Tips For More Sustainable Woodworking

6 Tips For More Sustainable Woodworking

DIY furniture is a great way to make stuff that lasts. Be even more environmentally responsible with how you buy, use, and dispose of your materials.

My husband, Chip, has recently taken up a new hobby: Woodworking. So far he’s made us a console table, a bedframe, a set of modular porch furniture, and a pair of wardrobes. I love how durable this new furniture of ours is compared to the IKEA stuff that it has replaced, and I especially love the idea that, unlike its predecessor, our DIY furniture will last a lifetime and maybe even find homes in my daughters’ houses. What I don’t love is the growing pile of lumber scraps in a corner of the backyard, the tools everywhere, and the half-filled cans of paint and stain taking up space in the shed after we’ve finished our latest piece.

Wanting to align Chip’s awesome new vocation with our efforts to reduce waste and live more sustainably, I did a little research for him and other woodworking enthusiasts on how to make a few changes to reduce carbon footprints. If you’ve got a woodworking connoisseur in your life, share these ideas with him or her. And if you don’t, well, IKEA actually does a decent job when it comes to sustainability efforts!

1. Pool your tools. One of Chip’s biggest laments is that he doesn’t own all the tools he needs to work on his projects. But in our small bungalow in the city, where garages and basements are rare, he wouldn’t have the space to keep them anyway. This is where a close-knit neighborhood comes in handy — he only has to post on social media or chat at our kids’ Saturday-afternoon soccer game, and he has offers to borrow just about any tool he might need. I love this idea not just because we have fewer things to buy and store, but also because sharing tools and equipment makes sense from an environmental standpoint. Fewer tools being purchased means fewer resources are needed to manufacture them. One of these days I’d like to formalize it into a tool lending library for the community to use.

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