Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reclaimed Wood

At this little place here, we have quite a few things that are made from wood we have "reclaimed".  That is the current catch-phrase, anyway.  Used to be we just called it making stuff from things that were still useful.

Like the deck my parents removed from their house ten or so years ago.  I had helped my dad build that deck in my middle school years, and it had given my parents a good twenty years of service when they decided to replace it.  Some of the deck boards were warped, but with the exception of the pilings and some of the joists, just about all of the lumber was still solid.  So, when it was offered to us, we gladly drove our trailer over, loaded up all the pieces of a 24'x12' deck, and hauled it home.

Once home, the lumber was sorted and stacked by size, and through the next couple of years it became several useful items:

a 'two-seater' chair that sits by our fire ring

a 'single' chair that sits by the fire

the picnic table that resides on our deck

cellar shelves

more cellar shelves

All those useful items!  And our only cost was the time and gas it took to go get the wood, plus a few nails and/or screws that DH all ready had leftover from previous projects (like building the house and barn at this little place here). The picnic table was built about 2005, both chairs were built by DS1 and DS2 in the spring of 2007.  Twenty-some years as a deck, several years stacked up waiting to be reused, and seven to nine more years of sitting outside year round, and the wood is still nice and solid.  I can see that picnic table and those chairs still being in use a decade from now. (Plus, that table is so heavy the only way it is ever coming down off our deck is in pieces!)

Some of our reclaimed wood was delivered to us, saving us even the cost of gas to bring it to this little place here.  Many of my garden stakes had former lives as door or window trim in the home of a family we go to church with.  The trim was replaced when they remodeled their home, and knowing we heat with wood, the husband brought a truckload of old trim work over one summer evening.  DH instantly recognized it's potential as sturdy garden stakes, and cut it into appropriate lengths for it's new assignment rather than burning it.

Another batch of garden stakes arrived to this little place here in the form of deck railing from a golf course clubhouse that our friend the junk man was hired to haul off.  DH took apart the railing, removed the balusters, used the long boards for some other project, and put all the balusters in my bin of garden stakes.

Still more stakes, all my extra long ones (6'+) were sticker boards from when we had some oak logs milled into boards to make the trim work for our own house.  They served several years holding the layers of oak boards apart for good airflow while drying, then once the boards were used, the 1"x 1" dimension sticker boards became extra tall stakes that are mostly used for marking the seedling trees we have planted all around this little place here.  The weeds and grass (or field crops) can grow and grow, three, four, six feet high, and we can still see the stakes marking the little trees, keeping those trees safe from the mower, or the combine.  Being oak, they last for years and years out in the elements, until the trees have grown tall enough to be easily visible no matter what grows up around them.

Back in the garden, the posts that DH set a few weeks ago for my new grape trellis are also wood we got for free.  They were, I believe, part of the golf course decking delivery from the junk man.  Or maybe a different load he brought us that year.  Anyway, they came from lumber that was otherwise destined for the landfill, and instead ended up neatly sorted and stacked at this little place here, ready for reuse.

DH's latest project using reclaimed wood (some more of that golf course decking from a few years ago), was to build a pergola for the entrance to the garden.  Really, he needed a trellis for the hops vine that is planted to one side of the entrance (that last summer completely engulfed a nearby young sugar maple).  So he decided to kill two birds with one stone: give the hops something to climb, while dressing up the opening in the rock wall where we enter the garden.

It's kind of funny.  That pergola went up on Sunday.  In the first 24 hours of it's existence, it received compliments from three different people, two of which wanted to know where we got it!  They never would have guessed it was made from wood someone else threw away if we hadn't told them.

Old wood doesn't have to take up space in a landfill.  It doesn't have to rot away in some junk pile stuffed in the corner of someone's acreage.  It can be quite useful if in the right hands.  Hands that are willing to take the time to inspect it, save out the solid pieces, sort and stack them by dimension, and dream up a new purpose for a pre-used hunk of wood.

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