The Joys of Scrounging.

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 08-01-2014 02:44 PM 1830 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

OK, so I said I would be posting blog entries on a weekly basis.
I lied.
So sue me…

It’s just that I had so many ideas for blog subjects mucking about in my cranium, that I just had to burn some midnight oil and commit some of them to paper….uh…computer screen.

In the case of the handsawgeek, it’s a use ‘em or lose ‘em proposition…..

Like most home-hobbyist, weekend-warrior woodworkers, the geekster operates on a fairly limited budget.

One that also feeds several other hobbies besides woodworking.

In this situation, it is logical that one finds ways to pursue and enjoy the hobby in the most economical manner possible. This means…dare I mention it…..dumpster diving! I can freely and shamelessly admit that such activity is a frequent MO where my woodshop is concerned.

So, what got me to pondering this and making a blog entry out of it?

A quick look around the ol’ workshop, that’s what.

I observed that the shop does not contain one single bench, cabinet, or fixture that is not fashioned from materials scrounged from somewhere, save for a pair of Workmates, and even these were given to me for free by a benevolent step-dad.

Perhaps it would be better to illustrate all of this with photos. Let’s start with the basement shop annex:

The main workbench:

Top is an old solid core door procured for free from a remodeling of an old elementary school. All framing is dumpster dove from house construction sites. The under-drawers are from an old waterbed. Even the woodworking vise was procured for free from a high school wood shop that was being dismantled.

Tool storage:

Base section is the headboard unit from the same old waterbed. Wall hung shelves were picked from a neighbor’s trash pile street-side on trash day. Love the heart motif.

Chop saw/drill press/utility bench.

100% dumpster lumber. Didn’t even bother to square cut some of the top boards. Just slapped ‘em on, as is.

Saw Bench:

More dumpster lumber

Hardware bins:

Salvaged pallet wood. (Never mind that some of the bins don’t contain what they say on the front).

Now, let’s go upstairs and into the garage….

Main 10’ utility bench and rolling bins:

All dumpster dove lumber. The tops are the exception. They’re made from p…p….p……particle board (difficult for a Neander to articulate), actually purchased at H….hhh….Home D…D…D…D….D….Depot. Phew!

Elevation enhancement platform so my wife can use the lathe:

Dumpster lumber.

Wall cabinet:

Scrounged from a different neighbor’s trash pile on trash day.

Another random utility bench made of…what else…

The top is a huge two foot wide slab of Doug Fir. Again, a gift (same benevolent step-dad).

The list goes on. My point is: a very satisfying, functional workshop can be fashioned from all sorts of found material. All of these benches and fixtures have served me well in building lots of nice projects, with very minimal financial outlay. I have never felt the need to go to a Rockler, Woodcraft, or even the BORG to purchase some sort of fancy-shmancy bench or tool box, or the expensive raw materials to build such.

It’s also nice to know that I can whack the daylights out of any of these fixtures and not really sweat it.

Replacement parts are easy to find.

Yet another nice thought: This will be great shop furniture that I will have no problem passing on to those future sons-in-law!

Gotta run: There’s this home construction site on the other side of the highway……

-- Ed

1 comment so far

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 1031 days

#1 posted 08-01-2014 03:23 PM

I’m a huge fan of scrounging, and I’m a compulsive checker of the Craigslist free ads. Almost all of the materials for the goat barn I’m building (my blog has pictures) came either from scrounging or from my land itself.

You’ve done some great things with recycled materials! I wish I could scrounge up a proper vise…

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