…..I am building a shed. Small. Utilitarian. Might not even put on a door………it is basically a storage shed for the larger tools now cluttering up my workshop. You may also recall that lumber prices went nuts just at the beginning of this project and so I started by using re-claimed old wood I had on hand. Old wood has some interesting qualities to it. It is harder, drier and stained-by-experience.
The stuff I had was, originally, rough-cut, locally milled and I had used it for maybe the better part of our time here (18 years) already. I likely rebuilt a section of something, tore down the old something and noticed that some of the wood was still ‘pretty good’. So, I kept it.
The first place to use it was as the floor for the shed. Of course, it is too uneven to be a floor anywhere else but it is fine for the shed. Then I used it for a bit of framing, mostly blocking and such, saving the store-bought wood for the structural pieces like walls and roof.
But, Dave’s carpentry is not all that it should be and so I have off-cuts and mistakes and wood-so-bad I cannot use it all and it was gathering up around the chop saw. Over the course of a season, managing and cutting wood to maximize uses and efficiencies, I still end up with the equivalent of a blue barrel of off-cuts and crap. Basically, that is OK. It is not a lot of waste and the bits and pieces make really good ‘short fires’ in the wood stove one does just to take the chill off on the odd but increasing cold days in the Autumn. When you want longer, all-day fires, you use the larger, thicker chunks of firewood chopped and split for that purpose. But off-cuts make nice ‘warm-ups’.
So, anyway, I am looking at my growing pile of offcuts and, for some reason, think that I should do something better with them. An experiment in wood, perhaps? So, I cut ’em and glue ’em and plane ’em and I make a short, square-ish, rough-looking table top…it takes maybe three hours…..
My daughter came to visit and she has real carpenter interests (and has been accumulating tools for her shop back home – ALL MAKITA!) and, fortunately, she is at a wood-butcher level carpenter and so we churn out the work and make crap together. Whatever we build, it is NOT in the least bit beautiful but it is strong and well built engineering wise, suitable for our style and we are happy whacking away at stuff.
“Hey, Dad, what’s that? It’s beautiful!”
“Too kind. It is just garbage off-cuts glued together. I just wanted to see if I could do something other than burn it. I’ll use that piece for a table and it will be outside. Maybe I move it around with me as a tool rest or put it near the BBQ for dishes and such…I dunno…”
“I want it!”
“I want it!”
(Repeat that debate ? for maybe twenty exchanges…maybe more)
“Look, I have more off-cuts. I’ll teach you how to do it. You can make your own.”
So, yesterday, she began her own……