Reuse Old Fence Boards!




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

As fences age, they start to fall apart and generally look pretty decrepit. I found that although the boards are very old (up to 50 years in some cases), if they are made out of cedar, they can be in pretty good shape, have lots of integrity left, and can be reused for many helpful projects. Some of those follow in this instructable.


Step 1: First Project From Old Fence Boards

In this step, an old time hutch unit is built. I didn't even make plans, just figured out what I wanted and started cutting. Some boards were ripped to 2 and 1/2 inches to be used as leg stock. These were cut to 27 inches in length, 3 pieces are screwed together for each leg.

Step 2: Some Construction Details

Here I've shown some close-ups of the construction methods I used. In just a few hours of work I was able to make these very useful pieces of furniture. There are, of course, an almost unlimited number of things to be built with this lumber. And it is virtually free! I use various woodworking tools, including: table saw; miter saw; drills; pneumatic nailer, clamps, glue, etc.

Step 3: Another Project: Small Router Table

In this step, a small table is made to accommodate my router table. Following the same construction steps, this is an easily made table and takes a minimum amount of time.

Step 4: Cutoff Saw Bench

Here, a bench is made to hold my cutoff or miter saw. This is one of the most used tools I have, and is indispensible for many projects. It is very accurate in cutting angles, and I have used it a lot in framing pictures, making frames for canvas used in art work, and making other, angled cuts for various projects. (See small frame holders, fence gate, etc.)

Step 5: Fence Gate Made With Old Fence Boards

I made this gate out of reused lumber. The cross braces were cut on the miter saw. Prior to having this saw, this project would have been difficult to make.

Step 6: Picture Frames Made With Old Fence Boards

These frames were cut from the same cedar boards used for the large projects. Very little goes to waste!

Step 7: Some Signs Made From Reused Fence Boards

I make these signs out of reused fence boards! Fun!

Step 8: But Wait! There's More

A few additional, final projects completed using old fence boards. One picture is a display unit of shelves, and the other picture is of a planter.



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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    My idea is to make a fireplace surround up to the pitched ceiling, electric insert 36" wide lined with fire proof sheet rock. Barn doors couldn't be simpler, got hangers and rails on Amazon for $70. Gonna put on small bedroom ceiling and paint white. Like all yawls ideas, Thanks!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome. There are a pile of old fence boards in the yard that I've been pondering about, figuring they'd be a good thing to start my woodworking career with, since screwing up royally wouldn't lead to wasted money. I do have a couple questions, though. I'm assuming you cut the boards lengthwise to make the narrower pieces, such as those used for table legs and frames. What do you use to cut the boards this way? And what do you mean by 'ripping' the boards?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wrote this also in another instructable, but I'like to add it here too.
    So, it os happens that there is actually an intelligence test, where intelligence is measured by the different ways one may think for using things not in their normal, intented way.
    There is, nonetheless, serious critique for the concept of an intelligence test.
    Implied above is not so much an hymn for intelligence, but an appreciation of versantile thought and new ideas.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    I really like the way you supported the legs on the hutch! I use fence boards for building furniture a lot, and I'll be keeping that idea in mind for the future!


    8 years ago on Step 7

    In the "past", I was the guy that would through this sort of material away. Thank you for sharing ways to reuse materials! EXCELLENT IBLE!


    8 years ago on Step 5

    I "REALLY" like your creative use of an old and typically discarded material. One suggestion though. The long continuous (solid) brace in the gate should be in the other direction. i.e. top of contiguous brace should be farthest from the top hinge and the the bottom should be closest to the bottom hinge. This makes for a sag free gate. All the weight of the gate tries to "compress" the single contiguous brace. By the way, I'm going to steal your garden work bench design for a friend of mine who is an avid gardener! Thanks!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I don't understand how the enviroment is being destroyed if soo many people are going green...


    9 years ago on Step 8

    Hi there..I had to smile when I viewed your reusit project because my husband and I were midway through our recycle fence project. We cut the 7'sections down to remove the water damage and used the sections around the back of the garden to keep the deer away. My husband plained sanded and stained a shelf for my daughter's closet, we replaced the tabletop that a storm smashed. I love to see people reuse good things :)


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Not much to be said other than, wow and great use of old wood. Nice work. Anything else you've made, go ahead and post. I'm intrested.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A man after my own heart! When I see an old fence being torn down, I think of all the rustic decorative stuff that could be made and sold at craft shows. Talk about free money! Some years ago, I made a potting bench using mostly old fence boards, and a guy I know makes birdhouses by the truckload. Re-use, the highest form of recycling.

    1 reply

    Cool! Whenever I see people getting new fences, it makes me think about different things that they could be used for...looks like you've gotten some great ideas.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Most excellent reuse. Well done ible and great examples. Thanks much for sharing. We have much of this fencing here since the passed 2 hurricane seasons.

    1 reply