Author Archives: Carole LeClair

The many faces of wood scrap

fire-for-blogThe best thing about scrap wood is that it comes in SO many varieties. There’s always the natural scrap wood that is everywhere and considered unsightly to most people. Here is what I picked up in less than 10 minutes and it provided me a warm fire on a cold January evening.

There is the endless array of small pieces of construction waste, an omnipresent thing in this rapidly expanding town. Lumber can be connected in a simple but structural way through a scarf joint (see illustration below), which creates a dimensional and solid structural member for projects.

scarfjointstechshop-scraps-for-blogScarfing, a word I associate with scrapping, ties elements together with the most effective joinery. This is always a good skill when dealing with any kind of leftover materials.

This selection of scrap wood (left) are the remnants from the laser cutters at the new Tech Shop in Round Rock. The potential of these little goodies makes my heart spin!

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These super cool chairs come from Austin’s Petrified Design. They reuse the wood from local wine barrels and the cask curve creates that sexy seat and back. My favorite part though, is the fact that the color comes from the wine stained oak. Now that’s a natural solution!

You can find the chairs at Mockingbird Domestics, a fairly new shop located at 2515 South Lamar. It has a delightful mix of vintage and modern and the whole store reads like a healthy recipe file of natural, honest, and repurposed materials.

The airy nest pictured below graces the front yard of a house on Bluebonnet. The thinnest non-sensical wood scraps become an imaginary floating cocoon for all species to enjoy.

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How do you reuse wood scraps in your projects?

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Wood Scraps in Reuse

Construction jobs, wood shops and civic projects all leave a myriad of dropped wood scraps. The usual rule of thumb is to scrap anything less than two feet in length.

Concrete slabs are poured in wooden form boxes which are removed, considered soiled, and rarely used again. Almost every project demands specific measurements, which creates tons of measured waste. These scraps of wood are often landfilled if they end up in the “wrong” dumpster. Frankly, I feel sorry for these leftovers, as their potential is endless.

The cost of new material has risen dramatically in the past 10 years. “Drop” is usually figured into the cost of the project, the client pays for it, but no one considers it’s imaginable uses.

This fence (left photo) on South 1st Street in Austin harmonizes the disparate elements through color and creates a flat woodpile acting as a privacy fence.

Another privacy fence near the same location brilliantly uses old doors and windows as a fencerow almost like a potential access to another time and place. It’s odd juxtaposition of inside/outside functions nicely as a barricade, but the familiar materials makes the viewer feel welcome.

June 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

June 6, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci
Visitors Present: Kami, Harley’s Mum
Meeting Minutes Recorded by: Angela

Meetings
We will begin having formal agendas
Start doing committee reports to submit before Board of Directors Meetings; Each committee to share their monthly notes via Google Docs

Upcoming Meeting Dates
June 19: Volunteer Meet-up (Angela to confirm Twin Oaks Library; Harley to provide tea or snacks?)
July 10: Board of Directors Meeting
July 26: Volunteer Meet-up at Recycled Reads (Angela to confirm location)

Finances
Need to file 990 report in August
Board of Directors Insurance – Harley printed apps from Greenlights and made phone call

Board Retreat
Possible dates for 2 day board retreat tentatively scheduled for August 19th and 20th.

New Board of Director Members
Kami voted yes 4/0 to join board

Digital Committee Update (Kaci)
Writing blog posts for items ACR does not accept and how they can be responsibly discarded
New website is live

Homework For Next Board Meeting
Review Whistleblower Policy and Records Retention Policy for approval at July meeting
Angela to bring all signed Conflict of Interest docs to July BoD meeting and scan to Google Docs

Bringing a Creative Reuse Center in Austin

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I have always wanted to make things.  I love learning and making things.  I love watching a project change and morph as it progresses.  I love having things around me that have been made by people I know, and knowing the object’s history.  In my work life, I manage an afterschool program for a nonprofit here in Austin.

