Simple Wood Working Projects
Can Create Family Treasures

At the crossroads and convenience and conscious is the industry of wood preservatives, which exists to keep our houses, porches, treehouses and decks standing stronger and longer. By treating wood with preservatives, rot, fungi growth and insect infestation are deterred for many year and even decades. On the other hand, Todd Shupe says that these products more often than not end up in a landfill and the chemicals used in the treatment process are left to seep into the earth. It’s a thin line to tread and the topic is gaining more attention as concerns surrounding pollution are given more consideration. According to The Columbus Dispatch, even chemically-treated wood can rot. In a July 2017 article that explores

the topic, it’s revealed that the chemical mixtures applied at the point of manufacturing could have been defective or insufficiently applied. It’s also possible that a misstep during the construction process – like a screw that caused a major crack in the wood of a now-rotting deck – helped to accelerate the rot recently discovered by the owner. The author of the article goes on to note that the unearthing of 15-year-old playset supports revealed termite infestation despite the use of treated wood. These examples go to show that even use of preservative-treated wood won’t guarantee life-long health of any structure.

Todd Shupe, a former LSU professor who earned his Ph.D. in wood science from Louisiana State University, predicts that the majority of the aforementioned wood ended up in the trash and thus, a landfill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) periodically reviews the preservatives that are often used in the treatment process. Todd Shupe says that the use of metal-free preservatives during the treatment process must be seriously explored if the EPA wants to make a dent on this issue, given the potential hazards and possible human health and environmental impacts. Closed loop recycling of spent treated wood is essential and Shupe has been issued two US Patents in this area.

You may not have an old house to tear down or the time to do it, but I encourage you to look for opportunities to build something out of wood for your children or grandchildren.  You have no idea how much they will treasure it.  One possibility is that when it is time to cut down an old tree from your yard, save some of it to build something for your children and grandchildren. Maybe your father built a picnic table that is damaged beyond repair.  Before you throw it out, try to salvage a few boards.  Maybe you have to trim off some decayed wood on some pieces but save what you can.  If possible, include the kids on the planning and the hands-on work of the project.   You are building much more than a birdhouse or a cabinet.  You are building precious memories that will leave a lasting legacy of you for those that mean so much to you. 

About the Author:

Todd Shupe is the President of and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and building materials, wood decay and degradation, and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, and Board Member for Gulf South Men and a Team Leader for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.