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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.