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Trash to Treasure: Recycle an Old Deck

Recycling is a good thing.  It’s good for the environment by keeping our landfills filled with waste rather than something that can be reused; and it saves another tree from being cut down although that’s not as important since out forests are now mostly sustainable. It’s good for us humans because it saves money, rather then spending money on new wood. So any time I get the chance to make something out of recycled wood I always jump at the opportunity.

Recently I got a call from my nephew(in-law) Joey.  He and his Dad built a brand new deck and he wanted to see if he could salvage the old wood to make some shelves, a workbench, and a table out of.  Of course!

Recycle an Old Wood Deck

IMG_0300So Joey arrived at my home on Saturday afternoon with a truck load of 2x10s and 2×8’s that looked like they had been through world war three.  They were full of nails and screws, covered in splotches of latex paint that was coming off in multiple layers.  There was bare wood that had been exposed to the elements for some time showing through everywhere.  This stuff was in bad shape.  I honestly was quite worried we might not be able to save it as bad as it looked.  The good news is, Joey was OK with some of it having a rustic look when he finished, so even if we couldn’t make it perfect, it would be good enough.  My main fear was how cupped some of the boards had become over time from being exposed to the elements without protection for so long.

Sorting the Boards and Planing Them

Joey had travelled from the other side of town to come see me, so I wasn’t about to turn him away without trying.  So we picked the best of the boards we could find and stored them on the garage floor. Many of them had obvious nails and screws in them.  I didn’t have my metal detector on hand that day so we had to painstakingly look at each board and make sure we removed all of the metal objects.  One missed nail or missed screw and I’d destroy the knives in my DeWalt DW735X planer.  That would be a very bad thing.

We spent the next few hours running the boards through the planer taking off just 1/32″ or 1/16″ at a time.  Trying to remove as little as possible to get passed the bad parts on the out side.  The final step for each board was to slice off a 1/16″ off of each side of the bard to square them up and remove the paint and rotted material.

The Recycled Old Deck Wood Turned Out Amazing

I have to say we were both pretty happy with the finished results!  Wood that once looked unusable and destined for the landfill looked brand new, like it was just purchased from the local home improvement center!  It just goes to show that much of what we throw away is still perfectly good material that can be reused, salvaged, and can live again.  I can’t wait to update this post with pictures of what Joey builds!


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