New Uses with Old Lumber

I did some collecting yesterday in the cold drizzling rain. Some friends of my parents wanted to get rid of a pile of wood that used to be their deck. They remodeled their house a while back and hard-scaped around the pool so they didn’t need the deck. The lumber was sitting near their garden just waiting to be used for various projects but they decided to offer it to me if I wanted it. Being of a cheap mind I jumped at the chance! It’s pressure treated lumber and there was enough to fill the back of a truck. Some of it is in poor shape but most of it is still very usable. It’s mostly 2”x6” pieces of varying lengths. My brain is already cooking just thinking of what to make with my new pile of wood. The first thing and the easiest thing I can think of is a raised bed for starting perennials and maintaining cuttings. It is pressure treated and therefore would not be good for vegetable beds but for perennials, annuals, shrubs and small trees it should do fine. Pressure treated lumber used to use arsenic in the treating process which is poisonous to people and animals. If used near food products it could seep into the food. I don’t think the arsenic process is used anymore but this is old lumber and most likely was done with the old arsenic method. There is plenty of wood to make a couple of small beds or large ones. I’ll probably start with two 4’x4’ beds, one for perennial seed starting and one for cuttings. The next project that comes to mind is a simple arbor. If I can find two six foot lengths of good quality lumber in the pile I’ll have a start. I’ll still need two 4”x 4”s about 8 ft tall and some 2”x 2” pieces. Once I find my two six ft. lengths I’ll remove any old nails that happen to be there, fill the holes with liquid wood filler, sand the boards down and stain them. I like stains rather than paints for the natural wood grain look. I’ll attach the 2”x 6” pieces at the top of the arbor and lay 2 ft long pieces of 2”x 2” across the 2” x 6” pieces. I will probably stain all the pieces before assembly to make life a little easier! I’ve also thought about a mini bridge over a small drainage ditch in the back of the yard to our shady retreat area. I could eventually change the drainage ditch into a dry creek bed. The bridge project shouldn’t be too hard to put together. It will take time and some creative wood cutting. This idea sounds like fun: wooden planters! If I buy a couple more 2”x 2”s I can put together some wooden box planters. Just add some finials, dirt, and a topiary plant and I will have added a bit of elegance to our formerly neglected yard! If you already have planters here is a small tip: re-use crushed aluminum cans by placing them in the bottom for drainage and to lighten the load. I need to add these projects to the To-Do List!

1 thought on “New Uses with Old Lumber”

  1. We redid our deck with composite lumber and saved all of the old wood. The deck was redone in 2004 and do you know I just used the last of the wood recently? The wood was transformed into: a huge potting bench, a flower wheelbarrow and raised beds in the veggie garden. I think the preservative stuff should mostly be gone from the wood by now as the wood is more than 16 years old-at least I hope so. The 2×6 work great for all sorts of projects. I want to see your bridge and how you build if that is the way you decide to go. Better add that to your to do list which I might say, is very long!

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