Urban Lumberjacking

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Reduce, reuse, recycle

fire Who doesn’t love a nice, warm, roaring fire? However, burning hardwood seems a shame (not to mention expensive), when the urban jungle provides one with other combustible options.

Our house is located in a nice little neighborhood. If it were not for the occasional train whistle, I could almost forget how close we were to an industrial zone. Two weekends ago, Fish and I went tinder scouting.

The train yard just four blocks to the east provided us with a truckload of wood.

woodNow before anyone goes off about stealing – we’re talking pallets, not construction or building material. Used pallets can be found around most industrial areas. The train yard stacks them up by the recycling in the hope that someone will haul them away. In this case, they were even nice enough to partially break them down for us.

Breaking down the pallets is the hard part. Depending on the construction, they can require a lot of force to tear apart. A sledge and pry bar is nice. Eye protection is a must – there are more nails then you can count. Once the boards are apart, you can cut them into 2 foot sections that stack fairly nice.

Many uses

bedThis Sunday, we went back out. I figured that we might as well stock up while Fish is around to help.

This time there was not much at the train yard, but we did find the mother load a few blocks away. It turns out that the American Pallet Manufacture is right around the corner. They stack the broken pallets just outside the fence. In total, we brought back six truck loads. After several hours of labor, this equated to 3 nicely stacked rows of lumber.

bed 2However, some of the wood was just too nice to burn.

Using some of the 2×6’s and 2×4’s, I put together a new raised garden bed. At 5 by 3 feet, it is plenty big to hold my new wasabi starts.

The wood is pine rather then the preferred ceder, so it will likely rot in a few years, but for price I cannot complain. I even reused the hurricane nails that were holding the heavier pallets together. The only non-recycled item was some copper banding that I hope will keep the slugs out.

In addition to the wood for the garden, I still have several 10ft 4×4’s sitting in my driveway. They are nicer then most of the wood you can find in the hardware stores. I just don’t know what to build… Any suggestions?

2 Responses to “Urban Lumberjacking”

  1. fish Says:

    gloves, bandaids, a 12 pack of pbr, some music, and a pack of marlbro reds are also needed to get a disgruntaled fish out and about!!!! Ahhhh, the urban jungle is crawling with free wood.

  2. gabrielm Says:

    If I remember the order correctly:

    pbr, hammer, pbr, hammer, bandaids, bandaids, gloves, pbr, pbr, pbr…

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