A "folk art" bench made from recycled oak boards.
I have a strong belief in the importance of recycling--and I make $300 or $400 a month acting on that belief. How do I act on that belief? And make that money? I look for lumber that has been thrown away (in dumpsters and trash piles) and make things out of it like tables, lawn chairs, and benches. And people who tear down old sheds and houses give me lumber too. The small bench you see above was made from lumber given to me by Greg Patty. Greg had an old milk shed on his farm and knew that I would be delighted to get a bit of it before he tore it down.
The "folk art bench" here is 32 inches long and 12 inches wide; the seat is 17 inches high and the whole thing is made out of oak boards that used to comprise the walls of Mr. Patty's shed. Imagine oak walls! Today, we're lucky to get soft wood lumber that is a tick above pulp for paper mills.
Some rich lady from Kansas City, or St. Louis, will give me $28 for the bench. She'll be happy to get it and will probably put flower pots on it in her back garden. Why am I telling you this? To demonstrate that anyone, even a hammer mechanic like me, can make a little money when they re-use, recycle, and re-purpose materials that would otherwise be burned or dumped in a landfill.
I hope everyone will think twice before they throw away perfectly useable building materials, and will take the time to imagine what it could become. Small scraps can be made into children's toys, or salt boxes, and so on. Larger pieces can become whirligigs, or homes for family pets. And whatever you construct, it will be a hit at your next garage or roadside sale. Recycling, one board at a time, can even make you a bit of money.