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Alyssa Bronstein
Alyssa Bronstein

Who Buys Scrap Wood

In these bleak economic times many people are looking for creative ways to increase their income and keep afloat. What many may not realize is that the key to quick cash may be lying under their noses...or in their attics, closets and garages. Turning scrap into cash is an increasingly popular and lucrative activity that is a win-win situation for the environment and savvy consumers alike.

who buys scrap wood

These tips, tricks, and secrets will help you find super cheap wood for all of your DIY projects, whether you are making a wood plank wall, building furniture, or creating DIY farmhouse decor.

A couple of years ago I got the chance to publish a book filled with DIY projects made from wood. When I realized I was going to need to buy wood for a few dozen DIY projects for this book, I knew I was going to have to figure out how to save some major money.

The very cheapest boards, furring strips, are usually very rough, with rounded edges and lots of imperfections. More expensive wood planks will have much straighter edges, less warping, and a smoother finish.

Most home improvement stores have a bin or shelf of cull lumber somewhere near the back of the store. Cull lumber is lumber that is too warped, split, or otherwise damaged to sell at full price. It can also include scrap wood that is left over after customers have wood cut in the store.

When I let my friends and family know I was trying to build up a stash of wood to use for projects, it turns out several of them had scrap wood piles in their garages or basements that they were happy to clear out, usually for free.

In the landfill wood is a wasted resource. Wood can be reused as building material, recycled into mulch for landscaping orpulp for paper production and used beneficially as a fuel. Reusing and recycling wood reduces the need to cut down trees.

Construction and demolition (C&D) activities generate significant amounts of waste. It has been estimated by CalRecycle that C&D waste represents approximately 28 percent of the solid waste stream. Wood waste represents one component of C&D, estimated at approximately 25 percent. The portion of wood waste that can be reused as lumber is considerably less, but no accurate estimates are currently available.

There are several alternatives to disposal for wood waste that can be reused as lumber for both structural and ornamental applications. These alternatives can save money in avoided disposal fees and potentially generate income from the sale of salvageable materials.

Construction activities tend to generate wood scraps rather than whole lumber for reuse. The scraps lend themselves to reuse through the manufacture of particle board and strand board or are joined together through finger joints to produce larger dimensional wood that can be used in nonstructural applications. Whole lumber that is unused on a site is generally incorporated into the next job.

When salvaging wood from a structure, exposed structural elements will often be painted for appearance and protection. If the structure was built before 1978, there is the potential that the paint contains lead. Most homes built before 1960 are likely to contain lead-based paint. Paints produced before 1960 contain higher concentrations of lead than paints produced in later years.

If the lumber is painted, it may not be accepted or may have to be tested for lead content at salvage, milling, reuse, or wood processing facilities. Inexpensive lead test kits can be obtained at many home improvement or hardware stores. Contact the facilities in your area to determine their requirements on accepting painted lumber and their testing criteria. If no other option is available other than disposal for painted lumber, be aware of the position the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has taken regarding hazardous designation of lead-based paints. The DTSC has stated that demolition debris that is painted with lead based paint that is intact, may or may not be considered hazardous waste. In order for the entire item to be hazardous, the lead concentration in the paint and the painted item (i.e door, beam, etc.) must exceed hazardous levels. In most cases, the lead concentration from the intact paint alone will not exceed hazardous lead levels for both the item and the intact paint. 041b061a72


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