Projects using reclaimed or salvaged materials

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  • Projects using reclaimed or salvaged materials

    This topic was inspired by twistol’s post in What Did You Do Today concerning building a cabinet using reclaimed materials. There is a wealth of information on this site about re-using materials of all types. I’ll break the ice with a story about my slippery slide into the world of reclaimed barn wood.

  • #2
    Years ago one of my co-workers told me about the old farm house he was living in once belonging to his grandmother. It was on the old family farm with several old dilapidated barns, blacksmith shop, chicken coops and mule barn. Several of the buildings were falling down and they were going to bulldoze them in a pile and burn it. I volunteered to build him a breakfast or dining table out of the wood for enough wood to build one for myself. I started off with a 16’ trailer full of nail ridden, termite infested, rotten, warped old pine barn wood that was better suited for the fire I saved it from! I pulled nails, jointed and planed and saved everything that was usable and still didn’t have enough to build a table. I wanted to build a build an authentic farm table, but in the rubble pile were 4 old turned legs and over painted boards. It turned out that they were grandmothers old breakfast table. I was able to turn the legs to remove umpteen layers of white paint and salvage enough poplar boards to build a base for a new pine top.

    what happened to the add photos icon?
    Last edited by capncarl; 04-14-2022, 09:22 PM.


    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      Use the upload attachments (from your PC), then you can insert into the post in your choice of sizes
      Or Upload from URL (addresses of content on the web) to upload material found on the internet directly.

    • capncarl
      capncarl commented
      Editing a comment
      The only PC we have now is an Instapot pressure cooker! I guess the last upgrade removed the icons for photos in the top bar?

  • #3
    The most difficult part of using reclaimed materials for projects isn't finding it our working with it, but finding a place to store it until you have a project where you can use it. When we moved from the country to the suburbs a couple of years ago, I lost the old machine shed that I used to store my "treasures" and only moved what I had stored in the shop.

    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.


    • #4
      Photo of the ready to deliver barnwood table that is built using grandma’s old poplar breakfast table legs and poplar sub-top. The finish is paste wax. This was all the wood I was able to salvage so we had to go after another trailer full. Luckily the second load of scrap wood, which was from a different barn was much better, still full of nails.

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      Photo of the bottom of the table showing the poplar wood and the description/history of the build.

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      • #5
        Reclaimed pine barnwood project Number 2

        Upon receiving the 2nd load of scrap barn wood I pulled nails that I could get out, for those that would not come out I cut the boards in front of and behind and made umpteen small boards, enough for several table tops. I really wanted wider boards but after finishing the boards 2.5” or 3” was all that was usable. The legs were made out of 8” square beam and the aprons were made out of the drops from the 8” beam.

        As with most of my furniture projects, the finish is paste wax.

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        • #6

          Reclaimed pine barnwood project number 3

          Fast forward several years, my wife could still not make up her mind what size she wanted for the buffet or sideboard that I had promised making for her companion piece to the barnwood table. I visited several dusty old antique furniture stores and crawled under, in and behind a number of true hand built buffets… not something mass produced. Even in the early1900s mass produced furniture was common. I wanted something like was made by a local 1-2 man local furniture maker. I finally found what I wanted and took a couple of photos of the construction. The entire build was from the salvaged pine barnwood of the previous table project except for the buffet back which was salvaged plywood removed from a 1930 era antique cabinet. This cabinet was at one of the dusty old antique stores back room, the cabinet was beyond repair, so for $10 I got an 80 year old piece of 3/16 thick 5 ply plywood that still wasn’t warped. All hardware is from cabinets I have salvaged parts from. Not period, but it doesn’t matter here.

          I don’t work from plans ( been doing that for 41 years and decided that I like working from my head instead ). The build started with 4 1x1” legs and continued like a table build with the buffet sides and front added 1 piece at a time. ( unlike todays cabinet construction that is boxes or completed panels )

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          The buffet is sized to fit perfectly between the 2 dining room windows. Finish is paste wax.


          • dbhost

            Editing a comment
            That is EXACTLY the kind of reclaimed wood project I like to see!

          • capncarl
            capncarl commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks db, I like building period furniture the way a carpenter would build his version of a furniture makers build, not that much precision but the outcome is similar.

