The value of dumped wood

2017-05-23 13:30
Self-taught carpenter Schöne McIntosh has found a way of using discarded wood to build beautiful furniture.

Self-taught carpenter Schöne McIntosh has found a way of using discarded wood to build beautiful furniture. (Ian Carbutt)

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What started as a way to use wood lying around his garden to furnish his newly-purchased farmhouse, has turned into a career for self-taught carpenter Schöne McIntosh.

McIntosh (43) said after he and his wife bought their farmhouse 19 years ago, they realised how the trees in their yard were prone to lightning and they constantly needed to hire a tree cutter to help get rid of the wood lying around.

“The tree cutters came twice to cut trees in our home and then it hit me that all this wood is probably ending up in the dump.

“I started thinking about all the money we needed to spend on furniture, so I started my own little project to build our furniture using found and dumped wood.

“Nearly all the furniture in our home is furniture I built.

“Most people throw wood and old furniture away but it can be refashioned into new furniture and this will help decrease the levels of deforestation.

“We had no furniture, the trees kept falling down. I was sick of it all and that’s when I decided to leave my job in the corporate world and focus more on my newfound hobby of building furniture.

“I used one of our outside buildings and built my own workshop because I saw a need to make use of the precious wood that was destined to find its way to the dump sites.

“What I do is go out to look for this dumped wood, load it into my trailer and bring it into my workshop. I then cut it into planks and use it to make a unique piece of furniture.

“I use wood many people disregard and throw away. I also use discarded metal pieces for the legs of some furniture pieces.

“I am currently making benches out of a crate which was used to ship a machine a friend purchased in Germany.

“Why not re-purpose it, why not make something that someone can enjoy. Why burn and throw when there is so much it can be used for?

“I have never bought wood, I always go out and collect if from dumps and sometimes my customers bring old and unwanted wood furniture to me.

“Nothing I build is normal, all is custom made and unique because the material I use is stuff that is meant to be thrown away, like railway metal.

“I sometimes also randomly walk around furniture shops to get ideas about modern designs and my customers show me their designs and send me pictures of what they want. If they can dream it, I can definitely build it.

“I am against throwing away of old furniture and wood. Most wood like your timber and mahogany is very beautiful and can be expensive and people do not realise the value of it and it ends up in the rubbish bin.

“When trees fall in your property, get someone knowledgeable to look at it before you butcher it and throw it in the rubbish bin.

“Why throw it away if you can make something valuable out of it? I guess that is why I enjoy what I am doing at the moment.

“It has given me an opportunity to look after and refurbish old wood. I also employed three men to assist me in my workshop.

“I just have a love for furniture,” concluded McIntosh.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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