When I first started out making furniture I primarily used recycled timbers because it’s what I had available to me. I would strip back left over building materials and find hidden treasures: deep, red rosewood or chocolate brown, dense Ironbark. I found myself attracted to the mystery and the potential.
One thing for sure if you want to play with your building off-cuts, invest in a metal detector. There is nothing worse for the blades of a planer than putting a nail or screw through them. I learnt that the hard way.
Recycled timbers are generally aged which equates to very little movement in the grain of the timber. This is an added advantage over new timbers that will have more movement in the grain. Timber shrinkage and swelling is constant concern for furniture makers, having to design curves and joins around the potential movement.
Recycled timbers also pose a major environmental advantage: conservation of old growth forests, increased carbon storage and lower greenhouse gas emissions. When timber is recycled it continues to be a vital store of carbon (40 to 50% of timber’s gross weight is carbon) as its useful life is extended.
Using reclaimed timbers is also far more energy efficient as there is no requirement to extract, transport and dry the timber.
Furniture made from recycled timbers has a character that new timbers can’t create. Whether it be the wound of a nail or weather beaten colouring, they hold the stories of past adventures travelled and bear the scars to show.Subscribe to this blog