Take it from your Tool Kit - Upcycling Old Tools

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM

A while ago, I joined the Ottawa Tool Library where you can borrow a tool just like you would a book at a traditional library. If you’re in the need of a tool for, say, a DIY, gardening, cooking, or small repair project, instead of buying it and never using it again, you borrow it. So why buy, when you can borrow.

Tool libraries have become very popular and are located in quite a few cities including the one here in Ottawa, Toronto (Ontario), Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England). To find one in your area, check here

Which brings me to this post. I’ve always been interested in woodworking and gardening tools most of my life, especially, antique and vintage ones. One of my favourite tools is a 19th century wood plane that's somewhere in my storage unit; well, that and a 19th century oak sap bucket. I love the idea of owning something that has been used for generations and is still perfectly useful today. If you are a lover of old tools, chances are you may have or have come across a few that are no longer used but still worth keeping.

Here’s are a few ways to recycle/upcycle them and keep in circulation.

Found Art

I catagorize this as 'found art'. Floyd Elzinga transforms shovels into humongous tree cones (the above is a pinecone). He is a Canadian artist who currently lives next to his studio in Beamsville, Ontario nestled on the Niagara Escarpment. Makes me want to run out and find some old shovels to recycle.

View his other works here.

IPad Stand

You can purchase this interesting tablet holder here or why not build one yourself? All you need are a a couple of hammers, a screwdriver and a piece of wood dowel. 

Magnetic Notice Board

If you're attached to your old cutting saws but not using them, here's a nifty idea that's easy enough even for me! Transform your old saws into attractive magnetic notice boards. Nice for a workshop. Lots of saws and other tools available on Ebay.

Photo Display

A unique idea from Icon Design for an unused spackle knife used to display a vintage photograph. Or you can make it if you're lucky enough to have both or you could just buy it (if it's still available) here.

Picture Frame

Neat use for old wrenches (would make a great Dad's Day gift). You can get a similar one from Zulily. 

Coat Racks

I found a number of coat racks made from old tools, Below are two of my favourites:

Trowel Coat Rack

If these vintage trowel coat hangers are no longer available to buy at Sweet Daphne Design, you can make your own. You can still find the old trowels at flea markets, junk stores, or charity shops. Or use new ones like I did here:

I bought new ones that came with ready made holes and attached these to an old dance hall sign (given to me by a friend) for a garden/coat rack.

Screwdriver Coat Rack

There are very good instructions over at Homemade Modern to make this screwdrive coat rack so if you've a surfeit of old screwdrivers, this one is for you. Get the info here.


Add a bit of festivity to your workshop door with this grapevine wreath transformed with old tools tied on with binder's twine.I found it on Pinterest here

I've also upcycled a a couple of garden tools rescued from the trash here (as a flower display) and here (to hold my fishing poles, basket, and net). 



Categories: Wood

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1 Comment

Reply Christopherarroyo
11:03 PM on December 7, 2017 
Thank you for doing this. I am not affected, but it really heartens me to see people reaching out and supporting their fellow human beings in times like this. If I can be of any help, please let me know.I am new to this site.This is a very informative article.I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.I am thankful to you for sharing this awesome article with this helpful knowledge.

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