Posts Tagged ‘recycled’

By Andrew McKirdy
Whiskey Barrel TablesUpcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
 
This DIY project started when I sat down for a drink at Rock Bottom Brewery in Denver, Colorado.  I noticed several old whiskey barrels being used for decoration.  I asked my waitress if I could have one, and a few days later the brewmaster and I were loading two freshly used barrels into a borrowed car for transport.   They’d been emptied, but I could still hear swishing when I moved them.  One had been used for a raspberry saison and the other for an ale.  I don’t have a shop, but thankfully a friend let me use his patio to begin work.  I decided I wanted to keep one barrel whole and use it as a kitchen table.  The other I would cut in half and turn into two side tables.  I used a handsaw for accuracy, and finished with a powered skill saw.  For the whole barrel, I drilled a small opening in the bottom to drain the remaining contents.  I scraped the insides with a chisel, removing any loose wood chips.  Then I poured vinegar in the barrels to kill bacteria and prevent future growth.  This also helped get rid of the funky raspberry smell. 
 
I sanded, then dusted off both barrels, to prep them for stain.  I came back the next day, but the stench of high VOCs (nasty chemicals called volatile organic compounds) reeked.  I realized I would need to seal them up.  This would stop the smell, and provide an excellent sheen.  I found a low VOC polyurethane which worked wonders.  Lastly, were the rusty metal hoops, which I wanted black.  After those were painted I priced around for the most affordable glass company.  I was told I needed a tempered piece of glass which cost twice as much, but is infinitely safer and stronger.  Finally the project was complete.  I had taken something that was going to be destroyed, and given it new life in my home.  I researched the name on the barrel and found out it came from the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky, originating in 1797.  The Woodford Distillery is in fact a National Historic Landmark.  I have a real piece of Americana.
Vintage Oak BarrelsOak Whiskey Barrels to be upcycled
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Official Movie Trailer for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox (Available to watch instantly on Netflix)

Chances are, you’ve heard of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. It’s 18-in-1! It can lather you from head to toes with a few tingly drops of peppermint, or other natural varieties. I could go on all day about why I like this product, and company, but here’s a few things I appreciate. Plus, Dr. Bronner’s is currently raising money to fight Malaria in Eastern Ghana. More on that, and the link below.

I like Dr. Bronner’s because they create Fair Trade Organic products. Their bottles are also made of recycled plastic. And you can clean just about anything with the soap. From clothes, to your stinky dog. The soap can revitalize it. Also, Dr. Bronner’s uses a “combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils.” Epic. I feel so good after scubbing down with this stuff. It’s unlike any product you’ve tried. My favorite is the Tea Tree liquid soap. I also use Dr. Bronner’s Lemon Lime lip balm. I got a tube from the Astoria Co-Op for $3.

While the soap products are fascinating, Dr. Bronner and his family are even more intruiging. In his movie Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox, you see his rise from a desperate life, to a fulfilled one. His family carries his ideas, and legacy, and spreads it to a new generation of aware individuals. Common people love his story, and can relate to the company’s humble beginnings. Really, it’s what’s on the label that has so many people talking. It’s plastered with vast amounts of info, such as Bible verses, and important quotes. Buy a bottle for the read alone.

No I didn’t get compensated to write this. Refreshingly, Dr. Bronner’s doesn’t even advertise. I just think they are an excellent example of what a great American company can be. They call it Constructive Capitalism. It’s where you share profits with the employees that made them for you. Crazy idea huh? All is One.

Dr. Bronner’s is raising $25,000 to provide life-saving mosquito nets for thousands of families to prevent the spread of malaria, a common disease in Ghana. Help, and receive a free gift.

http://www.indiegogo.com/drbronners

http://www.drbronners.com

dr bronner's magic soap label

Produced by Cameron McKirdy