Tag Archives: recycling

Free box: growing vegies with salvaged materials

Newly planted seedlings in the salvaged vegie bed.

Living in a rented house, we’ve been slowly, subtly expanding the reach of our potted garden over the under-utilised spaces of the strata. Sophie recently spotted a broken produce crate in hard rubbish, and we thought it was time to set-up a herb and leafies bed in a sunny corner.

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Tools, tools, tools

I’ve been a bit of a sucker for old, hand-powered tools and utensils for a while. At every opportunity, I’ve snapped up rotary egg-beaters and mincers from secondhand shops, and my souvenirs from a trip to West Africa were a sickle and a machete, purchased from tool sellers in the Bamako markets.

Liberty Tools, profiled in the video above is a kind of paradise for those who are excited by mysterious, rusty objects, and in the last couple of weeks, I’ve come upon some other, local vendors for tools. If you’re in Adelaide, check out:

Bakker-Burke
49 Torrens Road, Bowden SA 5007
0417 885 571
Mon-Fri 10.00am-5.00pm
A very impressive collection of old farm and shed tools, as well as kitchen utensils. I was particularly delighted by the presence of scythes, sickles and a comprehensive cross-section of egg-beaters.

Cross Road Collectables
441 Cross Road, Edwardstown SA 5039
Mon-Sat 9.00am-5.00pm
Sun 11.00am-3.00pm
Woah. This place is astonishing, with an array of antiques, tools and kitchen utensils overflowing from the shopfront and spreading, tsunami-like, through the house, the backyard, the carport, the shed. If you like mincers as much as I do, then this place is for you, together with vintage beer bottles, old LPs, comics, saws, soldering irons, souvenir beer steins, you name it really.

Stop By Op Shop
Church of the Trinity, 318 Goodwood Road, Clarence Park SA 5034
Tues-Friday 9.30am-3.30pm
Stop By is conveniently located in a cluster of secondhand and antique shops on Goodwood Road, and while it has a modest collection of goodies, the volunteers are delightful and seem determined to extract as little cash as possible from customers. They’ve recently been receiving tools, and local tradies have already started getting in on the action, regularly checking in for $1.00 chisels and more. Also have great kitchenware and oodles of baby gear. The Salvos have a giant shop across the road too.

There are more, and I’ll share any other discoveries as I come upon them – feel free to share some of your own too!

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Upcycling Pallets: the urban timber source

I’m a long-time admirer of pallets and am regularly delighted by the possibilities they offer for reuse and transformation into other useful objects once their life as a pallet is ended. Likewise, I’m often surprised by the quality of the timber used. I’ve used a red cedar pallet to make a light-weight bike crate, and a couple of years ago used another pallets to bang out an extremely rustic stool. I’ve been pondering some other pallet-based carpentry projects, and have gathered together some inspiration below. It’s especially exciting to see some craftspeople using rough-hewn materials with such elegance. The examples of intelligent reuse are seemingly inexhaustible, so I’ll update this post whenever I have the time and energy!

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Upcycling pallets: how to make a bike crate

Sophie's Belleville, with finished crate affixed

Since Sophie purchased her snazzy new bike, a three-speed, step-through ladies’ Trek Belleville, replete with racks on the front and back, she’s been in need of a receptacle to make those racks all the more user-friendly.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to hone my fledgling carpentry skills as well as implement my passion for upcycling. Some time ago, I’d spied a pallet abandoned outside a shop at the end of our street. The soft, silvery wood looked to me like red cedar, so partner-in-craft Jeremy and I returned later to collect it. Lightweight and easy to work, a bike crate sounded like the perfect use for such fine timber!

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How to make a stool from salvaged wood

Inspired by Nina Tolstrup’s book One Block of Wood, and its 15 slick carpentry projects, Jeremy, Innis and I decided to have a bash at the Pallet Stool. Using salvaged wooden pallets, we adapted and belted out a couple of stools in a matter of hours. Due to our breakneck speed and willingness to use our body weight to get results the legs are a bit wonky, but overall they’re more or less stable and bring a robust, post-industrial/Depression-era charm to our living rooms. Apart from the adjust-as-you-go changes we made as a result of having timber of different dimensions to that recommended, the main adaptation we made was to raise the base cross to halfway up the legs, improving the stability and creating the option of a little shelf!

 

The finished products, given a rough sand and oiled with linseed. Photo by Jeremy

 

Click here for downloadable instructions on making the stool, from Nina Tolstrup’s design company Studiomama.

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How to make rubbish bags out of old newspapers

A friend recently directed me to the Canadian reggae number “Put it in the green bin“, promoting Ottawa’s organic waste scheme. One thing led to another, and I soon found myself watching YouTube tutorials on folding your own origami rubbish bags from newspaper, an idea whose time may just have come here in supposedly plastic-bag-free South Australia.

I’ve made a couple according to the pattern above (also downloadable as a pdf), and will be testing them thoroughly over the coming weeks. Perhaps the next step for origami nerds would be to think of some way of closing the bag once it’s full?

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How to host a worm party, (or: making a worm farm that doesn’t incinerate the little beasts every summer)

Last summer in Adelaide seemed, yet again, to reach new heights for backyard devastation. We kept our chickens in shape with plenty of shade, periodic hosings-down and ice-blocks in their water. For worm farms however, it seemed to be pure apocalypse, with the black plastic barrels transforming entire civilisations of megadriles into a foul-smelling puree as the temperature climbed above 45 degrees Celsius.

When we recently visited Nirvana Organic Farm, farmer Deb Cantrill demonstrated her snazzy, lo-fi worm farm: an inground bucket, filled with holes. I remember my pal Jeremy describing a similar contraption as a “worm party”. The bucket, buried to its rim, is filled with food scraps and soil, and wild earthworms are free to come and go through the holes as they please, digging into the treats and redistributing the wealth of their castings into the surrounding garden bed. Because the bucket is buried (and the top can be covered with a terracotta pot), when the temperature goes up, the worms can retreat to the cool beneath the surface.

Unsuspecting cheese buckets, about to be transformed

When Sophie was a cheesemonger, she managed to accumulate an enviable collection of buckets that formerly held olives and cheese. We decided to use some of these to make our own experimental worm farm, and install it in our community garden patch.

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