Whether you are working with repurposed wood or reclaimed wood, one thing will ring clear very early. Good tools, varied skill and lots of patience will be needed – it will not be a quick and easy job that you can bang out in less than an hour. Before you begin any project you should decide whether you have a specific goal in mind. Will you be constructing of a bookcase? A wine rack? Or, will you just be crafting and experimenting as a way to become familiar with a particular type of wood in terms of its properties and abilities? Take all of this into consideration before you start.
Repurposed versus reclaimed
First though, a quick lesson on the differences between reclaimed wood and repurposed wood.
- To repurpose wood, sometimes also referred to as upcycling, is to take conditionally good material and re-use it for something other than its originally intended use.
- To reclaim wood is to salvage material that has reached the end of its existence, revitalize it with life for use again, and transform it either back to its original intent or for another purpose(s).
In short, working with reclaimed wood may require more steps before you get a finished product, but more importantly, both actions save materials from ending up unwanted in a dumpster and eventually in our landfills.
Ready, set, repurpose!
The first step in tackling your project is to determine which type of wood – reclaimed or repurposed – you want to work with. Pallets, crates, boxes, and doors are great base materials to get your project underway but unless you magically have a supply of these items lying around, you will need to get creative in locating the necessary supplies. TIP — Retired barns, shipping crates, salvage and boat yards, garage sales and auctions are great places to acquire old wood or furniture pieces needing some TLC or a complete rebirth.
If you’re new to the world of reclaiming and repurposing or a veteran craftsman, creating shelving is not only a great way to add additional storage to your living space but also a good way to hone your wood working skills. Whether it’s increasing your kitchen’s capacity, adding more functionality and access to files and books in your office, or elevating your living room décor through the display of more accent pieces, open shelving provides a great alternative to bulky furniture-saving you money and precious living space real estate.
A desk is a necessity for any home, not just ones with kids. This project can be a little more involved if you are unable to find one large piece of wood to reclaim or repurpose and requires the need for multiple pieces. But, the end result will pay dividends when it is transformed into your home’s control station where daily household business is attended to.
While this next project may look difficult at first glance, it is actually one of the simpler wood working endeavors you can embark on resulting in added curbside appeal. Because this project requires working with smaller pieces of wood cut from larger reclaimed or repurposed wood, you have endless options to consider — not to mention it provides a huge buffer if you make mistakes along the way allowing you restart. If you are handy with a hand or power saw, your biggest challenge will be deciding on a design. This project can take shape fairly quickly setting you on a different path in no time.
Still looking for inspiration? A first-time woodcrafter or seasoned artisan looking for other project ideas?? Here are some additional ideas for ways to reclaim or repurpose wood:
- Accent Pieces (Art, Mirror, Tray, Wall Hangings)
- Furniture (Bookcase, Chair, Coffee Table, Nightstand)
Working with reclaimed or repurposed wood not only allows you to save money by not having to buy furniture, but it also creates a real WOW factor to your home’s exterior or interior décor with the addition of these one-of-a-kind pieces. Plus, you’ll also be saving the environment by keeping these materials out of the landfill!
Feature image credit: S_Photo / Shutterstock