Reclaimed Fir Window Sills

A couple of years ago Chris gave us a big stack of old doug fir 2x4s that came out of his 1920s house during a major remodel. I knew these would be good to have, though I wasn’t sure at the time how we would use them. They sat partially covered in the old garage, collecting dust and mouse poop. Invading hop vines became tangled and intwined around the lumber, they sat weathering the seasons.

When it came time to seriously clear out the garage in preparation for demolition, we had to move the lumber again, and I began to wonder if they were more of a burden than an asset. Constantly shifting a stack of wood is no small undertaking. We moved them outside, to really the only place we could find, and wrapped the pile in a tarp to keep out the elements. Despite the rainiest February on record (11″+) and Portland Snowpocalypse 2017, the lumber sat, protected from it all.

During that time we became inspired to reuse they timber in the ADU as our future window sills. The thought of these almost 100 year old 2x4s adding a warm, natural glow to our space really got us excited, as of course did the opportunity to recycle perfectly good material that could have otherwise been tossed.

But how would these weathered, rough 2x4s look with a little love?


I contacted Creative Woodworking NW and scheduled a time to bring the wood down to their industrial shop in SE Portland. The offer “shop time” with one of the staff and for an hourly rate they work with the wood to turn it into what you want. Here’s the process:

Running two sides through the jointer machine.

Gluing up the 2x4s to create the desired depth of the window sill.

Additional sanding and planing the next day after the glue had dried. We did this to get the  wood down to 1″ thick.

The rough cut finished product! It still shocks me to see the rough, worn wood literally be stripped away to reveal the beautiful core. There are few still blemishes, mainly nail holes, but I feel that’s a wonderful reminder of where this wood came from, it’s long history, and how we recycled and repurposed the timber. Can’t wait to see these sills installed in a few months.

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