Salvaging wood from existing furniture

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Forum topic by Jeremy Greiner posted 05-24-2013 03:40 AM 1628 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2941 days

05-24-2013 03:40 AM

Day after day I see desks, dressers, tables, headboards and other furniture posted on Craigslist for free and I’ve wondered if some of the solid wood pieces (ie non veneered particle board) are worth picking up, disassembling and using the wood for other items. Has anyone done this am I out of my mind?


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

28 replies so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4196 posts in 3745 days

#1 posted 05-24-2013 03:56 AM

I got some mahogany from a really old china cupboard that was broken beyond repair.
It was painted on one side and I ran it through my planer and got some nice pieces.
One of which went perfectly as a large box lid.
A lot of people are turned off by the work involved in salvaging this old material, but I see it as a valuable resource.
Plus, you can’t get much more environmentally friendly than that.
Good post Jeremy.

View john111's profile


73 posts in 2155 days

#2 posted 05-24-2013 03:56 AM

Hey Jeremy, I have seen some stuff in the garbage and have picked it. Some have worked out and others have not. There are some good pieces that turn out to be in need of just some TLC. There are some that are just worth a few pieces of wood. The plus for me is that it is all FREE! I do not go out of my way for stuff because that makes it cost me something. The reclaimed thing is big right now. That shabby shite!

-- john111

View muleskinner's profile


905 posts in 2606 days

#3 posted 05-24-2013 03:57 AM

I’ve done it but that’s not really a endorsement to sanity.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View waho6o9's profile


8473 posts in 2746 days

#4 posted 05-24-2013 04:00 AM

No Jeremy, you are quite sane and industrious. This bench is re purposed from a pine King size bed and 6 half inch OSB boards.
I wanted a different height for my vise to see how I liked it and it’s working out great.
Free dimension lumber totally rocks.

This bench was made from a discarded header and the stretchers are from the bed above.
The top was found in the free section of Craigslist.
If you’re patient, you can get some great stuff, but you gotta keep looking.

View Woodknack's profile


12392 posts in 2549 days

#5 posted 05-24-2013 04:06 AM

Beds are decent source, most other stuff is veneered crap.

-- Rick M,

View john111's profile


73 posts in 2155 days

#6 posted 05-24-2013 04:28 AM

Love those kinda finds Waho! I am not the type of person who has to have the pretty looking workshop with the festools lined up perfectly. Sipping tea and whispering to my hand planes! I am much happier when I can get a great working bench or tool for next to nothing even if it doesn’t make the cover of Maxim.

-- john111

View tomd's profile


2168 posts in 3939 days

#7 posted 05-24-2013 04:46 AM

I have done it many times. Sometimes it works out great and others not so good, but then you still have good firewood.

-- Tom D

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 2112 days

#8 posted 05-24-2013 05:28 AM

I think it’s a great source for free wood even if you just get small pieces to cut bowties out of or turn pen blanks but that is coming from a guy who dove into the scrap metal dumpster last week for a retro school desk to restore.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 2219 days

#9 posted 05-24-2013 05:53 AM

Jermery, always keep you eyes open when moving around, great if you own a truck. I collect pallets, plywood from job site dumpsters, (just ask first on the job sites). Drive around the back of shopping strip centers check out their dumpsters and wooden pallets. I have in stock, yellow pine, ash, oak, popular and of course white pine, but wood is wood and especially when it’s FREE.

I have completed the walls in my shop all with pallet lumber. My woodworking bench is being made all from pallets. If you want large boards, go to your local A/C dealer, they have the very large pallets for their roof top a/c units. They are always willing to load them for you too.

You will be very surprised what you find behind the shopping centers, usually the strip centers or the “L” shaped stores, especially if they have a major chain in them. They change their displays quite often, sometimes you can hit the jackpot when the jewelry or cosmedic dept. changes, they usually use good solid wood cabinets and large backboards.

Keep looking you will be very happy you did. I am.

Good Luck

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2537 days

#10 posted 05-24-2013 10:47 AM

I to am a pallet collector..dirve the big brown truck for UPS deliver freight in the city…get to pick the pallets i want. use some for fire wood heat in da winter. love the cypress.


View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2062 days

#11 posted 05-24-2013 02:38 PM

Yes, always!

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2354 days

#12 posted 05-24-2013 03:54 PM

How do you guys tell if its solid or veneered? There is a local weekly auction with “mahogany bedroom sets” that go for $2-3 but I can never tell if they are solid. Im also worried because the first and last piece I picked up turned out to just be particle board with veneer.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2941 days

#13 posted 05-24-2013 05:26 PM

I’m not sure Cole, but veneered stuff can be used as well, last year at my woodworkers guild show and tell one of the coolest pieces was a coffee table that was made from a veneered headboard. I don’t know if I’d pay money though 2-3$ may be worth it, but picking up free stuff that’s not too far out of the way then even if it turns out to be junk you can just throw it away :)

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View canadianchips's profile


2609 posts in 3166 days

#14 posted 05-24-2013 06:48 PM

The furniture I have on my site is ALL old lumber. Either doors, cabinets ,whatever. IT is WOOD to me.
I keep away from particle board. I do not like building with it when its NEW, not interested used.
I do use some used plywood. The project I am building now is from USED 6×6 salvaged from flower bed. I was able to save 21 pieces of 6×6 x 8ft. I am building veranda onto home I bought last fall.

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

View john111's profile


73 posts in 2155 days

#15 posted 05-24-2013 10:25 PM

Awesome Chips!

-- john111

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