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Salvager keeps treasure trove of 'architectural antiquities' for use in historic home restoration projects
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BY RICHARD AMRHINE
If he had his way, Craig Jacobs would transport the "architectural antiquities" he salvages directly to where they'll be reused.
"It's best if you only have to handle it one time," he said. "It's more efficient."
But looking at the array of items that fills the three huge, old turkey barns he rents in southern Orange County, it doesn't always work out that way.
Jacobs has run the business called Salvagewrights Ltd. for the past seven years or so and has five guys working for him. He divides his time between collecting and reselling parts from old houses, and dismantling historic struc-tures that he'll reassemble piece by piece at a new site.
"My goal is to keep houses together as much as possible," he said. There is always a market for salvaged parts that people will use in restoration projects to keep a structure as authentic to its time period as they can.
Jacobs also lives in the era he works, sort of. He and his wife have raised five daughters in a Madison County log cabin that he has called "two steps above camping." Computer? Yes. TV? No.
He has a special affinity for pre-Civil War structures that use post-and-beam or mortise-and-tenon construction. One of his barns holds piles of numbered lumber that are actually cabins, barns or houses waiting for a new site for reconstruction. Boards are often numbered in yellow, red or blue to denote the first, second or third story, respectively.
"That way we'll know where it goes when it comes off the truck," he said, which is important when there are multiple tractor-trailer loads of parts.
Some of the wood is identifiable at a glance, like the monster, hand-hewn, 12 by 12-inch posts that are 30 to 40 feet long. They are from trees harvested a couple of centuries ago, give or take, and you won't find them at the local lumber yard, he said.
Jacobs has gained a reputation that has taken him as far west as Indiana, as far south as Georgia and as far north as upstate New York to claim structures that might otherwise be lost to rot or a bulldozer.