I feel pretty selfish when I think about why I want a reuse center in Austin.  I want Austin Creative Reuse to be rocking so I can go there.  I want one so I can go find amazing fabrics for the quilt I’m making for my niece.  I want to take the elementary students I work with and watch them get excited and laugh making a creation they will take home and play with.  I want students to have opportunities for hands on learning, tinkering. I want them to learn without worksheets anywhere close and to feel excited about discovering a new idea.  I want to come use a router when I need one once every few years and not need to buy one or forgo a project I want to make.  I want to know and meet my neighbors, my ‘neighborhoods’ in the big sense.  I want us to find ways to take care of central Texas.  When I’m working on a project, I want a place to go where I will happen to start a conversation with a stranger who will have an amazing idea to help my project on it’s way. Reuse Centers need to exist in the world I want to live in.

The people I have gotten to closely work with on Austin Creative Reuse and ones I have met briefly during this time have been a wonderful side effect.  Austin has such a huge pool of industrious creative folks.   I look forward to others joining us and working to help this happen.

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May 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

May 8, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci
Meeting Minutes Recorded by: Angela

Upcoming Meeting Dates
June 6: Board of Directors Meeting (instead of June 12)
June 19: Volunteer Meet up (Angela to confirm that Twin Oaks Library is available)

Digital Committee
Kaci suggested signing up for Terracycle as a way to reduce waste with a focus on brigades/items that will be reused by Terracycle and NOT recycled
Rebecca and Kaci to get together to post items for sale on Etsy.com
Amazon is now donation tool on website
New calendar for easier use

Greenlights Board Summit Update (Harley)
Informational Conference Call from on May 15th 3-3:30
Angela and Rebecca to attend event from 6-9pm

Austin Mini Maker Faire
Suggested donations for CDs is $1

Communications
Angela to send email about May 22nd volunteer meet-up
Blog posts needed: What do you reuse at your house?

April 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

April 10, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci
Meeting Minutes Recorded by: Angela

Upcoming Meeting Dates
April 17: Volunteer Meet-up at Twin Oaks Library
April 21: ZeroLandfill (Harley to confirm volunteer needs)
April 28: ZeroLandfill (Harley to confirm volunteer needs)
May 3: Working Session
May 5: Violet Crown Festival
May 8: Next Board Meeting
May 12: Austin Mini Maker’s Faire

Finances
Expense/Donations Tracking Worksheet now on Google Docs
Open question: what can we keep with us to show we are tax-exempt for state sales tax?

Communications
General Email to go out April 10
Volunteer email to go out each week starting April 16
Send blog posts to Kaci for publishing
Put photos of ZeroLandfill on Pinterest

Misc
Angela to file PO Box paper work by April 11
Harley met with Jenny Larson @ Salvage Vanguard (they have a reuse center)
Rebecca and Kaci to propose ACR for Whole Foods Market volunteer day in June (videos created, pictures made for kits, marketing materials created)

Homework
Prepare for Working Session (4/26) by reviewing core values

New Board Members
After Mini Maker Faire, we will be extending an invitation to Kami to join the Board

East Austin Studio Tour

One of the many highlights of the 2011 East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) for me was getting a morning coffee at Café Mundi and hearing a woman behind me describing a reuse center.  She had lived in the bay area and was doing her fair share of spreading the word about reuse centers.

We snagged a spot next to Iona Handcrafted Books on Tillery. We brought out materials left over from the IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Zero LandFill event, from the SXSW Eco Conference and from donation drives at Whole Foods Market and Rebecca’s home. In the mix were vinyl banners, metal tins, carpet squares, tiles, fabrics, trinkets, cardboard, and on and on.  We were delighted to disperse the materials out to the public for free. (Once the center is open we will charge bulk rates by the bag for materials.)

To help bridge the communication idea of what a reuse center is, we brought a sign with reuse project ideas. Represented were some of the more common materials we all run across with a need to repurpose and we had so many excited conversations with folks around that sign.

Mary Cantu, founder of Spare Parts, the reuse project in San Antonio, came up to pitch in and say hello as well. She taught us how to make jump ropes from old markers, make paint out of dry makers, and t-shirt yarn!  Thanks Mary!!

Our time at E.A.S.T. was all the more fun with the volunteers who came out to help in sorting materials, explaining what we were up to, and stamping business cards!  The event was a much needed break from having our heads in behind-the-scenes paperwork. We’re looking forward to getting to know our new reuse friends better!

Thank you everyone who stopped by, intentionally planning, or letting yourself be swept up in the moment. We greatly appreciated the enthusiasm and interest in support that we found.

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2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Mon-Wed: CLOSED
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041