Introduction: Lazy Mans Upcycled Workshop

About: I´m that Guy of MAYER MAKES You can find my projects on Youtube ,Facebook and now also on Instructables. Subscribe to my Channel to stay tuned

Hi I'm that Guy called Mayer from MAYER MAKES.

I have been moving a little time ago so I had to set up a new ( thank the all mighty Tesla) bigger workspace.

With a bigger place to live comes a deeper hole in the money department, so I kept doing what I already over did the last years and upcycled, reclaimed and reused every single bit of my old furniture and stuff I found at the garbage bin to set up a new workbench and other useful items.

This guide is not a step by step instruction because you will probably not find the exact same things I used to make this "furniture" but it leads you to your own designs and gives you some helpful tips on the way.

Step 1: It Is Not About Piling Up Stock

Reclaiming and upcycling does not start with piling up stock and garbage until you finaly decide to use your precious scraps in a project. it is about tackling tasks with the stuff you already have.

so keep these guidelines in mind when collecting Materials:


Everything that has a square edge is your friend

more of the same is better than mixed odds

Ikea is a goldmine

Live edge wood only if its a rare or valuable wood

if it's wet , it is crap!


furniture parts are only useful if they are complete, you will NOT find the missing part soon.

only straight rods ,strips and angles are worth keeping for longer than right now.

Wire is cheaper than you think, do not waste space for generic cables

special vintage items get their own box.


Screws , bolts, nuts, etc. should be sorted if you have much of the same.

Start a single bin for odd screws etc. and search there if you can't find a suitable part in the other part bins, clean it out once a year to get rid of the unusable things.

If you haven used it when a year has passed, you won't use it soon... so get rid of it.

Wheels and guided rails are expensive, so make sure you salvage them all and sort the bad ones out.

Step 2: No Need to Cut

I f you have many boards with the same sizes, you can often get away without any cutting. Just adapt your plans to the sizes you already have.

My old mini workbench (as seen in the picture) is mostly made from 80x40cm board and 33x33cm boards screwed together , and it served me well.

It is now replaced with a much much much much bigger workbench but the principle stayed the same, I used what I had.

2 heavy duty concrete-casting Boards measuring 100x200cm reclaimed from a construction site.

2 Ikea Expedit (the new pendant is called Kallax) units formed the body and my old bed was the donor of some reinforcement parts.

I aligned everything to the measurements of the big boards. It is about 97cm high (including the wheelbase) which is pretty close to the average working height of 100cm.

Ikea items are a goldmine for reusing parts, just experiment around and compare the measurements of totally different Ikea Items, they will mostly fit well together.

Storage containers of any kind can hold other items than they are originally intended for. Some containers are strong enough to work as stabilizers for otherwise flimsy wooden contraptions.

Flipping things upside down or laying them sideways gives you completely new ideas to make use of shapes and features. But sometimes it is the best thing to just build a piece of furniture up like it is ment to be and then repurpose it for another task.

This was the case for my old Aneboda closet, I turned into a spray painting booth. (you can see it in the video in the next step.)

Try stacking things together and If you have to cut try to use even dividable numbers, this will make combining the next parts easier.

It is also a very good idea to mock it up with clamps and to look at it from different perspectives, to discover flaws or benefits you would not see otherwise.

Step 3: Watch the Tour of My Upcycled Workshop

You can see the mentioned examples in the video:

Step 4: Scrap Wood Is More Than Waste

Scrap wood can be used for small simple projects like this one:

It is in german, please click on the subtitles-Icon to view english subs.

Step 5: Search for Other Projects to Get Inspired

This is another simple project you can build with scrap wood.

Browse around the web to find more simple scrap wood projects to get inspired.

Step 6: Little Sticky Helpers

reclaimed wood often splits, some pieces are worth restoring.

To harden cracked or ripped wood you can use home made wood hardener.

my MAYER MAKES wood hardener (patent will never be pending) is made from:

1. Colophone (Kolophonium) you can buy at Musical Instrument shops

2. Aceton.

3. Time

Just desolve the colophone in some aceton and let it sit for a few hours.

To harden your cracked pieces of wood , pour or brush it onto the cracked part of the wood and let the acetone evaporate (keep in mind you must be in a well ventilated area). the colophone sticks to the grain and gives it back some of its strength.

If maggots have been eaten your precious piece of reclaimed wood you can soak the whole piece in the wood hardener, but keep in mind that the cost of the procedure should be reasonable for your piece.

I did the soaking technique myself on a vintage guitar, to save it for the next generation.

Step 7: Even Rattan Can Be Reclaimed

There are wooden materials that are mostly known to easily rot and break

but there are techniques to restore even those like rattan.

By using barbecue sticks and utilizing Steam and glue you can recreate broken or rotten sticks.

Even waiting can be inspiring to make something:

Step 8: Use Up Your Stockpile Right Now!

What are you waiting for ???

reclaim some wood and use up your stock pile now.

practical furniture and rustic designs can be easily made with basic tools and little to no experience in woodworking.

But before you start reclaiming all the wood in the world .head over to my youtube channel

Like my page on FB:

and look at my other Instructables to get even more information and ideas for your upcycled Workshop!

Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016