Re-use and renew - Woodshop News

Re-use and renew

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I'm a big believer that there's no such thing as scrap. 

That which many call scrap is, to me, just really short pieces of what would otherwise be called lumber. Much as leftovers, in the hands of a really good cook, are really just smaller portions of great cooking. I have a scrap pile, a scrap stack, and a scrap barrel. I take materials from all three frequently.

But what about re-using wood you've already used once? Not the leftover pieces in the scrap barrel, but cutting up wood for a new project that has already served a purpose in another? I do it all the time.

Some of the wood I re-use comes from one-time jigs which I've stashed into a corner. Some comes from larger projects that are being replaced. Still more comes from abandoned, for lack of a better word, “things” that I never got rid of.

I cut apart an old entertainment center and re-used the oak plywood panels to build some shop cabinets. A temporary fence for the router table, ripped on the table saw, became a set of legs for a stool. And earlier this week I needed some extremely weathered wood to simulate rungs on what was to be an antique-looking ladder – two old shovel handles worked perfectly.

So, choose the perfect word for what this is called – re-using, repurposing, renewing, whatever fits – and tell me about the most creative way you took old, already-used-at-least-once wood and turned it into something new.

Till next time,

A.J.

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