Friday, August 7, 2009

Recycled Wood Products

Storms, disease, drought, they all take their toll on our trees. Often when a tree or a portion thereof needs to be removed, it winds up in our landfills. Some communities and tree services have realized that this is a huge waste of resources and have begun chipping this material and composting it for mulch. Unfortunately, many times the chips wind up in landfills too. Much of this wood could be turned into useful items if it could find its way to the right person.

I had a sycamore tree die from a recent drought. It was nice wood, so I’m having the main trunk planked to panel a wall. I had my tree service leave the smaller pieces as well because it seemed a shame to not do something with all of that pretty wood. I have begun to make some home d├ęcor items from this sycamore wood.

The first item I made was a wall clock. I cut a ¾ inch slab from a limb and sanded it. I then applied several coats of a clear stain and sealer to bring out the beauty of the wood. Now to add the guts of the clock. Some battery powered clockworks can be a little on the noisy side, however I used a brand that is very quiet. I have used this brand in the past to replace distracting ones. To the clockworks I added decorative hands and numbers for the clock face.

My next projects were a set of tealight candle holders, business card holders and pen blanks for wood turners. For the candle holders, I drilled a hole in one end of a length of limb of the proper diameter for a tealight to fit into. I sanded and finished each of the three candle holders of the set as I had the clock. Next, came the business card holders. Earlier this year I attended a conference and needed something to place my business cards in. Again my sycamore wood was used to created pretty, useful items instead of rotting in the landfill.

I have a few other items that I have started as well. I am working on some desk sized business card, pen and pencil holders as well as a rustic wooden vase to hold dried or silk flowers. It’s looking like I may keep the prototype of the vase, I like it so much, so I’ll have to get busy on a second one for my shop.

I have accomplished all of these recycling projects with basic shop saws, a drill and a sander. Next time you see a downed tree, maybe you can take some home to make your own creations or turn a woodworker in your area onto it, so it doesn’t just get hauled off to the landfill. To see what recycled wood home decor items that I currently have for sale, please check out my Feathers, Leather n Wood shop section.


  1. This is a really cool idea. I love how someone can take something and create something useful.

  2. The tea light holders and clock are beautiful. I have a chain my grandfather carved out of a single piece of wood about 70 years ago and two little lamps he made that seem to take lightbulbs that can't be bought anymore. It seems like wood that has been loved by somebody's hands lasts forever.