        • #7
          I need to snap pics, but my list so far that leaps to mind is...
          1. Cat tree made from lumber debris that landed in my yard with Hurricane Ike.
          2. Misc plywood shop fixtures. My box joint jig, floor sweep, nitrile glove dispenser box, among others made from more of that same material.
          3. My recent first flip top tool stand, the one the planer and jointer are on made from more of that found in the yard Ike ply, repurposed ply from the former mount boards for the tools, and repurposed HF 3" urethane casters. The 2x4 stock came from the long ago disassembled rolling cart I made for my long gone freestanding router table.
          4. Reclaimed 2x6 that was simply cutoffs / cast off from local construction project went into my 2x6 challenge entry, clock build, the NASA meatball logo was stuff found in a junk drawer, and the foot was reclaimed from a scraped dresser mirror that was a curb find with glass missing. I was unable to yield much walnut from it, but some...
          5. My wifes dresser (we have an ours, and a hers dresser) was a curb find childs dresser that needed to be refinished and some woodwork repairs.
          6. My kitchen Island is in work, curb find, refinishing in process, the original owners pitched it because the hinges for the drop wings were bent, and such an odd size that replacements weren't possible. I managed to fix / straighten the hinges and am working on refinishing.
          7. The cat food cabinet is a 1950s built curb find combination liquor / record cabinet. The lid was nailed shut with finishing nails as the top glue up had badly failed, I fixed the top, filled the holes, replaced the hinges and refinished the cabinet. There is an odd spot in the lid I need to fix again after my wife set something hot on it while the poly was still soft, so I have a wierd square stain
          8. My living room entertainment center started life out as a credenza in an office of a small company that failed. It was a landlord durb dump again. I added shelves and cable pass throughs to handle my DVD, and gaming consoles.
          9. My home netwwork server rack, yes I have one, is makde from 1x4 that is just planed down 2x4 that was some of the reclaimed Ike stuff.
          10. I have made at least a dozen pecan candle stands as gifts from the limbs / prunings from my niehgbors trees. I consider that reclaiming as that would have otherwise gone to the landfill or been burnt in a BBQ pit...
          11. I have made a Pecan and walnut Menorah for messianics in our lives from the same described previously pecan limbs and walnut reclaimed from that mirror.
          12. I have helped a friend build and it is where I got the idea for a possible shed shop, a small home office shed out of reclaimed pallets.
          Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.


          • #8
            Reclaimed wood project number 4
            In my earlier days of woodworking someone in my family challenged me to make my version of their round drop leaf table. I had just started making the Tiny Tables, mainly for gifts, and had a supply of old Chinaberry barn siding from an old mule barn in Plains Ga., just down the road from former President Jimmy Caters farm….bless his heart. All I had to work with was this photo.

            it was an ugly little critter that would tip over very easily.

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            • #9

              Reclaimed wood project number 4

              After deciding to throw out the single pedestal design and the silly looking tripod legs here is what I came up with.

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              ​ image widget


              • #10
                Stumbled upon this post and thought I will add some photos of the home office cabinets I built last year. The cabinet door frames and cabinet face frames all made from the material I salvaged from my son's bunk bed which I had built ~15 years ago when he was in middle school.

                Hope you like it.

                Thanks for all the knowledge, tips and guidance I get from you all.
                Attached Files


                • #11
                  Another project from the fence material (4X4 posts and picket boards) that I salvaged when the fence fell down and was replaced.
                  Attached Files


                  • #12
                    Here is a reclaimed project with a curious twist.
                    I converted this boat into a rod / reel rack in my house garage. I couldn’t part with it when I had the house built 16 years ago and needed storage for my fishing tackle.
                    This little 8 foot bateau was given to me by my father in the mid 1980s. I lived in a flood prone neighborhood and would often have to wade out of my yard and up the street to high ground where I had parked my auto, to go to work or take take the kids to school. He said the boat was built by my grandpa for my fathers brother some years previously.
                    I am in process of hanging the bateau on the wall in preparation of installation of epoxy floor coatings and wanted to know any history of the little boat.
                    This week I contacted my 1st.cousin about the boat and sent him a photo. He replied, so that’s where daddy’s little boat got off to! He didn’t know much about the bateau except he didn’t remember seeing it after his dad sold his pickup truck in the mid 1970s.
                    Yesterday he contacted me and said he saw our oldest cousin and showed him the bateau photo. He said that he helped grandpa in the late 1950s build a number of these boats to sell to fish camps on the river, and remembers this small boat for his uncle!
                    There is a lot of gaps in the history trail but all of the pegs are in place in this puzzle! 10 years after this bateau was built by my grandfather and cousin I built my own version of it. I was aprox 13-14 yrs old and had not seen this bateau until 20 yrs later!

