Scaffolding planks

Scaffolding planks are one of the most versatile upcycling resources, and you can make many cool things out of them. You can of course buy them new, but that isn’t much of an upcycle.  I buy my used planks from the wonderful charity— Oxford Wood Recycling.  I typically buy full length (390cm x 22.5cm) and pay £4 per metre.  Strategically, buying in bulk is important when you are building furniture.  As they are recycled, they can arrive warped, damaged, or oddly not as wide as normal.  This can stuff up your grandest plans and has happened many times to me!

When upcycling and working with bits and bobs that have been used in industry you should carefully consider how it was used in its previous life. Scaffolding planks may have had splashes of chemicals land on them. If you are sanding, make sure to wear a mask.

Remember, they are heavy when combined.  A large wood store I made took four people to lift the roof onto.  While a parquet dresser had to be split in two for me to lift, even then, half was much heavier than I imagined.  Both the dresser and wood store provided a valuable lesson; scaffolding planks alter in size depending on moisture content.  The gaps in my wood store let in water, while my patio tables at certain times of the year have gaping holes.  Worth bearing in mind in your plans how you connect them— you need to allow for expansion and shrinkage.

I mostly attach the planks together using dowels like below.  Drill holes and use a dowel centre point to match the hole on the other side.  These are clever little things.  They come in several sizes.  You probably need many of the same size if you need multiple connectors.  For scaffolding planks, the more the better.  I also tend to misplace them in the flurry of building.  I use wood glue in the hole to set. 

My go to wax for interior furniture is Fiddes and Son, clear or dark.  Quality wax that needs layers to seal and make wipe proof. It isn’t worth skimping when you have gone to all the time and effort of building a cool upcycled product. 

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