I do it.
Craigslist. This is nice clear vertical grain (CVG) spruce, pine, hemlock siding material, rough finished and stained on one side and destined for me to use. Or the dumpster, if the good folks who took the time to offer it up on Craigslist were like most people and just chucked it in the trashcan. Sigh.........It just kills me to go to the dump and see all of the waste that is part of our lives today.
In the past you could go to the landfill and actually come home with more than you originally threw away (my wife shudders with dread) which reduced the need for ever expanding garbage dumps. Your backyard might look a bit cluttered with "useful" things, but at least you didn't end up having to drive to the store to buy more disposable stuff that just ends up in the trash. Repeat ad infinitum. I wish more people were willing to take responsibility for their actions. Be careful. Don't sue. Don't need to have your hand held for every d@mn thing that you do. Demand a !NATIONAL HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE! plan so when you do get hurt, you don't need to sue just to cover your cost of health care, 60% of which just goes the the lawyers anyway, and ruining your family financially forever. ******Shakes head*****Whoa, what happened? Where am I? What was I talking about? Oh yeah.
So before you throw something away, think about posting an ad somewhere so that someone can turn your junk into something of beauty and value. I know it is inconvenient (so is life) and more work (as before). I got a full pickup load of this stuff and all it cost me was the time to clean up the pile in the good people's yard (be a good neighbor and leave it as neat as possible, we want to encourage this behavior) and a few hours to pull out the nails. To buy this stuff new costs about $2.25 per linear foot, but if you do the math, you're missing the point.
The point isn't that the material was free, or how much money I saved. To kill a tree, cut it into little pieces that you then arrange into a usable configuration is of debatable value. I really like trees. Lots of this is 60+ rings per inch, so we are definitely talking old-growth here. To take something that was alive for 400 years and turn it into a crappy decorative material that gets thrown out after 10 years when home decor styles change is REEEALLY sad, when you think about it. I at least try to extend the Carbon cycle by a few more years. This was on it's way to the junkyard. If I do good work, heck, if I do a crummy job this will last for 10 more years. Good work will get you maybe 50? 100? If someone takes care of it.............? That is the point.
I cut off the tongue and groove, leaving me with 3" wide stock, then run it through the planer to take off the old rough and stained face, leaving a smooth and shimmery finished surface. The few nail holes that remain add character, and these boards are for the drawer sides and backs anyways.
And in case you were wondering, the planer worked AWESOME! I feel like I just saved $600 by not buying a new planer. See this post.
When you've got some time, check out Mafe's projects. He is a recycler of the highest order and has a wonderful aesthetic sense. I look to his work when I need inspiration or just need to recharge my creative batteries.