Posts Tagged repurpose

“I like to make things from old stuff, the crustier the better.”

Regular shopping at The RE Store, Laurel Hair’s life-long love of salvage began with her dad taking her and her sister to garage sales when she was a kid. She loves to browse salvage stores for treasures and making new things out of old things – a few of which she is sharing with us below (in Laurel’s words): 

Laurel Hair projects

1) Fireplace gate hanging — the gate with original hinges is from my fiancés’ parents’ old house. He grew up in the house in Kirkland, and I took some items before it was sold and torn down, not knowing what I was going to do with them. Once we moved into our new house, I saw on a TV show the idea of using a piece of gate as a wall hanging, and spiffed it up, mainly wire brushed it. My son had given me the rusty sign as a gift a while ago, which I thought was a good compliment.

2) Wall hangings for the bedroom (one shown here) — I had found the turquoise old gate pieces at a garage sale a couple of years earlier. I decided to hang them on our wall, cut one down to size so they matched, and left the old hinges on them. I found some old farm pictures that I framed with old looking frames at Michaels that happened to have a great turquoise rim, and attached those to the gate.

3) Map wall hanging – my fiancé likes maps. We had one of the San Juans, so I stained it to make it look old, pieced together some old cedar fence pieces, and then added some old hinges and a few other rusty items. The ring was a piece from my fiancé’s cabin in Cle Elum off an old post. The metal piece I bought at a salvage store, and the other pieces were found at a junk fair in Ellensburg. I then cut the map into pieces and decoupaged to the wood.

4)  Christmas trees – again, I saw a different version of this idea somewhere as a wall hanging, and for Christmas gifts I decided to make smaller ones on stands out of old molding we had, old wooden rulers I found at garage sales, and pieces of driftwood. I cut the stars out of a piece of galvanized metal HVAC piping that I had lying around.

5) Christmas balls – I saw this idea at an antique store, and made my own frame out of old cedar I had collected, then added some old screen, and the balls. I can put other things on it for other holidays.

Thanks to Laurel for sharing her projects! Have your own before & after projects you’d like to show off?  Send us your pics!  bray [at] re-store.org

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Partnership is a Win-Win for Local Manufacturer and The RE Store

The RE Store has had some great partners in our 20 years of business, helping us divert materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. These partnerships have allowed consistent material supply flows, benefiting both customers and our Revision Division – and in turn saving the partnering company the cost of disposing those materials. 2014 brought us an amazing new partner in Itek Energy. Bellingham-based Itek Energy is Washington state’s largest manufacturer of solar panels and inverters. Rapidly helping grow Washington’s solar usage while providing jobs for graduates of Bellingham Technical College’s electronics program, they have gone from just six employees when they began in 2009, to over 35 in just a few short years. In that time their solar panel production has grown from 25 panels per day to over 300.

Itek Energy is very selective with the tempered glass they use to cover their solar panels. The glass needs to live up to their 30-year warranty, so after slow examination under intense light, any panels with minor chips or imperfections are discarded. Instead of disposing of them into a dumpster, since April 2014, Itek Energy has been donating the glass to The RE Store at a rate of 90 to 200 sheets per month. That saves them disposal fees and labor, while giving The RE Store up to $3600 in resale value per month.

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Greenhouse prototype, created by Matt Vaughn, designer/builder, Revision Division

 

 

Having this unique and consistent manufacturing by-product has allowed us to explore new designs and get creative in our Revision Division. With the help of some seed money granted to us by Washington Educational Credit Union, we’ve designed and developed a greenhouse prototype. You may have seen the greenhouse out in the parking lot, in fact. While this greenhouse was built to sell,it is also meant inspire others to think about how to use this unique manufacturing by-product we have readily available in the store.

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This greenhouse was built with 18 panels of the Itek Energy solar panel glass by a regular customer of The RE Store.

Itek Energy and other partners allow the Revision Division to perform the core mission of the program: Divert, Inspire, Educate, and Partner with the community. We can’t wait to identify more commercial partners with whom we can re-define waste.

