How to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your DIY Project


You want to enjoy the aesthetic and practical benefits of round wood table tops, but you don’t want to use new wood. You love the look of round wood table tops, but you worry about the cost to the environment as our forests are cut down and enormous amounts of energy are expended in cutting and treating new lumber.

If this describes you, you don’t have to compromise between enjoying the rustic furniture you love and protecting the Earth. There’s more than enough reclaimed spruce and other reclaimed wood around, and it’s possible to build and enjoy round wood table tops, maybe even in a room with some rustic wood siding, while never cutting down a single tree. Here’s how to build and enjoy your table tops without doing anything to harm the environment.

Make Sure the Wood is Dry

Depending on where the wood has come from, it could be pretty wet. There are a couple ways to dry it, but the best way is to ask someone to kiln dry it for you. That way you can be sure of even drying throughout the wood. You could try keeping it indoors through the winter, but be aware that air dried wood like this can sometimes dry and odd ways and warp.

Make Sure the Wood is Free of Metal

Reclaimed wood could be full of nails, screws, and wood staples. If you buy from a reputable reclaimed wood seller, you can be sure that they took care of all of this for you. If you source your own wood, then you’ll need to be concerned with getting that metal out of there. Remove all the metal that you can see, and then use a metal detector to make sure you’ve gotten it all.

Get Your Wood Straightened Out

It’s fairly common to find planks that have been cupped or twisted when working with reclaimed wood. You can do it yourself, or you can take it to a millwork and have them do it for you. If you do it yourself, run the boards through your planer and strip off small amounts as you go until you correct the irregularities and have the same thickness all around.

Treat, Finish and Stain as Normal

If you buy from some reclaimed wood dealers, you’ll get wood that’s already been treated in the way you need. But some reclaimed wood will be untreated and you’ll need to take care of that yourself. Be sure to find out before you start building any round wood table tops. When you’re done with the around with tabletops, go ahead and finish them and stain them just as you would with new wood.

Since 1900, the United States is milled more than 3 trillion board feet of wood. In 2015 alone, we recycle 2.7 million tons worth of wood just from pallets. Whenever construction or demolition creates waste, wood makes up 20% to 30% of that waste. With so much perfectly good reclaimed wood around, why would you ever cut down a tree?

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