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 In Featured Article, Shop Blog

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A quick announcement before I dive in to this blog post:

If you happen to be in NYC on Saturday, Dec 15th and wish to join me in celebrating the publication of my book, Working Reclaimed Wood, then please come over to the great woodworking hub and store – Tools For Working Wood. Joel Moskowitz (Gramercy tools) is located in Brooklyn NY and his headquarters is the best place in town to schmooze with woodworkers. Our book party is free of charge and will include food, wine and a good conversation.

Date: Dec 15th, 12:00 – 3pm. Click here for more details.


Writing a book can be a nerve-wracking enterprise. You work hard to gather information, sort and sift it, curate the best pieces of work and the most compelling projects, and yet you know that you are destined to leave out some good stuff that was just inaccessible to you at the time.

After Working Reclaimed Wood was published I began receiving emails from makers and artists whom I did not know, but who produce worthy bodies of work that I would have certainly considered for my book if I had I know about them. Obviously it is impossible to be privy to all the good women and men who create, screen and print noteworthy stuff. So, what I have decided to do is to try and give them a stage from time to time on my blog.

One talented woman who uses reclaimed wood in her work is Laura Petrovich-Cheney. Ms. Petrovich-Cheney doesn’t use just any reclaimed wood – her material of choice is exterior elements from disaster-struck buildings and infrastructure. In the aftermath of a hurricane or a flood, when the sad and harsh reality of disaster could overwhelm anybody, she will visit the damaged places and extract boards, cladding and other elements. Specifically, the more colorful pieces of debris, which she quilts together into intriguing, eye-catching and mentally soothing wall pieces.

The Process

In the pictures below you can see how Laura creates her art. First she she pays the disaster zone a somber visit to pick up debris. Then she design her quilts, cuts the pieces to shape and glues them down using weights and wood glue as needed onto a substrate.

I encourage you to peruse the photos below to generate inspiration from her work, whether or not you use reclaimed wood.

Laura Petrovich-Cheney

Laura Petrovich-Cheney



A few words about safety when working with reclaimed wood.

Whenever you work with painted reclaimed wood, wear safety glasses and a high quality respirator.  Sawing or sanding debris can expose you to lead, asbestos and other health-threatening substances. Be sure to protect your lungs and eyes, and in extreme cases wear protective clothes to shield yourself from the dust.

Working Reclaimed Wood guides you through the entire process of finding, using and finishing reclaimed wood with case studies, projects and makers’ stories. From knowing different types of wood you’ll encounter to finding good sources for material and gaining the inspiration you need to create, it’s all here!

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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