How To Get Wood For Free (Or Cheap!)

In this video I talk about why I use salvaged materials, and show you where I get them from.

I also take a walk around my local area to show places where I’ve found things in the past, for example:  alleyways in my neighbourhood, communal bin areas, skips, etc.

And I show you what my local reclamation yard has to offer, such as new and old pieces of dimensional wood – both soft woods and hard woods, pressure treated wood, sheets such as plywood, OSB and chipboard flooring.  They even have their own selection of items made from reclaimed materials like furniture and house accessories.

Why use salvaged wood / materials

·         It’s the right thing to do for ethical reasons – re-cycling means less waste

·         They’re either free or inexpensive – my local reclamation yard tends to be around 30% cheaper than big DIY stores, and the quality of materials is often comparable

·         Salvaged wood has more character, which is a benefit if you want a “rustic” feel for your project


What are the drawbacks?

·         The materials might take longer to prepare – there might be old nails, paint or dirt to deal with

·         Knowing if things are OK to take away – for example if you see something on a building site or left by someone’s garden – always ask permission before you take anything!

·         It might feel embarrassing to take things that other people are throwing away – but you get used to it!

·         Storage – if you have a small workshop or shed then space for storing materials is always a challenge!


Where can I get pallets?

·         Ask people who work “in the trade” – often companies will pay other companies to come in and take away pallets and packaging materials – so from my experience they’re usually happy for people to take them away for free

·         Check at local retail parks, warehouses and shopping centres – often they’ll leave them outside by the bins – but always ask permission before you take anything, and always check that they are safe to use.  They will usually have letters stamped on them – e.g. “HT” = heat treated.  Check out this link for more information:


Where else do you get stuff from?

·         Now that word has got out a bit about what I do, family and friends often let me know of opportunities – for example – someone’s neighbour is throwing away some old floor boards, or there’s a skip on this road that looks like it’s got some good wood in it – and then I can go and check it out for myself

·         Checking Classified Ads – on Gumtree here in the UK there are two sections worth looking in – “DIY Tools & Materials > “Building Materials” and “Freebies”.  There are other classified ads websites like craigslist, Shpock, FreeAds, Preloved etc.