Category Archives: Repurposing Old Stuff

Build a Kindling Box from Pallets

When we moved from the cabin, we left our kindling box with the new owners.  We needed a new one before winter and I wanted an excuse to use a bunch of pallets I had saved up for a rainy day.  I had no idea about the work it takes to disassemble the pallets and sand all the wood, but I am glad I tried it because the look of freshly sanded pallet wood is so beautiful!  The only new wood for this product were the 2 x 4″s for the frame, the hinges and the handle.  Everything else was from my wood pile!

I started building a frame for the top and the bottom of the box. I decided to use angle braces because the pallet wood would provide the strength I needed for the project.



After the frame was built, the real work began.  There are many ways to disassemble a pallet, but the easiest way I found was to cut the pallet boards on the outside with a circular saw as close to the support board as you can.  You lose a little length on the board, but you have less chance of splitting the boards and you want to cut off those nail holes anyway.  Once you have cut the outside edges, you can pry up the center.

Once you have all your boards processed and the nails removed, the fun part begins…sanding!  I used 80 grit sand paper because I still wanted to leave some of the rustic markings and stains.  This is the portion of the project that took a long time!  After the sanding was complete, it was a matter of deciding how to place the boards on the frame.  I had enough of the same pallets to make the skinny ends look uniform, but on the longer sides, I had to be more creative.  I had some boards that were thicker and some that were wider, so I worked to make both sides look similar, even tough I was using different sized wood.  Check out the finished product!

After assembling the box, I attached all the pallet wood with a 2″ finishing nailer so you would not see the nail heads.  Now, I had to decide how to stain it.  Because I loved the soft look of the wood with the color variations, I decided to use Penofin Clear Penetrating Oil Finish and it really brought out the color of the wood.  It will also provide good protection from the weather.  For the top, I used some left over corrugated metal and I added a small handle to the front.  A sculpture from a local artisan completes the project!

Would I work with pallets again?  Yes because although time consuming, it is rewarding to salvage old materials and re-purpose them.



Saving Vintage Door Hardware

As we continue to work on the finishing details of our 1904 house remodel, we are finally getting to stripping the doors.  More on that later, but we started to work on the hardware for two doors and for the life of me, I cannot understand why they painted door hardware.  In our case, they also painted the door knobs.

Hinges BeforeIMG_2825

The easy thing to do is to just put on new hardware, but if you look closely at the detail, it is too beautiful to throw away.  We didn’t want to use any harsh chemicals, so I thought I would try something I saw on “Rehab Addict”.  We took all the hardware and put it in a crock pot with water!  No need for soap, but it takes a couple of hours and some scraping.  I used a 5 in 1 tool to get into the crevasses and it worked great.

The hinges shown above took some work, but in the end it was worth it!  The hot water bath did not do any damage to the hardware and it removed about 5 coats of paint.  It was well worth the effort.

Hinges AfterIMG_2820

So next time you are tempted to get rid of that old door hardware, give it a second chance.  You won’t be disappointed!






Saving a Vintage Bathroom

When we bought our turn of the century fixer upper, the first room we had to tackle was the bathroom.  This was the worst room in the house with stained wall board, nasty linoleum and worn out fixtures.  The only good thing about it was the claw foot tub.

Bathroom Before 5Bathroom Before 3

The bathroom was a decent size so we knew we could make it awesome!  We started the demo and discovered the inside wall was

What is Shiplap?


When starting the demo on an old house, you might uncover a wall of beautiful wood under your lath and plaster. The first time I uncovered this wood was in our 1904 house remodel, I was amazed at the beauty of this wood.  I didn’t know what it was, but began to research it.

The wood you are seeing is called “shiplap”.  Before the modern days of drywall, it was cheaper to line the walls horizontally with pine boards.  These boards are usually rough-sawn

Rustic Frames from Repurposed Wood

I love old wood and metal and I had both left over from our house remodel.  We needed to dress up our fence in the back, so I decided to create 3 “pictures” using wood from our old fence, some awesome old metal with a great patina and some old tools we found when tearing down our shed.  This old stuff has a great story to tell and it is nice to be able to leave some of the history with this old house.

I started by ripping down the fence boards for the “picture” frames.  The wood was 1″ x 8″, so that gave me a 4″ frame.  Then I cut my boards to size to create the frame and cut the metal

MetalOld Tools

I checked the fit with the metal and the tools and then secured the frame on the back with