Working with reclaimed lumber
Earlier this year, I posted a blog asking for help identifying some good low-cost alternatives to traditional furniture woods. I eventually wrote an article featuring 12 different woods (see it here: Low-Cost Lumber). I got some interesting responses. A lot of people, evidently, use pallet wood. I recently came into possession of a pallet made from ash and later this winter I plan to make something from it. I’ll run a series of blogs on that adventure. But right now I’m working on a small box for my mom. The box sides will be cherry (scrounged from the scrap bin) and the top and bottom will be made from panels that I made from a wall stud taken out of my house. The stud is some kind of softwood and is about 100 years old. Needless to say, it is dry. The photos above show how I got the stud into working condition, and the two panels after glue up. The knots and such will be cut out before they are used for the box. I’ll start making the box in earnest this weekend, and I’ll post some more photos at a later date to show the progress. As of now, I have the top and bottom panels glued up (but not cut to final size), and I’ve resawn a thick piece of cherry to make the sides (I want a four-corner match). This weekend: cut dovetails, fit the top and bottom, and glue-up. (Post-construction note: I decided against the dovetails, and just went for mitered corners. I think I made the right decision.)
Have you ever done anything similar? If you have, post your project in the galler and let me know about it in the comments below. Also, feel free to comment on what I’ve done so far.
Oh, perhaps I should mention that I didn’t just yank some random stud from a wall. I’m actually doing some extensive renovations in my house and I’ve taken down one wall and made a big opening in another. Neither wall was load-bearing.
This ain't a treasure hunt. Before I ran my handplanes over this section of old stud, I checked it for nails and buckshot with a handheld metal detector.
Jack plane for rough work. The stud was already straight, so I just used an old Stanley No. 5 jack plane to clean it up, which really didn't take that long.
Smoothing with a jack. I used a finely tuned No. 5 plane to make sure that the board was dead flat and to smooth its surface.
Almost what I wanted. I was hoping that the face of the board would have tight, straigth grain, but it didn't. However, the board is thick enough for me to resaw the edge and use the resawn boards for the top panel.
Tight-grained top. Here's the top panel. It's made from four resawn boards glued up in a slip-matched pattern.
Book-matched bottom. I used two boards resawn from the face of the stud to make the bottom. I got a nice bookmatch, and the ugly bits on either edge will be cut away when I size the panel.