Creative Re-use

I spent much of yesterday entrenched in the shop, a 12' x 20' out-building in our backyard, originally built by the previous owner as a space to work on his motorbikes and make loud music.  About 10 years ago, I purchased my father-in-law's contractor table saw and begin building up my collection of tools and carpentry gear, using this convenient re-purposed space to construct various things that we needed around the house - from kitchen cupboards to bedside tables, and many things in-between.

Some of my most treasured pieces were crafted from recycled bits of wood.


This end table in our living room was made from a pallet that I found in my neighbor's front yard.  I love the "Origin France" stamp that I was able preserve.


I built this chess set from the partially rotting cedar beams that once formed the trellis connecting our single car garage with the house.

I love finding ways of using material that otherwise would have ended up in our solid waste stream.  It's amazing what you can do with something that at first blush might be considered junk.

I got pretty excited a few months ago when contractors began tearing out the original doors leading into Keyano Theatre.  Leaning up against the wall were various lengths of oak trim, studs and panels.  They were peppered with nails and staples, destined for the dumpster.  I couldn't resist myself.

"Can I grab some of those pieces?" I asked.

"Sure," said one of the guys.  "Have at 'er."

The wood had made it as far as our garage in the front of our yard, and there it stayed until New Year's day.


I had it in my head from the moment I saw the original "No Smoking" sign panel to use it as the top of a table that I could put in my office at Keyano.  A brilliant piece of history, I thought to myself.  Cutting it done to size, I used some 1" x 4" trim and mitre joints to create the finished top.


Then, using discarded oak 2" x 6" pieces, I crafted some legs, dado jointed in some cross pieces, and glued it all up.  Yesterday was spent sanding everything down and applying a couple of coats of Varathane.


Outside of 6 screws, a couple of finishing nails, carpenter's glue and Varathane I used, the finished project represents 100 percent creative re-use of material that was destined for the landfill.  I feel pretty good about it, and look forward to the conversations it will inspire when people drop into my office for a visit.

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