the timeber reclaimers
Why we’re doing what we’re doing
Our passion for recycling timber into something new started with a comment from an Owyak Bins dump truck driver who was carting big 9m3 bins from a property we were renovating in Ngaio to the dump in Porirua, and I remember it as clear as if it was yesterday. He joked and said… “Mate, at this rate we’ll end up moving all of Ngaio to Porirua!”
By that stage I think we were on bin number 16 as we pulled apart a “Grand Old lady” of a home that had been built in the early 1900s. Tons and tons and tons or rimu weatherboards, wall framing, sarking, roof timbers, skirting and architraves were being dumped to make way for a new, modern finish.
That’s when we decided that dumping stuff, whilst very convenient, was bringing the life of that timber to an end. It would be buried and rot away. And we didn’t like that concept. So we’ve decided to find timber (mainly NZ native Rimu) and give it new life… hence our byline of “The Timber Reclaimers - Reclaimed, Recycled, Repurposed”
Where the timbers come from
Now, not only do we reclaim items from our own building projects to a much greater extent, but we also look for other timbers that can be repurposed from other sources around New Zealand.
Sometimes it’s your normal building materials we choose to use, sometimes it a rack of old painted or stained shelving from a hallway or kitchen, sometimes it’s an old table or tv cabinet about to be cut up and burned. Instead, we take it, view it from a new point of view… and it becomes another piece of the world that gets to continue in another form… a set of coasters, an impressive hot mat, some chopping boards, or a piece of art called “LIFE.”
We can pretty much track where every piece of finished product originally came from, so we’re working hard on finding a way to provide that information with our products. We’re not quite there yet, but we expect to be able to do this soon!
How we transform the base timber items
How do we transform the timber from a potential landfill item doomed to rot away and disappear into a repurposed and finished product?
Let’s be honest, chucking the timber from a building site into the bin is sooooooooooo much easier. But we tell our building team that “Any piece of timber, NZ native or not, that is longer than your elbow to hand is to be put to one side. If it’s got nails in it, take them out. Make it re-usable.”
So, we start with pieces of reclaimed framing, roofing, window and structural timber, or shelves or benchtops or flooring or discarded or unusable furniture… just so long as it’s made from solid, honest, real timber. We de-nail it if needed, remove screws and brackets and hinges, cut it to length, split larger pieces down the middle to get more usable material, plane it and sand it, so we end up with pieces of beautiful recycled timber that we can re-use.
Then we start working on it, transforming it. We cut out the shapes, the holes, the angles, the circles, the words, then we shave it and file it and sand it to the desired level of finish. And the end result is a new product with a new life.
Our product names, their origins and their meanings
Most of our products come with a story about their name and their design, why we chose the specific designs and the name, the inspiration, the meaning.
They come from our life experiences, our family, our friends, our ups and downs, so they all very much contain a small part of us. And they are our gift to you for your family, your friends, the important people in your life.
- Howard and Ann