Do you have a readily available manufacturing by-product?  Contact Kurt Gisclair (kurtg [at] re-store.org) about a partnership to reduce your cost and waste while getting tax benefits for your business.

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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Volunteers Re-purpose in the RE Patch

Beth Linkinholder is our volunteer RE Patch Coordinator this year, (for those not in the know, the RE Patch is our working garden out behind the warehouse of our Bellingham store). Beth has been a wonderful addition to our RE-team – at first glance of our RE Patch  she noticed that our two monstrous compost piles needed to be processed and rebuilt. She took it on herself to recruit Five Whatcom Community College environmental science students that needed community service for their class requirements and two of her personal friends to come and take on this project.  They re-purposed wooden pallets to create the new-to-us compost bin (in photos below).  We wish we had some ‘before’ photos to show just how much this was needed – but suffice it to say, we are excited for the new order in the RE Patch. Beth will be planning other RE Patch gardening work parties throughout the summer – contact our volunteer coordinator, Ben Lewis, if you are interested in joining in on the FUN!

RE Patch compost bin RE Do

Thanks so much to the compost bin volunteer team: Jeff Hill, Jewell Hamilton, Rosa Posas, Sarah Bock, Micah Evangelista, and John & Stacy Crampton

Posted in: Stories about people

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Gary Richardson, Retired Woodshop Teacher – Natural Re-purposer

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Gary Richardson, a twice-retired woodshop teacher, rebuilt an old fire hall using almost all recycled materials. In fact, he says, “You can start with the building itself! It was abandoned, and we repurposed it to begin with.”

Gary’s enthusiasm for his hobby is so engaging that I drove one afternoon from Seattle to a charming little wayside dominated by a classic white church east of Bellingham to see his fire hall in person. The front of the old fire hall, on Mount Baker Highway, houses a Subway sandwich shop, and the back of the hall houses a recycler’s dream woodshop.

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Gary’s thoughtful use of recycled materials is truly astonishing. If he hadn’t told me that some of the materials in his shop were pre-used, I never would have guessed it. Some people have a gift for using recycled or repurposed materials in a way that allows their original form to shine through; others have a gift for seeing something brand new in the old. Gary has done both. There are several woodworking tool displays in Gary’s shop that look custom made—and, of course, they are: custom made by Gary himself, out of repurposed materials. The flooring was taken from GarfieldHigh School in Seattle, and some of the cabinets are from the University of Washington. Those, among myriad other items in the shop, all came to Gary by way of The RE Store, while most of the woodworking equipment was purchased at public auctions and rebuilt for a new life in his shop.

“My intended purpose for the shop is to help young people start new businesses,” says Gary. Recently, he finished some cabinetry and a new coffee bar for the Wake-n-Bakery in Glacier, Washington. “The project was built from materials found at The RE Store in Bellingham. The cost to the owners was only for the hinges and drawer slides, which were purchased new!”

He’s always looking for ways to repurpose. “Shop teachers are naturally re-purposers,” he told me with more than a little pride. “And we teach that to our students.”

He has a long history in the Bellingham area. “As a child growing up poor in the Happy Valley neighborhood of South Bellingham, to re-purpose and re-use other people’s ‘throw-aways’ was a way of life,” he says. “My favorite class was woodshop, taught by Mr. Calhoun at Fairhaven Junior High. He taught me to use woodworking tools and build small projects. I guess I never stopped building!”

Gary and his shop

Gary and his wife, Janet, just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. With the help of friends, they built their first home in Bellevue in the 1970s, and they still reside in the same home today. A testament to his lifelong pursuit, it too, was built with many re-purposed materials.  Gary agreed to do this article with the hopes of inspiring others to be creative and use other peoples ‘throw-aways’ in new ways.  In other words, he is still a teacher!

If Gary has inspired you to make something of your own – check out our DIY tips on our REvision Division page of our website!

Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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