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Forum topic by bluekingfisher posted 08-28-2011 02:40 PM 1775 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1250 posts in 3007 days

08-28-2011 02:40 PM

Just thought I would share my frustration with you over a “near but yet so far” opportunity of obtaining some recycled timber.

While on holiday (vacation) a couple of weeks back I was visiting the city of Norwich (England) I came across an old store being refitted and stripped out. While passing, I saw a truck parked outside the shop and a couple of guys inside banging away while stripping out the old store.

With the increasing price of timber I take every opportunity to source cheap wood from dumpsters and throw outs etc so I had a quick peek in the truck to see if there was anything salvageable, unfortunately there wasn’t at this point. It being the first tijme I had visited this city I was unfamiliar with the place but made a mental note to look out for it as my wife and I ambled around the city.

Later in the day as we were leaving for home I saw the truck again, as we approached I could see it was piled high with timber. I could feel my heart rate rise a little in anticipation I must admit. When we reached the store the guys were dumping timber into the back of a large truck. I couldn’t believe it, there must have been around 80 or more 8 foot lenghts of 5×2 1/2” mahoganay. They had been used as studding of some sort with some old nails in them. I asked the guy could I buy it from him (thinking it would save him having to recycle it and provide him with some funds and me with years of well seasoned cheap timber) He told me he couldn’t as it was all destined for the incinerator and this was the second load of the day.

I couldn’t believe my ears, not only was this fantastic old timber going to be burned and not even recycled, it was easier for them to pay to take it to the burner rather than me pay them to take it away for them and save the ozone layer a little into the bargain.

I don’t know what the two loads would have cost to buy but I am guessing many hundreds if not thousands of pounds. I can tell you this incident totally ruined my day, literally, not only for the blatant waste of a reuseable product but the fact we get stung highly in our taxes if god forbid we are found to throw a tin can into the plastics recycling bin.

Has anyone else encountered such waste?? I truly hope not.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

21 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#1 posted 08-28-2011 03:16 PM

I can’t believe they wouldn’t have just let you take whatever you wanted. Maybe they had other plans for it themselves.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3007 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 03:57 PM

Strange as it seems Charlie but I hope they had, at least someone somewhere will reap the benefits of it.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3096 days

#3 posted 08-28-2011 04:10 PM

I can see situations where that would be a logical response.

Many contractors don’t allow “dumpster diving” for liability reasons. If you get hurt, they could get sued.

Should the demolition guys stop working while you pick thru the load? They’re on the clock while they wait for you.

If the wood is filled with nails or other metal, burning might be the best choice. Removing metal from lumber is very labor intensive (expensive), and the value of the “clean” lumber may not cover the cost of cleaning it up.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3007 days

#4 posted 08-28-2011 05:16 PM

Having read your point I can see theirs (contractors) perhaps an example of political correctness over common sense. Just seems a great shame to me.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4033 days

#5 posted 08-28-2011 05:32 PM

Bureacrats and lawyers are anti frugal by their very nature.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 2866 days

#6 posted 08-28-2011 08:29 PM

I’m from Norwich and trying to think what shop might have been lined out with mahogany panels.
Sad story but all too common, not just wood but also other resources which are cheaper for a business to bin than to deal with re-purposing.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5912 posts in 3222 days

#7 posted 08-28-2011 09:27 PM

Hey pal,

WOW…..sounds you missed the boat on some beautiful wood. I can’t imagine anyone burning mahoganay. They should be horse-whipped with a wet rope….!!!lol. Unless it’s like Charlie said, and was gonna use it for their own personal gain. Around here where I live, if someone is trashing an old house or building, they will usually let you look through the pile, pick out what you want (as long as you pile it back neatly), keep the rest, or haul it off. About 4 years ago, they were tearing down an old water treatment plant up the road, and I got about 80+ b.f. of pine…..I really don’t like pine, but I took it home, cleaned it, planed it, then sold it to another ww here in town….So, something that didn’t cost me anything, other than my labor, made me a few quid…lol. You could of gotten a few really beautiful projects out of that timber….maybe next time…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3802 days

#8 posted 08-29-2011 04:33 AM

When they got done building some of the big power plants in North Dakota, a friend of mine that worked on the construction sites told me they were ordred to dig a big pit with a bull dozer and bury all the left over building materials, ladders and scaffolding, when the jobs were done. He also said they were told, nobody better be caught taking any of the stuff home. This was over 20 years ago and I am sure more of this kind of thing goes on that we do not know about.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 2675 days

#9 posted 08-29-2011 04:55 AM

My son demo’d a mansion in Kansas City and he said the owner would not allow him to salvage the cabinetry, and wouldn’t give him a reason why. Some people amaze me.

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3087 days

#10 posted 08-29-2011 05:00 AM

If it was here in the US, I would guess the reason would be liability. They would probably be afraid that if you took the lumber and then was injured pulling a nail from the lumber and lost an eye that you would sue them based on it being their fault for letting you take it. It’s crazy, but I have heard of stranger things happening.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2590 days

#11 posted 08-29-2011 05:16 AM

That would have ruined my entire week…

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2590 days

#12 posted 08-29-2011 05:26 AM

blanking lawyers.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3079 days

#13 posted 08-29-2011 05:28 AM

Cost accountants and lawyers (solicitors to you), along with politicians, have caused the squandering of untold resources over time. I am a old airplane (aeroplane to you—don’t sweat the parenthesis, I’m a half-English anglophile) nut. Just love them. Years ago, I came across a story that still causes me grief.

Seem that at the end of WWII, a convoy delivered several ship loads of factory fresh airplanes to a field in New Guinea. P-38’s, B-25’s, P-47’s, etc. NEW, mind you. The war ended as they were being unloaded, and as the cost to re-load and return them to the States was deemed too high, they were ordered destroyed and buried on site. I saw photos of them being smashed and buried by bulldozers. The government of New Guinea later dug them up and sold them to Japan for scrap.

Waste abounds, and all we can do is Try to change it. Keep trying.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#14 posted 08-29-2011 10:09 AM

I can’t believe they didn’t just give you some of it!! ;-(( Americans would have! ;-)) Wouldn’t have we???

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2989 days

#15 posted 08-29-2011 05:06 PM

I would almost guess that those gents are going to sell it themselves and make a few quid (since it’s in England) or use it themselves. I can’t believe they are burning mahogany!

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