwood skins

This area is a bit difficult to photograph since it’s in such a small space, but here are some additional photos:

RV slide-out molding replaced with reclaimed hand-hewn barnwood skins

Rustic RV with hand-hewn barnwood around slide-out

RV slide-out renovation

RV slide-out molding replaced with reclaimed hand-hewn barnwood skins

updated RV fridge with sheet metal

Hand-hewn barnwood skins around RV slide-out molding

using reclaimed rough-hewn skins inside RV

Rustic RV renovation with hand-hewn barnwood

cabin-inspired RV interior

The book Cabin Style on faux leather ottoman inside RV

Rustic modern RV interior

Here are some additional videos you may find helpful, including how to remove the slide-out molding, and tips for cleaning reclaimed wood.

Post: Tips for Removing and Updating RV Slide-out Trim

Post: How to clean reclaimed wood

additional resources

Crescent Moon Antiques – This is where we found the wood

About Rock Elm Wood | Wood Magazine

History + Video showing hand-hewn process | Reclaimed Barnwood

History of Hewing | Antique Beams and Boards

 Hand-Hewn Timbers History | Altruwood

About hand-hewn wood | Log Cabin Hub


We hope you found this information helpful, or at the very least inspirational! If you’ve added reclaimed materials into your own tiny home on wheels, we would love to hear about it!

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