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what to do with wood slats

 
                        
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I have been given a large quantity of wooden slats which otherwise would go to the dump. The manufcturer gives them away (and there will be lots more in the future) to use as firewood, but although the most damaged ones make superb kindling they are not the best for burning as they burn in a flash AND it seems like a waste.They range from 1/8-1/2 inch think, most being 1/4 in thick by 1 1/2 inches wide to 4 feet long.  Some of them are somewhat damaged on one end, but many are just fine.

In the future I was thinking to use them to cover the gyprock in the house with a chairwall in at least a couple of rooms so have been presorting them somewhat; but until that is ready to go (likely to be a while) I was wondering what else I could do with them. I am not a carpenter..my construction is rock solid but tends to look slightly off kilter so nothing too complex would work.  The wood is lovely and light to work with but possibly too flimsy to make birdhouses?. I'm not sure what sort of wood it is, maybe mostly spruce.. It tends to spit and crackle  a little when it burns but it throws lots of heat in the brief time it takes to burn. It's definitely not cedar.

Anyone have any suggestions?
 
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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storage boxes made of wood slats with plywood ends like grape crates are real popular round here maybey you could make some for sale
 
                                
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If you have a lot of them, you could try to glue some together standing on edge to make a heavier board, like for a shelf.
You could try running them thru a chipper to make garden mulch.
Build a yurt?
 
                        
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Brice: Thanks!  This is something that might well work..could you give me any idea of what sort of sizes or what sorts of things people use them for storing?

Rockguy: thanks but they are far too flimsy to use for anything which would stress them much. I also got a bunch of 1x4s and 2x4s (all also 4 ft tall) about a third of which is perfectly usable (the other 2/3s go into keeping my house warm. )  I am using the good ones to build an 8ft deep by 12 ft wide by 8ft  high greenhouse with pallets and some recycled triple paned windows. I am scabbing the 2x4s together (alternating joints of course)  to make support posts and to tie the pallets together..it's a learning curve.  Next is a small barn and then a small house...

None of this stuff has ever even been USED, it's all offcuts and otherwise headed for the dump. (Well the pallets have been used once). It's a crime that so much of our forests are held in so little regard that they're  wasted like this.
 
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If I had a bunch of slats like you describe, I would get some good glue and try to make this:



Even if the finished product wasn't nearly as high as the one pictured, if you surrounded them with a 2X4 frame, they could be stacked as many panels high as you like. That would give you a lot of fencing options. Fencing is on my mind now since I've recently learned it is going to be an expense I must deal with in the near future. Hmmm, I might have to think about this some more. Home made lattice fence made from slats ripped out of 2X lumber? It might work.
 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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If they're a little beaten up, you can use them as lath, and trowel masonry (plaster, cob, etc.) onto them to form a wall.
 
                        
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most of them are perfect except sometimes a bit frayed on the tip of one end.

For fencing..I have such plans for next spring!  All the stores get plants in big wooden shelving units and the sides and backs of the units are reinforced with a flat framed panel. The sides are usually three horizontal strips with  a single diagonal strip across the frame and the backs are a V with a midrib just like an trellis. I got a half dozen or so this spring but they are only available as stuff is sold out of them, I got distracted and when I went back to get the rest they were already in the dumpsters.

They're about 4 feet wide ..maybe 5- 6 feet tall? never measured them..and wouldn't keep dogs out (or in) but  decorative laths could be easilly used to modify them. With a couple of posts 8 or 12 feet apart spanned by  2x4s they could be hung on the  rails and would be excellent for scarlet runner beans and sweet peas or whatever to climb on. They will last a long time if not touching the earth..even longer if stained or painted ..and will look as though I actually spent some money
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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Pam wrote:
Brice: Thanks!  This is something that might well work..could you give me any idea of what sort of sizes or what sorts of things people use them for storing?




I start with some cd holder sized ones and some about the right size for file folders and take em to the farmers market with a sign advertising custom sizing available.
 
                        
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Thanks Brice!  That gives me some ideas to start with..I am already sizing up some slats with an eye to a new career for them .

Will: another thought for fencing..if you are anywhere near a city which has a company working with cnc machines you might want to check out their scrap pile. I am unfortunately too far away now to make use of them but where I used to be a company stamped out patterns like a cookie cutter machine from 4x8 sheets of plywood, leaving some broken  but lots and lots with what appears  as a sort of modern art design framed by plywood. I was going to use them to shelter a temporary garden area which tends to be trampled by moose and other large creatures. The thought was to lift them off the ground with small bricks or rock and link them with leather straps..they would sit like the old fashioned snake fences in a zigzag pattern and thus look fairly substantial but still be easy to move when necessary. 

Likely different manufactureres would leave different patterns depending on what they are cutting, but it might well be worth checking out. Some of these panels even have uncut plywood that is large enough to be usable for other projects.

The only thing is that being plywood, the waste is not suitable for burning so being selective when picking them up is likely a very good idea. Like anything considered waste from a manufacturing process, they are  not handled very carefully and some will be broken They would definitely be a unique fence! If a full barrier was required I imagine it would be easy to back them with some sort of netting..possibly sandwiched between two panels.

One person made a fence out of pallets, then covered them with building paper and chicken wire then covered that with adobe to match his house.

Anyway, some options to consider..fencing can be VERY expensive and it always strikes me as odd that people sometimes pay masses of money  for fencing when the same result can be gained from finding and recycling pallets, at least for the uprights.(pickets?)  (admittedly more time & work though)
 
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Location: Norman, OK
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Courtesy of J.M. Greer:
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/09/animals-i-birds-bats-and-bumblebees.html

"There are many species of bumblebees; all of them dwell in small underground hives which they build in abandoned burrows, and they have queens who live for several years and workers who live only one. The limiting factor in their case is not homes, but homes safe from predators such as field mice, who like to dig down into hives and eat the larvae.

The way to make Liebig’s law work in bumblebees’ favor is to take a small wooden box full of cotton wool, and with a short piece of old garden hose extending from a hole in the side maybe six inches. Bury the box in the ground in a secure, fairly dry place, so that the end of the hose just pokes out of the ground. Once a newly hatched queen finds it – which rarely takes more than a single spring – you’ll have a bumblebee hive full of pollinators who will do their duty for your garden and the wild plants around it as well."
 
gardener
Posts: 1522
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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Steam bending and lamination the possibilities are endless.
 
                        
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Steam bending and lamination? there speaks a real carpenter, which I certainly am not.  The trick is to find something very simple  to do..the storage units and now the bee boxes seem doable even with my skills.  I can't quite figure out the bat boxes, have read the description but need diagrams.

Thank you all for your suggestions..projects for the long dark days ahead!
 
Robert Ray
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Steam bending is simple realy plenty of You Tube help.
Just bending a simple handle for a slat box turning it into a garden trug perhaps?
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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could you notch the ends like a log cabin sort of thimg and build potato boxes?  as the plant grows up you can just add more slats and soil to increase your yield.
 
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A guy down our market just makes open ended boxes big enough to fit a wine bottle in. At Christmas lots of people give a bottle of something as a gift and not everyone likes the paper bags that you can buy. He is no carpenter for sure, just nails them together and gives them a coat of stain, they look 'rustic' to put it politely. No lid, no fancy dovetail joints, no sanding, no lacquer, just a trough, you supply your own bottle!

He won't get rich but he always runs out of stock by the end of the market.

 
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