All Replies on Break down used furniture for the lumber?

  • Advertise with us
View ThomasRyan's profile

Break down used furniture for the lumber?

by ThomasRyan
posted 10-07-2018 01:52 PM

20 replies so far

View americancanuck's profile


457 posts in 3459 days

#1 posted 10-07-2018 02:05 PM

first of all you have to make very sure it really is solid wood. Most people don’t know the difference between solid wood and mdf veneer. At times you can get very good deals other times you are better off spending your money at the lumber yard

-- Retired and lovin it

View splintergroup's profile


3979 posts in 2071 days

#2 posted 10-07-2018 02:10 PM

One time I bought around 100 student dorm desk/dressers at auction for $0.50 each. They had been out in the weather for many months and much of the 3/4” BB ply laminated tops were a mess, but the solid oak construction gave me a pile of decent wood and the hardboard and plywood drawer bottoms/dust dividers gave me a huge supply of material for panels and templates.

Good salvage deals don’t come by often so if you have the storage space, check them out.

A true solid (not veneer) book case can supply a lot of wide boards, though the sides likely have dados or shelf pin holes. Figure out the useable board footage and figure on $1 or so a foot if the material is nice. $50 may be pushing it.

Same deal with the pews, watch out for veneers. The seats are often 6/4 material in long lengths and widths, very good stuff. $100 would definitely peak my interest.

View Rich's profile


5872 posts in 1438 days

#3 posted 10-07-2018 03:05 PM

Restorers do it all the time to add to their stores of antique parts and veneers. Ultimately, you’ll have to be the judge of the value of the pieces in terms of quality of material, yield, etc. Just offhand, I have a hard time imagining that the oak from a dresser would be worth $50.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View RobinDobbie's profile


147 posts in 2584 days

#4 posted 10-07-2018 04:12 PM

Saw a nice-looking solid-wood bookcase/wine rack at the side of the road. Came back with the truck and took it back to the shop. After I got back and started disassembling it, turns out the shelves were just particle board with a reasonably thick, real wood veneer. The frame was solid red oak and ply, but glue-ups. And they used staples, nails, and glue to put those pieces together. I put a crappy blade on the table saw and processed it. I’ll make something “rustic” out of it.

View RobinDobbie's profile


147 posts in 2584 days

#5 posted 10-07-2018 04:15 PM

By the way, I see church pews for free on CL all the time. And by all the time I mean twice a year. But still.

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3807 days

#6 posted 10-07-2018 04:35 PM

+1 to the comments re: particle board passed of as “solid” or “real.”

I don’t pay for reclaimed wood; payment, such as it is, is me doing you the favor of taking away your white elephant.

I recently had a big score with reclaimed red oak: 12 boards, 1×8x12. 12 feet! These had been used to hold artificial flowers for a display of some sort. Funny how the world seems so much brighter when the stockpile is high.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Fresch's profile


500 posts in 2770 days

#7 posted 10-07-2018 07:12 PM

I did a remodel on a large upscale school and asked for some desks they were throwing out, others were hauling some off that day. Drove home got my truck came back and no you can’t have any! Turns out they too looked for a builders mark… Gustav Stickley, factory is just down the road. They were trying to get all the others back.
Did a remodel on an other school same idea only oak from the removed stage, oops never was supposed to remove the stage! They too were trying to get the wood back. They did let me take old door frames.

View corelz125's profile


1530 posts in 1825 days

#8 posted 10-07-2018 10:30 PM

I wouldn’t pay that much for somebodies garbage. You can find stuff either for free or on a curb. Some towns have those re use sections at the dump you can find furniture there for free to take home and break down

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3882 days

#9 posted 10-07-2018 10:36 PM

Not worth the Effort!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View diverlloyd's profile


3986 posts in 2706 days

#10 posted 10-07-2018 11:09 PM

Free church pews come with a free hernia moving them.

View Phil32's profile


1130 posts in 753 days

#11 posted 10-07-2018 11:13 PM

I recently salvaged some black walnut shelves for a carving I was doing. It was easy to verify that the wood was solid. I actually got started whittling years ago on basswood that was used as the core of mahogany veneered cabinet doors. Some of the best basswood I have worked with!

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4188 posts in 3958 days

#12 posted 10-08-2018 01:23 AM

You just have to know what you are looking at, as has been mentioned. I’ve picked up some junk that ended hacked up and in the rubbish bin, and I’ve scored black walnut and QSWO.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View knotscott's profile


8385 posts in 4225 days

#13 posted 10-08-2018 12:43 PM

It depends on the particular pieces, how they’re made, the condition of the wood, the construction, etc., as well as what you want to do with if after. There will be quite a bit of waste from previous joinery and damage. I’ve deconstructed some pieces, and it can yield some useful and interesting pieces, but it can also be a fair amount of work. However, there is some special appeal when repurposing something that was destined for the scrap or burn pile. A lot of my projects are from salvage of some sort. I’d say give it a try if the price is right, and you have the time and the urge, but its not the easiest path to a build.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16903 posts in 3467 days

#14 posted 10-08-2018 01:22 PM

+1 t knotscott’s thoughtful answer.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View ThomasRyan's profile


2 posts in 716 days

#15 posted 10-08-2018 02:40 PM

I picked up what I guess you would call basic carpentry last year out of necessity during a (ongoing) home remodel and along the way become curious about what else I can build with the tools bought; cabinets, furniture, etc. That curiosity lead to me Reddit and the folks there said was a great resources.

This is my first question on the forum. I’m impressed with the response from everyone, and very appreciative. Thank you for your input. I look forward to learning from all of you!

View Rink's profile


198 posts in 887 days

#16 posted 10-08-2018 03:02 PM

I took a workshop with the author of this book, Yoav Liberman. He is an excellent woodworker and teacher. This book probably answers all your questions about working with reclaimed wood.


View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1665 days

#17 posted 10-08-2018 03:12 PM

A friend of mine traded me an old solid red oak church bench for a small business sign I carved for him. It turned out to be easy to disassemble and plane into some very nice full 4/4 wide planks. It was very worth my while. I guess it depends on the salvage piece you are looking at.

View MrRon's profile


5934 posts in 4093 days

#18 posted 10-08-2018 03:31 PM

I had two large floor loudspeakers that had bad drivers, so I gutted them and made bookcases out of them. They were mad of plywood and have been in use now for 25 years.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1730 posts in 3699 days

#19 posted 10-08-2018 07:56 PM

I restored/refurbished a crucifix for the church and used the 70’s red oak old cross to build this side table . I’m pretty bad about looking at the furniture that gets dumped near the 1st of the month, usually it’s generally crap, but sometimes I’ll take a table top as they can be useful for shop shelves and some lower end projects. If it looks like something I can use and there’s not a lot of extra work to get to useful stock pieces, I’ll pick it up.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View DBDesigns's profile


232 posts in 847 days

#20 posted 10-08-2018 08:33 PM

I see old chests of drawers on the roadside all the time. If it’s free, its worth tearing down for the lumber! If it’s no good just pitch it.
Also, one of my favorite sources for white oak or red oak 4”x 4”s is the lumber left during a pipeline project. They ship DIP (ductile iron pipes) with oak 4”x 4”s all the time and leave them on the roadside for scrounging. You just saw the ends off where the nails are and mill it how you need to. They are great for turnings and large handles or glued up panels. (One 4” x 4” gives you a 3/4” by 10” glued up board when the sawdust settles.)
I’m a lumber scrounger from way back. Pickup truck helpful but not required.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics