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How common is it to reuse wood from old furniture in new projects?

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Forum topic by RubberDuc posted 12-22-2016 04:04 AM 4207 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RubberDuc

45 posts in 365 days


12-22-2016 04:04 AM

Hey everyone, I was googling forever but kept coming up with sites that repurposed furniture like using an old barrel for a coffee table or what not. That isn’t what I’m talking about. My question is how many of you, or how common is it, to say find an old piece of furniture that is beat up and cheap, then cut it up and process it into wood to use for another furniture project? The reason it hit me is I am building a dining table and ordered some wood for it today. Then I was looking through CL and saw a burled walnut table that was really nice, just beat up for cheap. Thought it would be cool to cut up that table and use what I like in my new design, but then though maybe it is just thin veneers or whatever and that is why it might not be a good idea. So just wondering how many of you have done this, and is it a good idea or bad idea?


14 replies so far

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Karda

823 posts in 393 days


#1 posted 12-22-2016 04:22 AM

I don’t see any reason to not do it there is some very good woo in old furniture. I ask about an old pump organ that was out with the trash behind a church. T guy I asked had set it aside because he was going to use some kf the large pieces for table legs. I have also seen on pinterest projects made of recut and finished skid wood. go ahead and do it

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Karda

823 posts in 393 days


#2 posted 12-22-2016 04:23 AM

I don’t see any reason to not do it there is some very good woo in old furniture. I ask about an old pump organ that was out with the trash behind a church. The guy I asked had set it aside because he was going to use some kf the large pieces for table legs. I have also seen on pinterest projects made of recut and finished skid wood. go ahead and do it

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Aj2

1178 posts in 1637 days


#3 posted 12-22-2016 04:23 AM

Have you been spying on me that’s exactly what I doing in my shop this week.Making a hall table with two drawers from a red oak trestle table that was giving to me.
It’s more fun to make a table then to have one.
it’s madness I know

Aj

-- Aj

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woodbutcherbynight

3647 posts in 2248 days


#4 posted 12-22-2016 05:02 AM

Using old shelves on a project now for trim all around a cabinet. Do it all the time. Sure sometimes you get some that is junk, burn it stay warm ya know? LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Ripper70

614 posts in 747 days


#5 posted 12-22-2016 05:19 AM

I’m glad you asked this question RubberDuc. I’ve often been tempted to do the same thing. I’ve seen large oak dining tables practically being given away on CL and other auction sites and thought they’d be good sources of wood but wondered if they could actually be cut up and used for something else. I mean, it stands to reason that they would be but I’ve never pulled the trigger before. Of course, they’d need to be stripped and sanded, etc. But where else can you get large pieces of solid oak or teak or maple to repurpose at fire sale prices?

I once had an opportunity to get an old piano for free but passed because I didn’t want to deal with disposing of the leftovers. I later kind of regretted not taking it for the wood which I think was mostly mahogany and spruce. Some of the older pianos used ebony for the black keys and ivory veneer on the white keys. Love to hear what others might know that I don’t about this approach to sourcing useable wood.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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Lazyman

1506 posts in 1226 days


#6 posted 12-22-2016 05:35 AM

I’m always looking for old furniture just for the cheap or even free wood I can salvage. I’ve got a nice pile of pine from a bunk bed I found on someone’s trash pile. Biggest thing to be careful of is that much of the old furniture, especially tables, is often made from particle board with very thin veneer covering both the top and underside. Often the table aprons and legs are real wood but even there you have look carefully.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Madmark2

373 posts in 427 days


#7 posted 12-22-2016 05:49 AM

Very little furniture is all solid wood. The vast majority is veneer over ply/mdf/poplar. Many ‘mahogany’ items are paint over garbage – EVERYTHING at the ‘Bombay’ store is like that.

Generally commercial made items don’t have a lot to salvage.

M

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Ripper70

614 posts in 747 days


#8 posted 12-22-2016 06:00 AM

Agreed that most of the commercially produced stuff is crap. I think the vintage stuff is where you might find some quality wood. Some of those older mid-century modern prices were made from solid teak, were they not? I mean, was MDF even available in the 1950’s?

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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papadan

3584 posts in 3207 days


#9 posted 12-22-2016 06:08 AM

I reuse wood all the time when I can find it. I really stocked up when all the TVs turned into flat screens. Seemed like everyone was giving away entertainment centers. The cheap stuff is good for shop shelving and making jigs. Got lots of nice Oak and Cherry that I have built plenty of things out of. I have an auction I watch and get furniture real cheap sometimes. Also buy cheap jewelry boxes at the auction, got 3 this week for $2, strip them down for cheap hardware and hinges, ring trays, and necklace hangers. That stuff it high when buying new.

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Tabletop

127 posts in 586 days


#10 posted 12-22-2016 07:05 AM

Any wood is good wood.

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canadianchips

2600 posts in 2836 days


#11 posted 12-22-2016 11:21 AM

Lots of salvage in “Old water beds”, “Old tables”. When I lived in Ontario lots of OAK furniture tossed to curb.
To me re-purposed, salvaged lumber is going to be used for something !
I avoid salvaging MDF or particle board . It was CRAP when it was new and it is CRAP now !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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splintergroup

1702 posts in 1061 days


#12 posted 12-22-2016 04:04 PM

Plenty of useful bits in old furniture. Even if the wood is crappy veneer, often there is useful hardware, etc.
It all comes down to a time/benefit analysis (and if you have a good way to dispose of the scraps).

I regularly attend auctions at the local university. Several years ago they were lotting off the old dorm dresser/desks. Solid oak, loads of 1/4” lauan ply and masonite, plus tops made from BB core plywood. They had been stored out in the weather for some time so they looked like junk with the peeling varnish. I bought large numbers for 50 cents each.

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tomsteve

667 posts in 1058 days


#13 posted 12-22-2016 04:58 PM

i think today its called “repurposing” furniture and done a lot.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

514 posts in 587 days


#14 posted 12-22-2016 05:56 PM

My brother tears down old houses and keeps the good stuff – Cypress, heart pine, doors, windows, and such as that. He called to tell me that he had some old mahogany for me. Turned out to be some large armoire doors, there was enough wood for some small projects. The original doors had been made long ago and a power tool never touched that wood. The mahogany was very old, dry and brittle, and I had to take real care with it.

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