Do You Ever Use Upcycled Wood For Projects? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-24-2019, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Do You Ever Use Upcycled Wood For Projects?

Do You Ever Use Upcycled Wood For Projects?-upcycle.jpg

Upcycled wood is a unique challenge to woodworkers daring enough to choose it for a project. Not only does it provide your finished work with unique character, but the actual process of working with it is different than working with new wood. Sourcing upcycled wood for projects takes a little bit of legwork and research and a lot of discerning attention to detail. Sourcing Upcycled Wood for Projects
Do you ever use upcycled wood for projects?

I often see people giving away old furniture and wonder about the things that could be built from it.
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-24-2019, 02:56 PM
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Old furniture is just that, old furniture. I have never seen any that had any pieces big enough to use for any other than small projects. Then it would not be worth the effort to reclaim the wood.

Now if you happened to run into a lot of old church pews that would be a different story.

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-24-2019, 08:54 PM
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+ on the old church pews.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-24-2019, 10:10 PM
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All the time...!!!

Some projects are nothing but "up cycle" for the entire project from structural timber frame, doors, windows, floors, furniture...just about all of it...

Repurposing (aka upcycling) is huge these days as an off shoot for many Historic Restoration professional's work. We can't save it all, so better to save what we can a different way...

Timber Frame to Floor...Window to Furniture...much of it has a new life to offer with just a little effort and imagination...
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 02:52 AM
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I have used thousands of feet of reclaimed old growth heart pine flooring and beams in some of the older antique homes I have worked in. I have made complete stairs,rails etc out of reclaimed antique lumber.

I have even made two complete sets of cabinets out of old grayed barn wood. One set in a butlers pantry in a home we restored that was orignal 1822 and one in a replica old Williamsburg tack room. I also made a hutch out of antique Chestnut that was at one time in a pew in an old church that was built in the late 1700s. I love working with the old reclaimed lumber, it has a history.

I have a good supply of old barn wood out in the shop now. Even the scraps make great looking picture frames. I still have a few pounds of the old square head nails that were made back in the late 1700s. I am saving them for a special project, if ever I do decide what that is. lol
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 01:42 PM
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As Jay put it, "All the time...!!!"

I look for free and "underpriced" hardwood furniture with an eye to harvesting the wood for future projects. I find them on the curb, from family and friends, and at thrift stores. I hate to admit it, but sometimes Spouse and I have a small discussion about whether to buy a very underpriced piece of furniture for its wood, or leave it behind for a needy person who might want to buy it to use. I try to be picky - no MDF, particle board, or plywood for me. One problem that happens from time-to-time is that Spouse sees something that I brought home and prevents me from cutting it up, turning it into a restoration project instead.

It takes a certain mindset to be good at harvesting wood from old furniture. You have to be very picky about finding and removing every screw, nail, staple, and other hardware left behind. I don't use metal detectors, just due care. I am ruthless. If there is doubt that some metal may remain (example: broken staple), the piece gets tossed. Sometimes it is easier to cut off a chunk and dispose it rather than pulling out all the metal. I use old cheap blades for the rough cutup work.

I also save and reuse scrapwood. It gets used for prototypes, testing, or backing to prevent tearout. Thin exotic hardwood scraps get laminated into pen blanks. The cutoff ends of pen blanks sometimes get turned into bracelet beads for my nieces. I don't like waste.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 04:56 PM
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I check some furniture on side of the curb and alot of times old recliers and older sofas and chairs have hardwood frames. A few times I took old furniture like that home, strip it down put the metal in a cardboard box and sit it outside by my trashcans for the scrap guy to grab and the stuffing and such in a trashcan and have a neat little pile of hardwood.

I use the last piece of hardwood about a couple of months ago need to go looking again :)
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 05:22 PM
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"up cycle" must be a new word the hipsters thought of for recycling old wood
many of my projects us recycled wood, i'm still using 8/4 clear pine window frames that i tore out of my house
i've resized a few of the 8 lite windows into mirrors and a shot glass display
my first set of kitchen cabinets was mostly made from pallets, they still look good when i see them
my buddy bought an old drafting table that we refinished and put an oak table top on, i recycled all the 6/4 poplar into furniture
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 06:21 PM
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I scrounge and save any offcuts with really big & tight knots.
I use them as backing boards when I need to drill holes in thin sheet metal.
I clamp things tight and never see a tear-out, not even in aluminum flashing.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-25-2019, 11:45 PM
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I haven't 'up-cycled' in the true sense of getting the wood itself. What I have done at times for clients is what they referred to as "re-purposed".

The latest craze is to find junk furniture and "re-purpose" by slight modifications to the original designs of the piece and then change the finish. Below is a link to my photos in my profile. I need to update it some year.

Here is the link:
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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Denison, Tx
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-26-2019, 04:26 AM
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I use pretty much any type of wood available for one project or another. The scraps go into my wood stove if they haven't been treated.

A handheld metal detector is a helpful investment if you go the route of reclaimed lumber...much cheaper than ruining a saw blade or shaper cutter on a hidden nail.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-27-2019, 04:34 PM
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My wife got an idea from Pinterest to make a snowman out of half a wood shutter. Got the highest amount in the silent auction at our wood turning party last month!
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-30-2019, 10:56 PM
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Sometimes there is sentimental value in hardwood recovered from old furniture.

My father has been gone for a while. My mother is alive, but she has been gone in a different way for a long time. When my parents moved to a retirement home a long time ago, they gave their dining room set to a friend. I don't know what happened to most of it, but the friend gave me the base of the china cabinet when she moved to a smaller place. I had no use for a china cabinet base without a top, so I harvested the wood. I got some beautiful pecan boards from it, and many smaller scraps, too.

I took some of the smaller scraps and turned them into pens for my family. They seemed to appreciate the sentimental value as much or more than as nice pens.
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