Southampton Wood Recycling

southamptonwoodrecyclingthumb.jpgJanuary 2014 - Recent storms have damaged parts of my garden fence - in my search for economical ways to rebuild it, I stumbled across The Southampton Wood Recycling project.


What Is It?

It's a non-profit social enterprise that takes in used wood from a number of sources - construction sites, pallets, etc - and diverts it from going to landfill - turning it back into usable timber.

southamptonwoodrecycling2.jpgThey have a lot of sawn softwood, much of it in very good, usable lengths; board materials such as plywood and OSB; smaller amounts of planed softwoods and (when I visited) some promising odds and ends of assorted hardwoods.

All of it is clean and free of nails - although the holes from their removal are of course visible in pieces that have been deconstructed from pallet wood - and it's neatly organised and stacked in a way that makes it accessible for browsing without too much dangerous or dirty rummaging.

southamptonwoodrecycling3.jpgPricing seemed quite reasonable - calculated on a single, fair basis (essentially, volume) for each category of timber.

My rough pricing of the materials necessary to construct a panel for my post-and-panel fence came in at well under one third of the price I would have to pay for new timber at my local DIY warehouse.

And in general, the timber is well above the 'scrap' quality that might be expected. Some of it is actually new timber - presumably surplus lengths from the end of construction projects.

In addition to boards and sheets, they have a few other interesting items - big timber cable drums that are just perfect for conversion into tables - and a selection of handcrafted items such as bird tables, crates, vegetable baskets.

Wood that is broken or in pieces too short or otherwise unusable as timber is sold as firewood.

southamptonwoodrecycling4.jpgI had neither cash nor much load-carrying capacity on this occasion - so this visit was very much exploratory, but I will definitely be coming back here for my fence materials - and I'll probably be looking here first when I need any other timber for other uses.

How To Find It

The project has its own website - here - they're open 6 days a week, located in the old heart of Southampton (map link).


I love discovering places like this - for me, it's not just the childhood excitement of the sweet shop - it's the chance to find something a bit different - and a perfect antidote to the sterile, regimented order of the timber section of the DIY store.

Much more so than clean, fresh, identical boards of brand new wood, it really feels like the timber here wants to live again - the shapes, textures and colours of all the different pieces inspire me to make something.