Recently a couple approached me with a commission request. They wanted a coffee table with hairpin legs, built for the limited dimensions of their Manhattan apartment. And though it wasn't mandatory, they really, really wanted something made with reclaimed wood.
I almost never use reclaimed wood. It's not that I don't care about the environment, but recycling wood is a lot more work than recycling bottles and cans. It involves pulling out ancient nails and screws, removing toxic old finishes, getting mystery rashes from dusty old beams. But no matter how much extra work was involved, I didn't want my mold allergies/laziness to keep my clients from their ideal design, so I set out looking for some ideal reclaimed hardwoods.
As luck would have it, my workshop is only a few blocks away from Build It Green!, a superstore for reclaimed building supplies. Nestled amongst the 1970s appliances and lopsided chandeliers were beautiful slabs of hard maple strips, taken from a demolished bowling alley. These, I could work with.
It turned out to be a bit more work than I expected; it turns out bowling alley floors are composed of about 40% nails. But the finished product was well worth the effort. Check out the gallery below to see how the project came together!