Green Living Show update. Recycling is a lot of work.

22 Mar

The updated urban agriculture fence is pictured above below. We’ve decided to build the whole thing out of wood reclaimed from skids, or pallets. You can find them behind Home Depot, at Home Hardware, and art stores. Basically any place that gets large product deliveries will have piles of these things. And since it’s a hassle for the store/warehouse to dispose of them, they’ve been more than happy to let us haul them away. I’ve been working with Peter from J&B Landscaping to collect and disassemble the skids, and so far we’ve spent about 13 hours over two days to harvest about 600 boards. Considering our calculated need of about 2000 boards, it will take us approximately 3 more full working days just to break down enough skids for the fence. (keep in mind that we’ll need about 8 of these panels to make the fence.)

Why are we using skids?

I’ve been curious about using skids as building material for a while. Indeed, I’ve been experimenting with scrap for a while as well. You can find all sorts of projects that use skid board as material, but I was personally inspired by Faye Mullen’s Skid Collector project (http://theskidcollector.blogspot.com/), which I got to see at XPACE last year. The skid collector is a story of obsession, love and redemption, in which the principle characters are Faye(or you) and those forlorn, abandoned skids. With love, a sharp plane, bees wax (or danish oil, whichever you prefer), and some buffin’, those lowly mules of our supply chain industry were restored, nay raised to a nobility that they previously did not possess. In short, they clean up well.

However, I realized my folly on the first day, when, after 7 hours of hard labour, we had about 340 boards. It’s one thing to disassemble and restore 5 pallets. It’s quite another thing to dismantle, de-nail, trim the edges, cut to length, and plane 2000 pieces of board. I’m estimating that it will take well over 102 man hours just to harvest enough wood. I will post pictures of the refinished wood, as well as the work-in-progress fence.


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