INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Chats with Recycled Wood Designers Scrapile
JILL: Do they just give you the material for free?
BART: Yeah, it’s actually helpful for them for us to remove their waste. It just ends up being less on their garbage bill.
CARLOS: Yeah, we’d love to absorb it all, but we are pretty limited with space, as you can see.
JILL: About how many different shops do you go and pickup materials from?
CARLOS: I think right now it fluctuates between 5-8 different shops that we stop by regularly. We have one-off pickups too. People sometimes email us to come pick up their stuff.
JILL: So are the glue and the finishes all green as well?
CARLOS: Our glue is just regular wood glue. It’s non-toxic. We definitely make an effort to have use green finishes as well. We use a finish called Danish-Oil for most of our products. We’re researching water-based finishes at the moment, and spray-grade finishes.
BART: We’ve done a few bar-tops for restaurants, counter-tops for people’s houses, which was actually pretty nice. We were a little hesitant at first when a client asked us to do it, because we thought “Are we going to end up doing lots of counter-tops?” But the piece actually came out rather beautifully. It has the same visual texture of the rest of the Scrapile work, just in a flat plane.
JILL: Yeah, on that note, I was wondering if you do floors, and walls and things like that.
BART: We’ve been approached by a green flooring company who knows our materials and has asked us whether or not we want to do it. We’re currently thinking about it.
CARLOS: We’re going to be prototyping it at some point.
BART: Obviously we have the material, but to engineer floors, we have to go back to the drawing board a little bit. Since all we have done up until now is furniture, we are not as familiar with flooring.
Our current designs are based on us using the particular machines that we have in our shop. Our method won’t work with large scale manufacturing machines or any sort of mass-production. So we are trying to develop some sort of system so that the reuse of scrap wood can be done outside our shop.
The reason that most lumber companies throw out so much great materials is that they simply don’t have any way of reusing them. All these scraps of wood just pile up and they become a menace. You can’t keep working in your shop if you keep everything; you get trash piling up constantly.
That’s what our project is about really. We want to find a way to automate this process a little more so that more people can be efficient and make better use of all the “waste” material out there.
CARLOS: We’ve actually run into the problem of creating our own scrap from the Scrapile line! It seems redundant that we were trying to collect all this stuff, but then of course we are making scraps ourselves.
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