This month, we’ve taken on quite a handful of projects to get loose ends tied up on our homestead. We’ve made great headway on our diy hot tub and hot tub deck (main projects of the month), but those two projects alone left us with a lot of smaller tasks to complete as well as a pile of leftover lumber! In this post, we want to share with you some of the scrap wood projects we’ve completed !
On a journey such as this (building a home and starting a homestead from scratch), being resourceful is critical. As you will see, we carefully track all expenses on our property and while we aren’t immune to spending mass quantities of money, we try to solve problems without money frequently.
In addition to having scrap wood from various projects, we’ve also been able to find loads of second-hand building materials for next to nothing, including lumber, and also demolished a barn / house where we were able to pull out a full trailer load of reclaimed lumber. We also did a lot of cleanup on our property including cleaning up the branches from trees we fell, and we also had a lot of leftover lumber from our diy hot tub project.
What were we to do with all of this lumber?
We aren’t a fan of hoarding materials OR having a messy-looking property, so we decided to put these materials to good use on our smaller projects. In this post, we want to share with you just some of our projects to show you that it is possible to build beautiful things with scrap lumber!
Video Tour of Projects
We’ve put together a video tour for you of the projects, or for the nitty gritty details, keep on reading!
Our Favorite Scrap Wood Project: Adirondack Chairs
Once we had our hot tub deck completed, we knew we wanted some seating on the deck for our enjoyment and for the enjoyment of visitors. We found these plans from Ana White and went to work. The first set of chairs was built using cedar leftover from the building of our hot tub.
The second set of chairs was from random leftover fir on the property, some leftover 1×2 pine that we bought for some project but never put to use, and then we think a lumber fairy dropped off a few pieces of lumber that we used as the arms of the chairs.
Are these chairs perfect? No! Will we be able to pass them on to our kids or grand kids? Probably not! Is that okay? Totally!
We built these chairs for next to nothing out of lumber that could have gone to waste. We think they fit perfectly in with the entire look of the hot tub deck, so we are really stoked with these chairs, and they’re WAY more comfortable than our fold-up camping chairs that we were using!
Don’t Forget the Details: Steps Into the Hot Tub
When it was time to build steps up into the cedar hot tub, Jesse looked around the property to see what we could use. We had some leftover treated lumber that we bought for some project or another but never used it, so we cut a couple of risers out of those. We then used a few pieces of leftover cedar for the steps. Steps such as these are a great use for leftover lumber (when they’re needed, that is!) and it didn’t even cross our minds to run down to a building supply store for this project.
Again… we love the steps! Who cares that everything doesn’t match? Not us!
Steps to Our New Deck
Since we built our deck on a pretty steep hill, we knew we were going to need some stairs to get up to it, mostly for safety. While we could hop onto the deck, it really isn’t ideal or ideal for visitors.
We pondered many ways to go about making the stairs, but we kept coming back to the problem at hand – we had A LOT of lumber sitting in a pile and wanted to put it to use rather than let it rot.
A couple months prior, our neighbor let us have a bunch of railroad ties that he was going to burn. We decided that we could turn those into risers. A lot of the wood was too rotten to use, but we were able to pull out a couple solid pieces that will work for years to come. They likely won’t last a lifetime, but that’s okay!
We then decided to use our 2″ (true 2″ that is) pine slabs milled the prior fall for the steps. We didn’t have a large amount of this so we figured stairs were a great use for it. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that it had turned to blue pine over the winter, so it gave the stairs that much more personality!
In the end, we are in love with our stairs as we are with the rest of the deck! We did the math and concluded that we built the entire deck for under $400 because we’ve been so resourceful (learn how we made our own lumber). This validated our idea that it’s possible to build a nice home for much cheaper than buying one.
One final thing we had to do to our deck to make it usable was secure some railing. We didn’t want to buy much for this either, so again, we turned to the materials already piled on our property.
Our eyes kept coming back to a pile of branches we had. The original plan was to turn this into firewood for the wood fired hot tub, we we figured that we could also use them for banisters. We thought through the idea, saw no reason not to do it, so we got to work pulling out branches that would do the job.
We did end up buying 2×2 lumber for the framework of the deck as we didn’t see that we had anything else super suitable, but we felt this was justified.
What do you think? As with everything else, we love our railing! Every time we look at it we’re reminded of how we built it in a resourceful way – with materials that we already had and had gathered ourselves from our property. It was also the waste leftover from milling the lumber we used to build the entire deck.
More Branches: Branch Tables
Once we had our deck completed, the railing on, the stairs attached, the hot tub done, and our chairs built, we needed tables so that we could have a place to set our delicious food!
By the time we arrived at the table project, our pile of usable lumber was looking pretty thing. We came up with all sort of table-like contraptions, but in the end, nothing looked good. I made the executive decision to attempt building tables out of branches, even though Jesse tried to steer me away from the idea. I’m the type of person that needs to learn things the hard way sometimes, firsthand, so off I went on my project.
In the end, we were able to successfully build tables out of branches and had just enough tongue and groove cedar leftover for the tops of the tables. The tables aren’t sturdy enough for someone to stand on, but that’s okay, because we don’t intend for anyone to stand on them! It’s also okay if they don’t last forever so for now, they’re working perfectly for our needs!
We’ve already enjoyed multiple dinners on our deck and let me tell you – these have been the best damn dinners we’ve had since we arrived on our property. I don’t know if it’s that the food is just THAT good, or if it’s because it’s our first somewhat relaxing summer in years, our property is pretty comfortable, we’re reducing our stress one day at a time, and we get to enjoy meals on a deck we built from materials mostly from our own land. If this is what it’s like to enjoy dinners on our deck, we can’t even imagine the pride that will come from building our own home.
Just for Fun: A General Store Birdhouse
I wasn’t quite done using up scrap wood, so I decided to build a birdhouse just for fun. I found these plans for a general store birdhouse and we to work. Even though this project was small, it did use up the remainder of the reddish lumber (the stuff that randomly appeared in our lumber pile one day) and I got to put it together with a brad nailer which is a new tool for me, even though it’s a pretty simple tool known by many!
We love this birdhouse. It’s also perfectly imperfect and it makes us happy when we look at it. What’s wrong with that?
Wrapping it up: Again, make do with what you have!
While we are never opposed to buying stuff new when necessary, we always ask ourselves the questions “can we do this project without running down to the store to buy materials or new tools for the homestead?” and oftentimes, the answer is yes.
There will be many projects on our homestead where using wood scraps wouldn’t be a wise idea, like when it’s critical that every component is uniform. However, we continue to find a balance between buying materials, milling materials ourselves, and using whatever we have already laying on the property!
Get involved – let us know your thoughts!
What do you think? Do you feel that you have a good balance of making do with what you have and buying things new? What is that balance for you? Always love to hear your thoughts!
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