One of the best things about upcycling is that it can preserve items rich with history. These railroad upcycles from Rail Yard Studios are a great example of that. Made from rails worn from use and retired from service, this custom line recalls an age gone by.
The story behind Rail Yard Studios
The team behind Rail Yard Studios are father-son duo Jim and Robert Hendrick. Jim has had a lifelong passion for carpentry and instilled the same love in his son Robert. Robert studied industrial design and developed an appreciation for the efficiency of rail during years spent in Europe. Upon returning home to Tennessee, Robert decided to purchase a railroad contracting company involved with railroad construction and maintenance. It was almost inevitable that the pair would get involved with railroad upcycles.
Rail must be taken out of service when it is too worn down to be relayed. Robert started seeing century old rails with names like Carnegie, Bethlehem, Illinois and Tennessee being sold for scrap. Some of the rails were emblazoned with dates as early as 1899.
With a desire to preserve history and some slow days on the line, Jim and Robert began experimenting with furniture design. The resulting railroad upcycles are more than just functional, they effectively serve as uniquely crafted works of art.
Most of the railroad upcycles made by Rail Yard Studios are custom built. The historical, century-old railroad steel comes mainly from track renovations in the southeastern U.S. The hardwood timbers are sourced from suppliers as rejects. While the bark seams and knots might be undesirable to suppliers, for Jim and Robert they are viewed as incredible natural design features.
Rail Yard Studios are always looking to add new products to their range. Although they started with large upcycled furniture pieces like desks and tables, their most popular pieces now include smaller items such as the Rail Yard wine racks.
We think that these railroad upcycles are awesome. The history of the rails and industrial chic style of design are majorly appealing to us. We’d love to have one of these pieces in our home, would you want to have one in yours?
Source: Rail Yard Studios
6 Thoughts on Railroad Upcycles
The upcycles look great. I want them. One concern: what about the arsenic that is in old railroad ties. I used railroad ties in my garden, but the chickens died from arsenic poisoning.
Concerned about the possibility that the wood may be contaminated with creosote.
Hi Sandra and Fred, thanks for your comments. The wood ties are sourced through suppliers as rejects. As imperfect timbers, they are not treated with the various chemicals, such as creosote.
It is good to here that you are aware of the chemicals that are used. Great job. Thanks for the reply.
Thank you for the information. I am a DIY person and was wondering what this wood cost to purchase. If it’s not a trade a secret 🙂
Where could I find/buy those ‘spikes’ used on the wine rack?