Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Current items within the Reclamation Project:

The End Table
The Plant Stand* (aka Nelson Project Echo)
The Cork Trivet
The Spindled Bench* (aka Nelson Project Foxtrot)

*The Plant Stand and The Spindled Bench are crossover events with The George Nelson Bench Project. They both utilize reclaimed/repurposed/reused/recycled wood and are also constructed in the slats tradition of the George Nelson Bench.

What is The Reclamation Project? Read on...

There used to be a room attached to the back of our garage. It was old and creaky and smelly and leaning slightly to the lef
t. I once had visions of using it as a workshop or an office-- until the insurance people said that it wasn't to code, it was built too close to the property line, and it looked like it was gonna cave in on itself and maim somebody.

So we tore it down. And by "we" I mean a group of four of us did it and we didn't hire a crew of demolitioners. At the base of this so-called room, we found that the brilliant constructioners built it up on top of sheets of plywood nailed to some 2x4's laid flat on the ground. No concrete foundation, no pressure treated lumber, no vapor barrier, no nothing. Good stuff, yo.

The result of the demolitioning was a truckload of lumber. 2x4s, 2x6s, 2x8s, lots of plywood.

Now to the point: Why throw it all away? Why get a big phat dumpster and send all of it into a landfill? That was my thinking at the time. Too bad I didn't act on it right away.

The lumber sat in a large pile outside the garage for years before I decided to build myself a dining table. I picked out the choicest of the 2x8's, cut 'em so they were 8 feet long, got some 4x4's from another demolition of a wood fence surrounding our property, built some legs and a stretcher structure. Say that 10 times fast- stretcher structure.

The cool part was getting a bucket of chocolate brown oops paint from Lowes ($5!) and slathering it on my gigantic dining table. I think the final dimensions were 4 feet wide by 8 feet long- all with the intention of being able to seat eight people at a time for dinner. There was an additional bench project that went along with this dining table, but it didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to so it never served its purpose as seating for this table.

Above is the only picture I could find of the table. Ignore the shopvac and the miscellaneous junk surrounding it. Below that is the bench with glasses. Not a bench that has a vision problem, but a bench used as a wine glass staging area for a dinner party (with lots and lots of wine; 'cause why else would I set out 24 wine glasses?).

The table was dismantled a year later and the dining room was turned into a living room. The top of the table is still intact and I'll probably reuse it soon. The base was repurposed for use as the base of my woodshop assembly table/planer stand. The bench is now an outdoor seat in our breezeway.

Similarly, I built another dining table 10 years ago that was purpose-built for a small space in our old house. Since it had no place to go in our new house, it was relegated to the backyard and used as a gardening/planting table. Exposed to the severe weather of Southern California, it slowly deteriorated into a table-not-so-much. But it was oak! Solid red oak!

So I cut it up, picked out the good parts, planed down the tore up surfaces, and now most of the oak is definitely useable.

Keyword Number One: Reduce. By not buying wood, I am reducing my impact on new wood use and ancillary costs of transporting that wood to the end user.

Keyword Number Two: Reuse. We tore down an old structure and I am using the doug fir for other purposes. I built a table 10 years ago that subsequently deteriorated and would have ended up in a landfill if I had not cut it up and replaned it.

Keyword Number Three: Recycle. Same as keyword number two. Other words that fit: repurpose, reclaim, reinvigorate, restore.

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