Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why, Yes - It Does Grow On Trees

When I first began looking into woodworking, I was discouraged by my perception that, in order to make anything interesting, I was going to spend a fortune on lumber. Even domestic hardwoods are far more expensive than the fabrics my wife uses for her hobbies; how could I justify dropping as much money on a load of wood that might cost more than some of my power tools?

In recent months, though, I've been invigorated by how many woodworkers I've seen using everything from construction-grade lumber to pallet wood to stock they ripped out of old furniture. Folks like Jay Bates and Steve Ramsey were among the first I saw who were really into repurposing used lumber, but it's really caught on. Whether you're doing it to save the world or to save a few bucks, there's neither shame nor any real difficulties inherent in working such woods, as long as you are creative, patient, opportunistic, and vigilant (you know...stray nails). This discovery really made me see I was wrong to assume that skilled woodworkers would look down their noses in spite at my work if I didn't use exotic woods with names my wife would mock as borderline vulgar.

So I'm building my Workbench using 2x6 cut-offs from the cull bin at Big Orange and a heavy solid-core door I got from my old employer. I've got a stack of pine boards sitting in the shop waiting to be transformed into a bookcase. And I made my Christmas cutting boards with wood that didn't cost me a dime. 

Maybe if I'm fortunate enough to sell a few projects that didn't cost anything to build, I'll shell out for some of that bubinga. 

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