I'm trying my best to watch vids and research how others find reclaimed wood (well ,technically i want to reclaim it myself rather than buy it from a company who reclaims), but wow there are considerable layers of learning and challenges too, and as much as I like those (learning and stuff), I also want to get started on my back porch and really really don't want to buy wood if I can reuse some... so thought I'd post this in case someone is interested in helping me learn from their experiences.
First stabs at this I've hit walls like....I live in such a rural area it's between craigslist regions, and even the 'search all craigslist' type sites are tedious to use so far. for all I know maybe there are better sites for this kind of search now... I've skimmed the surface of some freecycle sites, but so far same issues... no way to search or communicate with people who are actually nearby.
I have a couple leads about leads as far as neighbors who know more people and do construction so maybe putting out feelers that way will have results.
Maybe there's just no better way than to take more time and effort to network locally, but if you have some additional tips, I'm all ears!
Call excavating companies and demolition companies. These are people who are likely to be disposing of houses using machinery. Ask them if you can go in ahead of time.
This will be barely worth it for framing materials but there's generally other good things that can be grabbed. I have 3 salvage houses coming up that I have to check out on Tuesday, and I'm very excited about it since I haven't had any of those in more than 6 months. I would guess that on average I come out with better than $500 per day, when I'm doing a smash-and-grab. That's where I have free reign on a house, to take anything I like and continue until I reach diminishing returns.
If you get permission to go into a house that's being demolished, wear a good quality mask and protect yourself in other ways. Don't make a big mess outside. Start at the highest value items and work your way down, and eventually you may get to salvaging the lumber you are looking for. Go for the copper, which can be $3 a pound, then any antique looking fixtures, good quality tongue and groove materials, interior doors, furnaces Etc. If you plan to salvage exterior windows and doors, be sure to cover the opening with something.
Sites like Craigslist can work, but you probably want to structure your ad to where you are offering a service. So you'd want to offer complete demolition of whatever it is, and charge for that. It doesn't matter that you don't know how much to charge. Bring in someone with an excavator. Get them to give a price, with the agreement that you get a couple hundred on the side, for bringing them the lead and you get a few days to go over the place before they crunch it.
I've been doing this sort of stuff for 25 years. I started in pretty much the way I'm describing and it hasn't changed much. After you have an arrangement made with an owner, don't delay. They might also tell their friends that they can take anything they want, and you get to the job only to find that the best stuff has been grabbed. Make the deal and show up with your tools that day, to grab all of the most easily removed items. Be sure to secure each building whenever you leave.
I tend to not leave, as documented in my thread about living at work. I stay and guard my stuff, like a rabid Pitbull. I also sell the majority of product from the location where it is produced. Whenever I need to build something , I have my own lumber yard. But I never haul shit around if it's to be sold. I try to sell it right where it sits.
posted 3 months ago
Hiya Dale, thanks for your reply! Lots of great pointers. I had been thinking "well how do i convince someone it's worth while to let me just come and take a little of this or that from an old building? and what if I can't or don't want to demolish a huge structure" but then I went back to the first problem of even knowing how to even connect with such folks... and you answered it for me. Awesome! This is exciting... (hmmmmmmmm *trying on the prospect of going in on demolition projects with a partner* and how much faster I would be able to get some materials)
For starters tomorrow I'll get to making calls to demo and excavating companies as you suggest :D
Thanks for thinking ahead for me /sharing your experience!
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
posted 3 months ago
I wouldn't suggest any sort of partnership. Nobody with a lick of sense is going to do that with someone without experience. Let them contract the job and take care of insurance and everything else, with the agreement that you get to salvage stuff.
posted 3 months ago
oh, I see , makes perfect sense. Thanks for the further clarification!
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