My husband, Bud, has made beautiful furniture in his garage workshop, but now he no longer does woodworking. Rather than sell his tools and machinery, we’re giving them to our children and grandchildren, and they are using them.
Instead of tools, our daughter Sharon had her eye on something different. “I want Daddy’s workbench,” she said.
I thought she planned to move the workbench into her basement. I was mistaken—she wanted that old wooden bench in the living room. She took it home, cleaned and sanded, and applied a finish of TimberLuxe™ to protect and bring out the beauty of the wood. Now the bench is a focal point in her log home, complete with her daddy’s wood vice still clamped to one end. What do you have waiting to be repurposed? An old eight-foot workbench won’t fit everyone’s décor, but does a door (or the doorknob), window, or even part of a wall panel carry special memories for you? Could it become a coffee table, a wall hanging, or . . . ? You supply the answer and turn your repurposed piece into something that’s uniquely yours. I have interviewed people who made lamps from automotive parts—wouldn’t that be a way to remember a special car in your life? Instead of trashing those worn-out car parts, turn them into something useful.
Do you have a drawer full of old spoons that no longer look attractive on the table? They might be made into lamps or other decorative pieces. I haven’t tried making a lamp yet, but I have the silverware.
It’s nothing special—just a few old knives, forks, and spoons that my husband brought into our marriage sixty years ago. I knew the silverware came from Colorado Springs, but I had to call on his siblings to retrieve the memory of where the family got these mismatched pieces. Bud’s brother Oren remembered going with their grandpa to the Broadmore Hotel to cut sweet clover for Grandpa’s goats. The hotel discarded things they no longer wanted, and sometimes the employees shared the cast-offs with Grandpa. Now, nearly three-quarters of a century later, those pieces are still in our kitchen.
People who are handy with a welder can make all kinds of things. When a woman in our area wanted an outdoor Christmas display, her son made one from salvaged combine parts. A man I interviewed for one of my articles used discarded automobile parts to build replicas of dinosaurs for his yard. Another man showed me the chair he made to go with the desk in his workshop. He had mounted a satellite dish on a frame and attached a John Deere seat.
We can find a new purpose for many things that have outlasted their original use. For our family, going into our daughter Sharon’s home and seeing Bud’s workbench makes us happy. If she hadn’t taken it, the workbench would likely have ended up being sold at auction one day. That would have been a shame—repurposing was the way to preserve the memories.