Woodworking Made Simple with Decking Offcuts


Recycled Decking to Make a Recycle Bin

As is the case in most places these days we are required to recycle most household waste, with one of the main problems being storage e.g. lack of space in the kitchen for all the recycle bins; therefore when I decked out our side passageway I bought an extra length of decking to ensure I had enough leftover specifically to knock together a simple box and lid just outside the kitchen door where all the recycle bins could be housed, as shown in the picture below.

Lucky Fit

Originally when I built this recycle bin (in the early days of recycling) all the local council gave us was a brown bin for kitchen waste, which I didn’t use because we compost our own waste, and a black box for paper and card; with everything else e.g. tins, plastics, glass etc. having to be separated and put out in separate plastic carrier bags for collection. Therefore for ease of operation I made the recycle bin big enough to house my own odd assortment of plastic containers I found in my shed, and just transferred the rubbish from the containers to plastic bags on collection day.

However, after running a series of trials the council eventually issued a green box everything except glass, paper and kitchen waste (the old black box being for glass and paper) and the brown bin for kitchen waste.

When I removed my assortment of containers and put the three bins side by side in the recycle bin I’d previously made it was a perfect fit; as if I’d designed my recycle bin specifically for the bins we are now using. If I had made my recycle bin just an inch smaller in any direction then the assortment of new recycle bins issued by the local council would not have fitted.

The Making of the Recycle Bin with Lid

Anyway, this is the most ambitious of all the woodworking projects here as it’s a box, and boxes need to be square. However, as a recycle bin outside its not critical if it’s a little off square and is a good project as a starter to practice making boxes from wood.

Again, Decking is an ideal material to use for a project like this because the wood has already been pressure treated so even though its soft wood it’s not going to rot for many years to come; and decking being a softwood is easy to work with, it’s strong, durable and with groves on both sides is decorative making the box aesthetic rather than an eyesore. And because its decking, when the lid is closed, it’s strong enough to stand on and therefore also double up as a convenient seat.

The construction is simple enough; in this case just a front and one side with a top plate around the other side and the back, and a hinged lid. Normally you might expect a full box with front, back and two sides, but in this case I took advantage of the recycle bin resting against the boundary wall and on one side the ‘gossip step’.

You might be asking yourself what a ‘gossip step’ is, well because the houses in the street are built on a slight slope each property is up to three feet (900mm) lower than the next going down the street, so the boundary wall (depicted in one of the photos below) also acts as a retaining wall, with a fence on top. Therefore (as we get on with our neighbours well) in order for us to speak with our neighbours over the garden fence I built the ‘gossip steps’ (as you may just make out in one of the photos below).

Getting back to the recycle bin, the front is simply four pieces of decking of equal lengths fixed together with a couple pieces of decking fixed on the inside, acting as battens, in the same way as the lid is made (see images below). Five shorter pieces are all cut to the same length for the sides, the top piece cut at an angle to create a slope for better water drainage. The backing top piece is firmly screwed to the boundary wall as is the top side panel fixed to the gossip step. The front and side panel are then fixed in place using a batten (a piece of pressure treated timber) in each corner to act as corner butt joints.

If you can make something like this in your garden then you are well on the way to tackling more ambitious DIY woodworking projects.

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