Images credit and © Robert Hendrick, used with permission
Industrial designer Robert Hendrick was workin' on the railroad (he has a railroad contracting company) and saw century old names from rail lines and mills being wiped away, sold for scrap. So he and his dad Jim started Rail Yard Studios to repurpose ties, pieces of rail, spikes and brackets into heavy but very cool benches, tables and even wine racks.
Sustainability has always been synonymous with the railroad, and the functional furnishings from Rail Yard Studios are pure railroad. Our steel rails are salvage material, and we rescue the crossties from the tie plant furnace.
But more than just sustainable materials, it is creating sustainable jobs:
With a demand for authenticity, Rail Yard Studios insists that only true railroad components be integrated into a design. Furthermore, the products the company makes are completely "Made in the USA" and are crafted in large part by the same hands that work the railroad on a daily basis - honest, hard-working blue-collar laborers.
This is heavy stuff; that's why I like the wine rack so much, I might actually be able to move it. I had some concern about the safety of using railway ties; they are often treated with creosote or other preservatives. But in the Environment and Safety section, Robert writes:
First, we do not use creosoted ties. We use only new ties that have not yet been treated in any way. These timbers were "culled" as seconds, marked and destined for the furnace before we intercepted them from that fate....These ties were singled out because of excessive knots, splits, warps or other imperfections. While those features make those ties less than ideal for running 180,000 pound rail cars over them, they add great character to our pieces.