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                    • #13
                      Projects from reclaimed items are some of my favorite. I've made quite a few and posted almost all of them here if anyone wants to take a look again:

                      --Mix of old and new in this bar

                      --I made this pair of nightstands from some IKEA wardrode doors and oak flooring the previous homeowner left in our new to us house.

                      --If it weren't for this thread, I would have forgotten I made this Big Green Egg table from ipe I bought from the Restore.

                      --This low game table was repurposed from an offcut of butcherblock and a redwood bed frame we no longer used.

                      --A spice cabinet I made for my Mom to be used at their mountain cabin. The body and door frame are oak flooring from the Restore



                      • atgcpaul
                        atgcpaul commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Sure, I'll revisit it. The table probably needs to be refinished. I'll be reunited with the BGE table this fall. I'm using the BGE down here on the original nest.

                      • capncarl
                        capncarl commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Atgcpaul, I am interested in the Big Green Egg cart/table for several reasons. My first reason is that I plan on building a cart for my own BGEs out of stainless steel but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Another reason for my interest is that I’m not sure I really want that large of a piece of furniture on my patio to have to move around. I know dozens of people… Egg Heads…that have BGE carts of many designs, each with interesting but different features. I can’t think of a single one of them that moved their carts back and forth from under a shelter to open air on their patios. In my thick head that is one of the most important features in a cart that I want. Thoughts?

                      • atgcpaul
                        atgcpaul commented
                        Editing a comment
                        capncarl, it's been 5 years since I last used the cart so I may be remembering things with rose-colored glasses. What the table solved for me was providing a space to lay out all the food and utensils for cooking. All I had before was the little side burner table on my gasser. I don't have the table down here so I jerry-rigged a plywood tabletop for the crate I built to transport the BGE down here. The egg table is much better. I did not move the table around much, but I did when I needed to, and the wheels made it convenient. HOWEVER, the tabletop would be better utilized if the BGE were in the middle and not off to one side, but that would make picking up one end a bit more difficult.

                        The paver patio at our old house was not covered. If we were still there, I definitely would have attached a patio umbrella to the table. It wasn't fun cooking in the rain holding an umbrella in one hand and tongs in the other. I thought about drilling a hole in the middle for the umbrella, but what I ended up doing was putting a patio umbrella into a 5 gallon bucket of sand next to the table. It worked OK except when it was really windy.

                        The new house has a small, old deck which I will tear down and rebuild with a bigger one (after I win the lottery, apparently), but I haven't thought too far ahead of where the BGE table will go--whether it will be on the deck (close to the kitchen) or a lower paver patio we are considering. We lived in the new house just for a month before we moved down here, and I just grilled on our driveway with the BGE sitting in its nest. I replaced the wheels on the egg nest maybe 3 years ago, and they did not last more than 2 seasons. I didn't spend a lot, but the compound on one or two of them just disintegrated when rolling across the driveway (asphalt). It makes me really nervous that the egg nest wheel could catch on a pebble or paver joint and the BGE would tip over in the nest. The wheels on the table roll much better.

                    • #14
                      Atgcpaul, I am interested in the Big Green Egg cart/table for several reasons. My first reason is that I plan on building a cart for my own BGEs out of stainless steel but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Another reason for my interest is that I’m not sure I really want that large of a piece of furniture on my patio to have to move around. I know dozens of people… Egg Heads…that have BGE carts of many designs, each with interesting but different features. I can’t think of a single one of them that moved their carts back and forth from under a shelter to open air on their patios. In my thick head that is one of the most important features in a cart that I want. Thoughts?


                      • #15
                        I built one, too documented here, in 2008. THey are still using it.

                        Loring in Katy, TX USA
                        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                        BT3 FAQ -


                        • capncarl
                          capncarl commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Is it just a patio queen or do they actually move it out of the weather?

                        • LCHIEN
                          LCHIEN commented
                          Editing a comment
                          when i see it, it is on the patio in the weather. Whether they move it under cover is not entirely known. I shall ask.
                          Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-25-2022, 01:38 AM.