Ten Uses for that Old Cedar Fence

When we had occasion to move a section of fence a few years back, I asked the fence guys to just leave the old panels rather than carting them away to the landfill. With a little help from my sons and a crowbar, I salvaged a bunch of cedar boards, some 2x4s and some 4x4s.  Good stuff for all kinds of projects. Here are ten good uses for that reclaimed (free! on site!) lumber.

The photo depicts an old fence and a stump.

1.           Patio Table.

The weathered cedar is perfect for patio furniture—every old nail hole adds character.  I started with a low table to fit between our lounges, just the height for holding drinks or plates or candles. A battery powered LED on the underside provides ambiance.

Two photos of a small square patio table made from cedar boards. Both photos are at night. The one on the left is lit by a patio light. The one on the right has only a faint purple light coming from underneath the table.

2.           Patio Standing Desk / Table / Bottle opener

The low tables looked great, so I set my sights higher. In the first summer of working-from-home the idea of a table that could double as a standing desk was my next project. It is open at the front, so my knees don’t bang into it when working.  I haven’t really used it as a desk much since that summer, but the design is perfect for hanging a trowel and a whisk, for a thermometer, and for stowing patio sundries. And the bottle opener gets good use.

The photo depicts a chest-high table made from cedar boards. Under the table are hanging a whisk broom and a trowel for gardening and some other items.

3.           Cider and Mead Station

My growing interest in homebrewing demanded space for one-gallon batches and there was a corner of the dining room perfect for watching the bubbles and pondering science.  For interior furniture the weathered cedar needed some cleaning up, easy work for a planer. (And some favorite old shirts and jeans found new life as carboy covers. I miss that octopus shirt.)

The photo depicts a small cedar table in a dining room.  The table is a rack, holding one-gallon jugs being used to make mead and cider. The jugs are covered with cloth to keep light out.

I left the wood unfinished and learned that our cats love scratching cedar.  I don’t mind since it was reclaimed wood put together with don’t-look-too-closely workmanship—let the cats scratch!  Better that than the sofa.

The photo depicts the front on the small mead and cider rack, showing the deep scratches made by the cats.  On the floor are some of the bits of wood scratched off by the cats.

4.           Another Patio Table

When I made the patio tables, I joined up three boards for the tabletop and cut to size.  The leftover was enough for another tabletop, so I made another low table for holding lamps, potted plants, or whatever.  This one had a slightly different structural design, since the angles for design number 1 proved somewhat difficult to get perfect. 

The photo depicts a small cedar table holding a solar lamp. Also in the photo are a section of a log being used as a stand for a potted plant, and a red Adirondack chair. They are on a stone patio with a portion of the lawn in the photo.

5.           Spice Rack

This was a quick project, a spice rack designed to fit perfectly under the cabinets.  Spices are handy; and, as simple as it is, it still looks somewhat better than Homer’s.

The photo depicts a small kitchen spice rack. There are three shelves of different heights to fit spice bottles of different heights.

6.           Scratching Post and Perch

The mead station was a convenient scratching post for the cats on the main floor, but I thought they could use something in the basement, too.  It is cedar all around, sloped on one side, and tall enough that they can stretch out; or perch up top if they choose. The customers were very satisfied.

The photo is a collage of four photos of a wooden scratching post made for cats. It is entirely wooden, sloped on one side and vertical on the opposite side. It is flat on top so the cats can sit on it. One photos is in the workshop, two photos show the evidence of scratching, and a fourth photo shows our two cats sitting on top.

7.           Another Patio Table

Carrying a platter of burgers into the house was always a challenge for opening and closing the slider.  A medium height patio table, matching the others in style, next to the door was the perfect solution.

The photo shows a cedar table about waist high. It is in the corner near a sliding glass door.  It is long and narrow, with some frisbee discs and a watering can underneath.

8.           Firewood Rack

A huge oak limb crashed onto our house last summer, but at least we got some firewood out of it! My sons and I cut it up and split it, but we needed somewhere for it to season. I drew inspiration from this design to make a simple rack.  The zebra weathering of the reclaimed 2x4s evidence their earlier lives as crossbars for a fence.  The roof was made of cedar boards with some brown caulk in the seams.

The photo depicts a firewood rack full of firewood.

9.           Another Firewood Rack

This one is as simple as it gets.  Just the 2x4s with some cedar cross-members.  One end of the rack is an old stump which I’ve kept around for our woodpecker visitors.

The photo depicts a firewood rack covered with plastic. It is against a fence with an old stump on one side.

10.         Fix that Old Crawlspace Door

My parents’ house had a crawlspace door that had rotted at the bottom. A little patchwork, some screws and paint, and it is as good as new.

The photo depicts three photos of the same door. It is an old wooden door to a crawl space under a 100 year old house. The first photo shows the bottom part of the door with rotted sections. The second photo shows where it has been replaced with cedar boards.  The third photo shows it nicely painted.

Whether for projects or as a paint stirrer or shim of just the right size, those cedar boards come in handy.  The scraps? They burn great in the outdoor fire pit.  The stack of boards in the shed even provided some critter a cozy winter nest.

I have a few more projects in mind for the summer, and my pile of boards from that old fence is not gone yet. Next winter, though, the critters might need to find a new home.

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