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Try this great idea which requires so little skill yet offers so much benefit:
Here are the most common types of single use pallets to look for:
Looking past pallets… scrap timber:
Pallets are wonderful but there are some projects that you just can’t do with pallets. Again, it’s just a matter of looking and asking. Do you live in an area where new homes are being built? Every one of those will have a scrap pile. Go and introduce yourself and ask if you can take the scrap timber. You will rarely, if ever, get knocked back. Most builders have to pay to have the waste removed. Some take the easy way out and burn it. You are helping them to manage their waste.
You are unlikely to find six metre lengths of timber on a builder’s scrap heap, but I’ve found many 1200mm lengths and countless smaller pieces. The same applies to MDF and ply. Think small.
Having said that, there are often large, usable pieces of timber discarded during renovations and additions. Since ‘time is money’ (and the client is paying anyway), it’s faster to work with new materials than de-nail old. But if you look in the pile above, it’s an absolute treasure trove including a full set of door jams! It’s a fact that a lot of the timber pulled out of renovations is better quality than the new timber being carted in to the job. Sure it requires effort, but the rewards are wonderful.
Renovations are also a great source for windows and bricks, baths that you can turn into raised gardens or fish ponds, tiles for mosaics and even some amazing doors that are simply hidden under 15 layers of paint!
Scrap timber is only scrap because no-one has thought of a way to use it. If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time in any third world country, you would have seen how timber, of any size, is never wasted. There is always a place where it can be used. Thankfully, there are a few first world businesses who are also seeing those same opportunities.
How often have you seen an old bed base or sofa on the curb? Chances are that every one of them had a timber frame. And not just any timber. Most furniture items are built for heavy duty use. The frames are solid. Take a look and be surprised. Your local Op Shop probably sends a lot of old furniture to landfill every week. The condition is too poor to even gift. But the frame is still good for us to use in our projects!
Craigslist, Gumtree and Facebook Community Groups
Run a search on ‘free’ and stand back. You will be amazed at what is available either for free, or at very little cost. You might also try advertising for the things you want – or simply posting a request in Community Groups. Many people have items and building materials that were too good to throw out but that they have never found a use for. They are often happy just to see that someone can finally put them to good use.
Well, I hope that helps you to find all the pallets and ‘scrap’ timber you want. I’ve really only scratched the surface. Do you have a favourite source? Do you have any suggestions you can share? Just head to the comments box below :)