Contributing Editor AJ Moses makes a business out of using salvaged wood. In fact, he calls his company Castaway Woodworks because so much of the material he uses has literally been cast away by someone else. He takes a lot of pride in giving those materials new life.
Working with reclaimed wood
Using salvaged wood is quite the rage these days, which may leave you with some questions, including “What is reclaimed wood?” In addition to knowing what the material is, it’s also good for you to get some background on what it takes to work with this salvaged wood. It does have some characteristics you should know about.
AJ uses the Golden Ratio when dimensioning his boxes. This is a great thing to know about as you’re working on project designs. The ratio is 1.6:1. How to use it? Determine the length of one side, and then multiply or divide it by 1.6 to get the other side. For example, AJ’s boxes are 5” x 8”. The Golden Ratio is a great trick to know about to make sure your projects have pleasing proportions.
Mitered corners can be weak, thanks to the end-grain-to-end-grain nature of the joint. It’s a great idea to reinforce the corners with a spline. In addition to adding strength, a spline can become a significant design element. Be sure to check out the WoodWorkers Guild of America webpage for more information on joinery and how to use a router.
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Reinforcing Mitered Corners with a Spline
I have been recycling or upcycling wood for years. It began when I was a beginner and made toys from construction scrap. I also look for old broken furniture that I can salvage the wood from, if it’s not cheap crap. You’d be surprised. A lot of older furniture is made from oak, or maple, or walnut. Old oak dresser drawers work great for boxes like those in the video. A couple of years back, and unfinished furniture company went out of business. I asked if I could have their scraps; I got all I could load into my truck. Trust me, you can make a lot more than little boxes with salvaged wood.