Reclaimed wood… in the works

14 Mar

The project(s) I have in the works…

Since I’m just starting out in woodworking, I need to experiment in the shop and see what I’d like to specialize in. I assume it’ll be making furniture, but I don’t know for sure. There are so many different woodworking specialties, I hope to find a niche someday.

I scavenged lots of wood from the scrap bins at school so thought this would be a good experiment, three tables made of reclaimed wood.


I started with the tops which are made up of long thin strips.

I needed to run most of the strips through my planer to make certain I had glue ready surfaces.

Then I laid out the strips in orders that I found appealing and clamped them to get a look.

Once I'd glued up the laminations I found I'd let the glue set too long before attempting to scrape it off.

Since I wanted my table tops as thick as possible, I felt I should only flatten one side of the table tops. To do this I made a jig for my router.

A jig for flattening wide boards. I chose the simplest jig design I could find. The router took care of the remaining caked on glue and unruly grain directions that would otherwise have caused problems.

I was happy with the results which only had minor ridges that I will take care of with a scraper and sandpaper.

Here's the result after routing.

Next I trimmed off the uneven ends on the table saw crosscut sled flat face down.

Following that I needed to treat the ends of the table tops so that the uneven thicknesses of laminated strips would not be visible from the sides of the tables. I had many options, round overs, chamfers, breadboard ends, mitered returns, and the list goes on...

But ultimately I chose to rebate the bottom on the router table. I ran the boards through my planer first, to even out the thickest strips. Then the boards could lay bottom side down without rocking.


I cleaned up the rebates with a chisel.


And back at the planer I milled up some strips to fill the rebates.


I'll counter bore some elongated holes into the strips and attach them to the under sides of the tables with pan head screws.


On the right you have what the table top will look like right side up. I wanted to keep end grain visible, I like the look.



I knew what I wanted for the table tops, but now that I’d almost finished making them I realized I didn’t really know what I was doing next design-wise.This is when I took a couple of days to plan my designs. I had a pile of wood that I had to work with, all reclaimed in the same fashion- from scrap bins. This meant I had wood that was already milled, of a wide range of sizes. I paired up possible leg blanks, stretchers and other parts for each table top. Since I had actual set pieces to work with I wrote down the measurements of all of these pieces of wood. I popped those measurements into google sketchup and played around with different configurations for each table.

Once I was satisfied, I printed out my designs, and hit the shop once again. I’ve cut all of my table pieces to thickness and width, but have yet to cut them to length.

In the following pictures you will see the tables in their present states, each table top has all it’s parts piled up with the design printouts atop.


I tried various things with the designs and consistently ruled out curved details because I couldn't get behind them. The linear tops seemed to demand simple lines in the rest of the designs.

This turned out to be my favourite design, can't wait for it to come together.


This design is peculiar in that the front and back legs are different dimensions. I'm not sure if it will look right, in which case I'll mill up other legs for it. I have a back up piece of cherry that'll do the trick.


Some of the parts are going to present a challenge as the humidity in the shop isn’t that steady and the wood has moved since milling. The next steps will be to cut the pieces to length and start working on joinery.


I’ll update when the project(s) have come along further. Stay tuned for more shop talk.

4 Responses to “Reclaimed wood… in the works”

  1. Jim March 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Sam, this is cool!

  2. Christine March 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Very cool! Hey, have you seen this girl’s work? All done with recycled wood – very inspiring! She uses lots of lathe from renovation projects.

    Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

    • Warped Boards March 15, 2012 at 12:00 am #

      Her designs are very nice! I enjoy the rustic look of them. I wonder how they’re constructed– wood movement can cause problems if the builder isn’t careful!

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