We are still chuggin’ along on week one of owning our own shop! And with that comes lots (and I mean lots) of unexpected costs… licenses, permits, fees, deposits, and on and on. So that leaves little room in the wallet for all the fun stuff I want to do, like make this place a JUNK HAVEN!! That’s when I knew I had to be resourceful!! <huffing on fingernails, brushing on shoulder> Good thing I’m good at that!! Ha ha!!
One of the big projects we are working on is covering the walls in the shop! And I know what you’re thinking. Pallet wood walls? Well, yes and no. Most of the walls will be covered in RUST of course!! But there will be some spaces where we will use old wood to give the space that farmhouse barn feel that I want! So, where will we get said wood?? Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you about today!! Five places that I like to keep an eye out for free wood! But before I spill the beans… One Rule: Always ask!! Don’t assume a pile of wood is free. Always ask!! First up… power equipment stores!
1. Power Equipment Stores
All of the wood you will see in this post was FREE!! Absolutely free for the taking!! And I found it in a huge heap behind a power equipment store. They sell lawn mowers, chainsaws, you know, the big argh argh argh kinda tools!! That was my best Tim Allen impression! Ha ha! I spotted the heap a couple weeks ago and knew that I wanted to take some of that good ‘ol wood home. So last week, the hubs and I stopped by and asked to speak with the owner. He was so kind and told us to grab anything we wanted as long as they were there. Coming after hours would set the alarm off! Can you imagine?! I envision us loading up some old pallets and waaaoooo waaaaooo waoooo, sirens go off, lights start flashing, spotlights shine down from helicopters in the sky. And there I am. Hands up in the air. I’m just trying to get some free wood. Yeah. So, we’ll be going when they are there!! We snagged two loads that day and will be going back for more as we need it! Find a honey hole… and make friends with the owner!! These power equipment stores have more pallets than they know what to do with. More often than not, the small business would be more than happy for you to take some off their hands!!
2. Construction Sites
Another great place to find free wood is on construction sites! This is where you will find some quality scrap lumber, 1x2s, 2x4s and 2×6 pieces. Now these will be scrap so don’t expect to get a ten foot piece of lumber. But for smaller projects, these scraps will be just perfect! Seek out the smaller builders. Often those builders don’t really have a way to get rid of their scrap, so they will burn it or throw it in the dumpster. You just gotta put your big girl pants on and go ask the crew what they do with their scrap wood? You just never know what you might be able to get for FREE!!
3. Craigslist, FreeCycle, Facebook
The internet is your friend when you are searching for FREE stuff!! And wood is no exception! Often people will be working on large projects and have scrap that they will list for free. I can’t tell you the number of old wooden fences I’ve seen replaced and the owner just wants someone to come pick up all that old wood!! Or people who are replacing their countertops with butcher block and have a small square that they didn’t need. I saw a piece of butcher block on Craigslist just yesterday! FreeCycle is a site for ALLLL FREE STUFF!!! Check it out! You will be addicted! And Facebook?? How can Facebook help?? Well, there are lots of special Facebook groups out there for people who like to swap junk or give stuff away. Even yard sale groups! Search Facebook for groups in your area!!
4. Volunteer to Decontruct
This one is a little more labor intensive and you realllly need to know what you’re doing. But I have seen lots of people on Craigslist who are looking for someone to help them deconstruct a barn, an old shed, or perhaps a house. And if you are willing to help with the deconstruction process, often you can be paid in some of the wood!! This is for the more serious junker. And again, it is so important to know what you are doing. Don’t go trying to tear a house down with a hammer and a crowbar!! Believe me!! It WON’T WORK!! (Not that I’ve tried that or anything. Wink Wink.) But in all seriousness, it can be very dangerous and you could get hurt!! So proceed with caution!
Think outside of the box!! That old beat up dresser you see on the side of the road… it may be in bad shape, but what kind of wood is that? Does it have a good frame?? Can you tear it apart and use the wood for your project?? And here’s a little secret… did you know there is some really good wood on the under side of box springs?? And how often do you see those for free online?! The wood from a box spring is great because it has always been protected and indoors!! And it’s stout!! Bottom line: think outside of the box! See a cheap piece of furniture at a thrift store. Tear it apart, if you can make something from the wood! I snagged some IKEA bed slats for free once and made kitchen shutters out of them!! You just have to be creative!!
While I have claimed that all of this wood is FREE, the truth is, you’ll have to work for it! Tearing apart pallets can be a job! But if the patina is perfect, I’ll put in the work! So where do you find your free wood?? Let’s share sources… in the comments below!! Here’s to finding FREE wood and creating beauty from it!!
And if you’re looking for rusty metal… I’ve got you covered there too!!! CLICK HERE for my secret spots for finding rusty metal!!