You may have recently noticed the “Made for Wear and Tear” phrase on our website or print materials and wondered what it’s specifically in reference to. This year we have softly started an initiative encouraging woodworkers to use reclaimed wood and found materials for some of their projects. Although fresh kiln hardwood is not evil by any means, the truth is however, the world has a major waste problem and if we can save an old desk from the landfill, we’re doing earth and future generations a favor. All of our products work great on new builds, but they’re equally as effective on a heavily used cutting board, a scuffed up desk, or century old floor boards pulled from an old railcar.
Have you ever considered using reclaimed materials? Here’s where you can start.
- Get creative and start drawing up ideas of what you could build using reclaimed materials. Aged wood tends to spark fresh ideas and is insanely enjoyable to work with. We know from experience, we got our start refinishing old furniture using early Walrus Oil recipes.
- Check with your local hardwood supplier to see if they stock barn wood or vintage hardwoods. If they don’t, ask if they have a source to bring it in.
- While you’re looking for that perfectly worn flannel shirt at your favorite resell store, browse the furniture department. I once found a collection of vintage school chairs for $1 each and bought every one of them. The seats and backing were hickory and the frame was galvanized steal. After giving them a creative touch I sold them a few weeks later for $30 a pop.
- Don’t forget to make a profit, as shown in the example above. It’s easy to get carried away and spend more time than normal using old materials, so factor in all your hard working hours. One of a kind reclaimed pieces are expected to cost a bit more, so when pricing don’t be afraid to break into the 4-digit realm ($1,000+).
- Make it an adventure by checking demolition sites of old buildings for things you could use such as beams, floor boards, doors, etc. I once scored flooring from a 60 year old school building for next to nothing and hauled out loads of windows for free. Get permission first and don’t just hop fences. Bring a respiratory mask, heavy-duty gloves, and a good crow bar.
All of this is sustainable woodworking at it’s best and has a positive impact on the world. It’s also a whole other way to stretch your creative capabilities.