Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reusing lumber

Recently, I decided to try my hand at woodworking. You see, I need furniture and I'm a writer. Anyone in publishing knows that means buying new furniture is out of the question.

As it happens, I'm fairly handy, like building things and noticed a table that looked good in an issue of Canadian Home Workshop. And it was labeled as a "beginner" project. Perfect. It went well, and I now have two very nice end tables waiting to be painted.

However, I feel a pang of guilt every time I buy virgin timber. Add to that the poor selection at my local Home Depot (the lumber independent lumber yard at the end of my street closed a couple years ago), and woodworking is a bit tricky. There is forest-friendly lumber, but really, I think that I can do better.

There's a lot of waste lumber in the bins at construction sites or, better yet, behind stores and factories. As another issue of Canadian Home Workshop reminded me recently, shipping pallets are often hardwood. Many are made of maple, such as the stuff being cut down in places I like to ski and hike. It would sadden me to no end to see these noble trees used just for pallets, then burned or chucked in a landfill.

So, now begins my foraging for lumber to re-use. It also means I need a few tools, namely a table saw (need this anyway) and a plane to smooth out this found treasure. My first projects will be for the office, which is a safe place in case they don't turn out the way my dreams would have them.

Where to find good used tools? Craigslist is the most obvious, though eBay can also be a source. I'm also asking you: Do you or any relatives or friends have good used power tools they want to unload? They'll go to a good home and help save some very nice trees.


Anonymous said...

Hi Craig!

Have you heard of Urban Tree Salvage? My friends made their own kitchen cabinets a couple of years ago and this is where they bought their wood.


Take care,

KarenInTo said...

That looks good, Craig! I hope you had someone to high-five with when you stood back to look at your work.

I got a small package of milk paint from here (great selection of colours): http://www.homesteadhousepaint.com/

They're close to Lee Valley's downtown store too.

I don't have any tools but you can borrow any of my power saws or the router.

Anonymous said...

You should check out Northonsixty - they're a small company doing similar things to what you're talking about.