As I started woodworking I quickly found that I could only afford cheap construction grade pine at local home centers to work with. Buying nice hardwoods was out of the question. I suppose that has something to do with the amount of 2×4 projects I have made. As time passed, like many others out there, I started looking for pallets to reclaim the wood. As most of us know you can get some nice wood from pallets. If you’re just looking for rustic planks it’s a pretty quick process but if you want to plane the wood down and get to the beautiful non-weatherd wood below it will take some time and some wear and tear on either a sander or a set of planer blades. So here’s a reminder that while pallets are typically the go-to source for reclaiming wood there are plenty of other sources of good wood out there.
If you watched my recent bandsaw scoop video you know that I found a box mattress and a headboard leaning up against a dumpster on my way to the shop. I used a bit of the headboard right away but I still had this box mattress taking up space in the shop. How much good wood do you think is in this mattress?
This is my fourth or fifth box mattress salvage. The cool thing about these is that they are only put together with two kinds of staples. Larger frame staples on the wood and small upholstery staples for the fabric. The upholstery staples normally pop right out with a screwdriver and gentle persuasion with a small hammer.
After removing the upholstery staples on two sides I got a little impatient and just cut the rest of the fabric off. I’ll get the rest of the upholstery staples later.
The wood looks a little more appealing at this stage. And to think this was on it’s way to the land fill.
I’m not a huge fan of using staples in my work. The reason being is that stapled joints are pretty easy to pull apart. In this case it worked out great. Little effort with a pry bar and the boards come apart.
And here’s the pile before removing the frame staples.
Because most of the ends are beat up and there are staples so close to the ends I find it easier to just chop off the last 5 inches or so of every board.
And then the interior frame staples are easily backed out with a hammer and pliers. This was a pretty good yield of nice poplar from something that would otherwise be rotting underground in a few days.
So again remember that pallet’s aren’t the only great source of free wood out there. I see a lot of these mattresses thrown away all the time. And because they are nearly always assembled with staples reclaiming the wood is very easy. Apartment complexes are great for finding reclaimable materials. If you happen to live in a college town make it a habit to drive through the local apartment complexes around graduation time. You would be even more surprised at what people actually throw away.