I’d consider myself sort of middle-of-the-road when it comes to construction. I’m somewhat handy, but really can’t handle anything with angles or special cuts. If it involves any math outside of using a standard tape measure, then count me out. Not going to happen. But all that noted, I do like to get creative and build things that I need, rather than always buy them. I’m a big advocate of trying to reuse material instead of buying new off the shelf at the local big box store. Portland, Oregon is a hot spot for house deconstruction and salvage. We have places like The Rebuilding Center that just make me giddy whenever I enter those two big wooden doors. In a nutshell, their staff will head to local buildings and tear them down – very carefully – salvaging all possible material for reuse. Then I get to waltz into their wood warehouse and choose from about anything you can possibly imagine. Ship-lap, massive structure-bearing beams, vintage glass pane windows, or orignal oak flooring from a 1800’s Victorian house. You get the picture. There are two notable benefits to the consumer: 1) You have access to material that has such history, quality, and personality; and 2) the price is pennies on the dollar compared to what you’d pay at a lumber retailer.
So, for a total of $16.88, I walked out with all the wood required to build two fire pit benches (5′ long x 18″ deep x 18″ tall). And I guarantee you, no one in the world has a matching set! These were built with ship-lap and reclaimed wood from a 1928 house on Fremont Street in Portland. You’ll find photos and a materials list below. I chose not to paint mine, simply because I really liked the lived-on and weathered look. But you can do whatever you like – paint, stain, or whitewash! These are very stable, comfortable, and will bring a little character to your deck or fire-pit… or garden… or front porch… or wherever you choose to put them! Have fun building!