Thor's Timber Story
I first started learning about timber as a kid, watching my grandfather in his shed and passing him tools, sweeping up sawdust and holding boards steady for him. He bought me my first hand plane when I was 12, and my first project with it was shaping a couple of pairs of stilts for my brother and I.
Grandad would take me when he went to the tip. In those days, you could wander around and scavenge, so we usually took home some prizes, sometimes timber for the furniture that he made. That was my first experience of timber recycling.
I learnt to work with salvaged timber on a bigger scale in the early 1990’s, while making furniture with Paul Lynzaat as his (unofficial) apprentice. It was (and still is) really exciting to plane back a dark old grey piece of timber and see the fine grain and rich colour. Paul showed me how to salvage the timbers from house rooves. There is a lot of timber in an old cut roof, usually 3-4 cubic metres. We used to stand on the top plates and cut the rafters off at the birds mouth, then throw them sideways till they came off at the ridge, and slide them down into the truck. Good balance, a sharp chainsaw and plenty of enthusiasm were the key ingredients.
Having made contact with the local demolition companies and done a few salvage jobs, I saw how much good timber was going to waste. Once a building is ripped apart with an excavator and loaded onto trucks to be taken to the tip, there is little left among the crushed and splintered remains that is re-usable.
This was the impetus to start "Thor's Hammer". By helping create a demand for recycled timber, waste going to land fill is reduced and the Australian hardwoods used in old buildings get a second life appreciated for their quality, beauty and history.