Waste not, want not - scrap wood

Waste not, want not - scrap wood

There’s a certain sense of peace that comes from working with wood. The idea that trees are natural and sustainable means surely their waste is not really waste, right?

Trees are carbon neutral in terms of their greenhouse gas concentrations so all good to just throw wood out, yea?

Well…turns out, not really. When wood goes to landfill, the anaerobic decomposition of wood waste produces methane - a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Even the best landfill gas collection systems in the world will not recover all of the methane. 

And who says scrap wood can’t be turned into something beautiful? Not Kevin. He thinks a little differently and instead of having an idea for a woodworking project and going out and finding the perfect piece of milled wood to make it, he sees a bit of scrap wood lying around, stares at it for an inordinate amount of time, then creates a project based on what he can make out of it.

Scrap Wood 1

From this...

Scrap Wood 2

To this! A handmade sculpture for the backyard using a piece of discarded wood.

Scrap Wood 3

Firewood isn't just for keeping your house warm or BBQ burning...

Scrap Wood 4

It's perfect for creating a custom piece of furniture.

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Putting Arbortech tools to good use.

Wood waste and scrap wood are things like timber offcuts, wooden crates or pallets, branches, driftwood, tree stumps and broken furniture.

Most woodworkers will have an impressive scrap pile. Throwing away wood feels like such a waste and all those end bits and off cuts are a goldmine of project opportunities. We’re talking end grain coasters, gluing strips of wood together to make a chopping board or clock, storage bins, wall art…the list goes on!

Wood waste being sent to landfill represents a wasted resource and most wood has a long lifespan, which means it can be re-used and upcycled. 

The life span of wood products are approximately:
• 90 years, housing construction and furniture.
• 50 years, preservative treated pine, softwood furniture and hardwood poles.
• 30 years, plywood, particleboard and MDF for cabinetry, preservative treated pine for decking and hardwood sleepers.
• 10 years, hardwood pallets and palings, hardboard packaging and particleboard and MDF shop fitting.
• 3 years, softwood pallets, plywood formwork and paper products.

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Who says scrap wood can’t be turned into something beautiful?

Scrap Wood Gallery 8

Super simple and doesn't take long at all. This cheeseboard is perfect for the kitchen and entertaining guests.

Scrap Wood Gallery 9

Scroll across to see how we turned an old railway sleeper into functional art.

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Voila! The finished project, an impressive 4-bottle wine rack.

The only limit to what can be made from scrap wood is your imagination. Why not carve a cheese board? Or take an old tree stump and make waves? One of our favorite projects, that would set you back a couple of hundred bucks at the local garden store is this nifty little garden gnome made for free, with yes, you guessed it, discarded wood.

Here are some un-fun facts about wood waste:

• In Australia, around 1.78 million tonnes of wood waste is generated per year.
• In the USA, that number is almost 300 million tonnes.
• EPA modeling predicts that by 2065, there will have been approximately 7 billion metric tons of wood waste generated globally since 1900.
• Much of this wood has likely been deposited in dumpsites and landfills.
• Around two-thirds of the total wood waste volume and mass being sent to landfill is untreated hardwood from construction and demolition waste, broken pallets, fencing, and off-cuts.
• And, logically, the vast majority of this wood waste is generated by industry, but there are plenty of opportunities to reduce our impact at a local level. 

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