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salvaged lumber

Hoosier 2010 made from salvaged elm. (Photo: Kendall Reeves, Spectrum Studio). The counter is limestone, which I colored to make it resemble slate or honed black granite.

People use the term salvaged to describe a variety of lumber. Salvaged lumber can be cut out of beams, joists, or other parts of buildings, whether remodeled or demolished. It can come from cabinets, furniture, packing crates, or other objects no longer in use. It can come from a tree felled by a bulldozer to make way for new construction or uprooted by a storm. Using material from any of these sources turns what would otherwise be viewed as trash into new products. Hence “salvage,” which comes from the Latin salvare, to save. (Yes, the same basic root as salvation.)

Whatever its origin, salvaged lumber presents a range of challenges to the woodworker – knots, splits, rot, embedded objects such as bullets, hooks, or bits of wire fencing – that are less commonly found in commercially sawn lumber from forest-grown logs.


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