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Some seriously successful scavenging


I did phase 1 of my garden worktable reconstruction two days ago – took a day off after to give my back a rest and yesterday thought I should start on phase 2.

Before I got stuck in, needed to get some milk, so went to the corner shop. As I went out of the block, I noticed a huge stack of wood by the bins – someone was obviously doing some extensive refurbishing. I made a mental note to have a look when I got back – if no one else got in first! that had happened before.

Came back, it was still there, so got my new four-wheeled flatbed trolley and went out to investigate. There were two stacks of wood, a couple of tall cupboard doors, a length of worktop, even a toilet and a bath. Wish I had room for the bath – there’s a container that would contain a lot! with built-in drainage, too. It wasn’t heavy, I was able to move it aside to get at the wood behind it. didn’t even try moving the toilet; that would have been heavy.

I picked out the bits without nails, screws, hinges or handles – it took two trips to get it all back, (should have taken three; I severely overloaded the trolley the first time and had a hell of a problem lifting the front wheels over the doorstep) and a third to hand-drag the tall door. There were even some board backs for cupboards, so I put one over the doorstep the second trip, which made a ramp to wheel the trolley up and in.

A caretaker was around the third time; he held the door for me, which helped a lot. He wasn’t too happy about the amount of stuff being dumped; the council will pick up a certain number of items of furniture and dispose of it, free, if you phone to arrange it – but breaking it up and dumping it by the bins is a bit naughty.

This lot must add up to at least half a dozen cabinets, And the bath and toilet would be “items” in themselves. And leaving a strip light, still in its casing, but with broken shards of glass all over, is distinctly not on. (To be totally fair, it may not have been broken before I started rummaging, but it certainly was after!). But to leave it lying on the ground, in front of the stacks, where anyone might have tripped over it, was a tad careless. They could have stood it on end in the corner, out of the way. Maybe they were going to tidy things up after they’d finished dumping …

This lot was only about a third of what was there, so one can understand the caretaker’s feelings – this isn’t the sort of stuff that dustmen are supposed to pick up – and certainly not in these quantities!

I don’t know how much this stuff sells for these days, but pretty sure it woult have cost me at least a ton to buy this much.

:-) I took the bit of wood with the bracket because it reminded me of a gallows – thought I’d secure it to the fence and hang a toy squirrel on it “to encourage the others”!!

These metal crates might have been shelf organisers, and might be again – nothing wrong with them, no damage, no marks at all that I could see (mind you, I’ve not given them a close-up once-over yet). The ten of them must have cost a bob or two all on their own.

So now I have enough scraps to build a shed! Or a storage box, or a garden seat – or just about anything else.

And the board backing might fit, or be cut to fit, the unit that lost its own backing, which will add a lot of bracing and strength. And a brand new worktop from the door, if the bit of worktop itself isn’t long enough …

Need to wash them – judging by the dirt marks on them, they’ve had stuff standing on them, untouched, for years! Then sort them into sizes and then work out what I can best use them for.

There were some 2×2s out by the bins as well, but they all had very long nails in them, so I left them – easier to buy new bits for a frame than to try to de-nail old bits. Safer, too.

So phase 2 will be put on hold for a while until this lot has been washed and graded – which may take some time, because I’m still recovering from lugging this lot indoors!

ps – and as a bonus, as I went to the shop, I saw a polystyrene box in the road, so brought my shopping home in that. That makes, oh, four or five I have now – I must get my hypertufa act together!

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Sounds like you got a lot of FREE stuff there. Recycling and re-using is always better than it just going to landfill.

One mans junk is another mans treasure.

27 Jan, 2012


I admire your energy, Fran, and your inventiveness. Longing to see the finished product!

27 Jan, 2012


Well done Fran.
Yes, definitely wash everything, just in case chemicals etc have been stored on any of the shelves.

Those metal crates look really useful ! :o)))

27 Jan, 2012


Don't they Just! After I commented just now, I started thinking about all the things I could have used those for in our garden.....

27 Jan, 2012


thanks all! normally I'm pleased to find a couple of bits going spare - this much ...! the people doing the refurb must have won the lottery or something, there's nothing wrong with most of it, apart from the dirt.

lol Gatting, just don't hold your breath while you're waiting for my new "creation"! The problem with "anything's possible" is what to go for - I usually start ith off-the-wall ideas and tone them down once I start trying to make it happen.

while the weather's dry I'll ge tout there with a bucket and srubbing brush - of ourse, I could just spread 'em out and let the rain do the work! but I'd prefer to know they wre properly clean, whatever they end up being used for.

I did think of useing those metal crates as plant-pot holders/organisers; depends how big a pot I can get in, and how many. But "anything's possible"

27 Jan, 2012


lol, Gattina, please share! will very likely give me an "ah! I hadn't thought of that!"

