Amidst the pile of debris our eyes were drawn to the tapering wooden poles protruding above the rusty metal ammunition boxes, military bed bases stacked one upon the other, enough rainwater-filled latrines to equip an entire barracks and assorted shovels.
Filthy, wet and shivering, we stood in the biting wind on a November morning speculating on what the poles had been used for and how they could be used again. Inspiration struck: their slender shapes lent themselves perfectly to a design for a bed, a four-poster bed to be precise. We quickly acquired a job lot. We later learnt from Lawrence, owner of Harper's Bazaar and purveyor of all things surplus to government needs, that they were solid ash levers used on the railways to move wagons around the sidings by hand before mechanization made them obsolete. If you cannot obtain ash levers such as these, the bed could just as easily be constructed using any pillar-like objects, such as fence posts or staircase newel posts.
The metal bed frame and headboard fittings were located in a salvage yard. Almost forty years old, they had once been turned out in their thousands. They were robustly constructed for use in army barracks but had never been used and apart from some surface rust, were in perfect condition. If you can't find a similar frame, you can buy one new from a small number of specialist contract furniture makers. This bed could also be made with a slatted timber base set into wooden side pieces fitted to the headboard using any of the numerous connectors on the market.
• Tape measure
• Set square
• 32 mm (1-1/4 in) wood chisel
• Electric drill and bits
• Adjustable spanner
• 38 mm (1-1/2 in) paintbrush
• Soft cotton rag
• Four posts
• Approx. 2 m (6 ft 6 in) of 22.5 cm x 25 mm (9 x 1 in) planed timber
• Wood glue
• 65 mm (2-1/2 in) wood screws
• 90 cm (3 ft) single metal bed frame and headboard fittings (chills)
• Wood stain
• Clear furniture wax
|Excerpted from Recycle! by Moira & Nicholas Hankinson. Excerpted by permission of Kyle Cathie Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.|