Introduction: Using Recycled or Salvaged Timber.

About: I am dedicated to re-use, recycling & salvaging materials to make things for my home & garden, not just for financial reasons but also because I prefer the things I have around me to be the way I want …

I hate to see a good piece of timber go to waste, I have always felt that it was a crime for perfectly good wood to end up in a landfill just because the first thing that was made with it is no longer of use.
A few years ago I joined my local FreeCycle group, in the UK this later broke away from the FreeCycle organization & was reborn as FreeGle whichever you have local to you I can heartily recommend them, recycling networks are great & proof that one mans rubbish is another’s treasure.
A couple of months ago nostalgic girl & I were walking past the home of Flavio one of our FreeGle friends when I noticed the remains of a rather nice set of pine bunk beds in the front garden, I made a mental note & carried on home, over the next week or so I saw this pile of treasure a couple more times & finally I could wait no longer & emailed him to see what he had planned for it.
As it turned out because the framework was not complete he didn't think anyone would want it so he had planned to take it to the tip; well I couldn't let that happen could I? So I offered to save him a trip to the tip & take the lot off his hands he was more than happy & as we only live at the other end of the same Crescent even offered to bring it all round (I suspect he was worried I would change my mind).


Once all the pieces had been dismantled, cleaned & left to dry out the first project was a side table for my laptop, I needed a higher table than I had been able to find locally so it was time to press some of this lovely pine into service we are both quite fond of the rustic look in our furniture so a simple pine table made from two of the side rails & four of the legs from our bunk bed frame works very well for us.
some of the dowel holes are still visible at one end of the table top & the mortises for the framework are still in the legs but to tell the truth we really don't care' it sits at the end of our sofa between the arm & the wall so all that can normally be seen is one end & the top.
The only thing I intend to change are the screws, I only had phillips head wood screws available when I made it so as soon as I get a chance to pick some up these will be changed for some nice brass ones.


Next job on the list was a set of shelves for DVDs, the cabinet they used to reside in had to go when we got our two large leather sofas as it didn't really fit too well into the room & looked out of place with the other furnishings.
The sharp eyed among you will notice that the bottom shelf has a straight front while the other four have a bow front, the simple explanation for this is that I needed five shelves but only had four bow fronted pieces these you see were originally the head & foot boards on our bunk frames, the bottom shelf was originally one of the parts of the side guard on the upper bunk.
I left the top open to accommodate a few DVD sets we have that are a little larger than standard as well as any books that may find a home here.


Ok so now I had a table & shelf space for about three hundred DVDs what next?
Nostalgic girl enjoys reading biographies & our bedroom was getting a bit cluttered with ever growing piles of large hardback books as all the other shelves were already full.
I knew when I was patiently easing them out of their frames that the spindles from the head & foot boards would come in handy so these along with the end rails of the bunks came together as a set of rather smart book shelves in our bedroom, whilst I know they wont exactly solve the problem permanently they do look pretty good & as long as the better half is happy then I am happy.


It wouldn't be fair to have all this timber about & not make anything for my little workshop would it?
Anyone who has seen my Candle Nook 'ible may recall I was using a B&D Workmate in a rather sorry state of repair.
While we were running our pub nostalgic girls son had been pretty much in charge of the house & the poor thing had been left out all winter (the workmate not the son), this added to a few years of general abuse had pretty much destroyed the worktops.
Not any more folks; one of the larger side rails from the bunk frame has been used to give the workmate a new lease of life, you will notice that I have not yet bored any bench dog holes in it this is partly because I have not yet made the new dogs for it & also because I plan to make a router table to fit over the top & want to fit this before I do anything else, I have also made the tops a few inches longer than the originals.
You may notice in the photos the workmate is standing on a closed top pallet, this along with a number of others has a date with a belt sander quite soon as they are going to be added to our garden decking all of which has so far been built from salvaged pallets formerly destined to be burned or thrown into a chipper.


I had now run out of ideas for our bunk frame timber but still had need of one more piece of furniture.
We have regular nights in with friends playing quiz games & have built up quite a collection of them over the last couple of years, they take up a lot of space & are not exactly decorative so they needed a place to live once again FreeGle came to the rescue.
We were offered a quite nice rattan chest which was just about the right size however in our tiny house anything that big has to serve more than one useful purpose so it was time to create a multitasking chest.
Just before Christmas we had some of the floorboards at the top of our stairs replaced the old ones were dumped out on the front lawn by the carpenter & were destined for a chipper before the end of the day.... Oh no they were not!!!! This timber had been part of our house for five decades & apart from a few nail holes there was nothing wrong with it so it went into the store with all the other salvaged timber.
An hour or two of sanding down brought the reverse side of the floorboards up great, I held them together with some upholstery webbing then screwed through a couple of battens inside the chest lid up into the boards to secure it to the top, some castors salvaged from an old tv stand hold the legs about 6mm off the floor so the whole thing fully loaded can be moved with one finger but it looks like it stands on the chest feet.
they still had a few battle scars from being nailed down for fifty years & there are pale sections on each of them where they laid across the floor beams but we both feel that adds to the rustic charm of our table, a couple of coats of varnish have brought out the beautiful colour of the timber & everyone keeps asking where we bought it.

I know that many of you will say that I could have got rid of many of the blemishes in the timber, I also know that some of you will say that I could have closed up the gaps between the boards more, filled in the mortises on the table legs & the dowel holes in the board ends & do you know what? You are right I could have, I have all the necessary skills & knowledge but that would have been defeating the purpose, we wanted furniture that not only reflect our tastes but also hold a few clues to the viewer to its former life.

It's worth pointing out that bearing in ming the timber was ALL FREE the chest was FREE the castors were FREE the total cost for the side table, DVD shelves, book shelves, coffee table/chest & the workmate top was less than £10 for glue, screws & varnish

Anyway folks even if what I have made does not suit your own tastes I hope it at least demonstrates that what some may see as scrap timber others may see as something more so think twice before you just send it off to a landfill.

I Made It Photo Contest

Participated in the
I Made It Photo Contest