27 Jan, 2012


Well, I am currently bothering the life out of OH to make me some pallet-wood troughs for the balcony and round the gazebo, so we don't have a row of height-mismatched pots and plastic containers for the summer bedding, and I wanted them to be on little legs, so that everything ends up at around the same height. The shop-bought ones seem all to have wooden slats in the base, but I wanted metal mesh that would drain properly, but wouldn't rot and collapse under the weight of the pots. Also, if you need to raise pots off the ground in winter to stop the worst of the cold rising, they could be used for that. It would also keep my soggy cardboard eggbox-planted seedlings all in one place and top them falling apart if I need to move them. Also, a good place to keep plant tags, string, garden knives, rolls of wire, pliers, pots of hormone rooting powder, dibber, plant ties, seed packets, all the little things that can go walkabout in the long grass when you are working, in one, safe place that even OH can't misplace. Will that do for starters?

27 Jan, 2012


lol indeed! mismatched pots to tend to look a bit scruffy; the only prob with my bought plastic troughs is that they do limit the size pot that'll fit in them, and very often there's a gap not quite big enough for one more pot at the end. How about a storage box with a raised "false front" to hide the pots behind but not limit their size? the box could hold smaller items out of the weather. the box could have a drop-front or be open at the front, I do'nt suppose you'd get much weather from *inside* the balcony.

I have a mini-greenhouse for storage: it doesn't have a large "footprint" but does hold an amazing amount of "useful" stuff as well as *useful* stuff.

wooden bases is a prob; I don't hve any but plastic troughs - I do have a pair of square wooden versailled planters that I must have bought five yers ago and still need assembling (when I find somewhere to put them); not sure what kind of base they have. you'd need a very small mesh to keep the soil in - or mostly solid with a mesh inset for drainage.

*s* I did think of putting two of my new metal crates back to back and putting a bird feeder inside,that sould be squirrel-proof! but I don't know if the gaps would let any but tiny birds in.

27 Jan, 2012


Your local council should be paying you for clearing up for them Fran, lol, will be watching to see what use you put all your finds to in your space...

27 Jan, 2012


Something along the lines of Versailles planters was what I should have said, Fran - I love the look of them, and then I could either put pots inside or line them with heavy gauge plastic, perforated for drainage, and the drained water could then trickle away through the mesh. I don't think I can ask OH to get too challenged on this one. He can barely find a hammer when he needs one, and I only found out yesterday that he doesn't own a plane any more: like the rest of his tools, he left it out and everything has gone rusty.

27 Jan, 2012


lol Lincslass, doubt it! though they'll probably be a bit severe on the dumpers, and so they should be, even though it did me a favour.

had a few more thoughts: a low bench type thing to raise pots, a storage box, err ...

judging from my planters, Gattina, a versailles planter is four bits of wood nailed in a square! they included a fabric/plastic liner, too, though not sure how one's supposed to fix that; screw it in or staple gun?

I bought it in the same package as "solar powered hanging basket" - it's supposed to detect the sun and turn the basket round so each bit gets the sun. Was a couple of years before I even opened the box, and seeds to be just the hangers for hanging baskets, sigh.

rusty tools is a prob - lol tell him that's why he needs to make a chest, to keep 'em in - and to find 'em next time!

got about half the wood scrubbed, had to take a break, back of left hip severely aching - but still, it's not 24 hours since i brought the wood home. Other prob is where to put the bits where they can dry, can't be touching each other. lol, those wire baskets come in handy for "spacers"

27 Jan, 2012


I wish I could paste a picture of what I mean by a Versailles planter in here, Fran, but it definitely consists of more than 4 pieces of wood nailed together. We went to the Italian equivalent of B&Q yesterday, and were horrified at the prices, but today I've been looking at UK prices, and if anything they're even worse. Goodness, haven't prices been rocketing?

27 Jan, 2012


can you post a link to a pic, Gattina?

*s* I might hve oversimplified a tad, or else I got ripped of!

27 Jan, 2012


There you are Fran - I've posted a couple of pictures as demonstration of what I'm trying to explain. These are somewhat complex ones, but even simplified, it does sound as if you might have been sold a pup!
How's the backache now?

27 Jan, 2012


Just checked the pics - I don't think mine are as ornate as that, or will be once they're assembled and painted, but they're basically the same - with knobs on *s*

Went out and did another scrubbing session - that's all the main bits done now, only got the worktops, door and some odds to do. Annoyingly, a lot of the pieces are differnt sizes, with none of them matching - of course I didn't take the rough bits (some looked as if they had been literally ripped apart) but maybe I can get the handyman to cut all the odd bits to the same size and that'll make trying to fit them together easier: I'll have only two szes, and several of each, rather than some of one and the rest all odds. But the rest of the scrubbing, and the sorting, can wait till tomorrow. or sometime.

Back still letting me know it's there *s* a walk-in shower is brilliant, but one can't lie down and soak, soothing aching muscles in it!

27 Jan, 2012


went to the corner shop again on 28th @ 0745, and dropped a bag of rubbish off on the way. All the wood, the bath and toilet, all gone - place is as tidy as it should be. someone moved fast there. just as well I did, too

28 Jan, 2012

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