For the Love of ‘Rippers’


It’s not often that I’m thrilled to paw through another man’s garbage, but when that man is Frank David….

Teak is expensive stuff – upwards of $50/board foot at times. So every cut counts. And when it came time to buy stuff for the interior guts of this campaign chest, I was thinking of using walnut, pine or oak. But then I saw a magnificent pile of narrow teak offcuts while hunting through the stacks of lumber at Midwest Woodworking.

These pieces of 2-1/2”-wide, 4/4 rough stock were the leftovers from rip cuts made decades ago. Frank stashed them in the attic of his shop in Norwood, Ohio. Some of his employees asked if they could have these teak “rippers” to burn for firewood in their homes.

Frank merely raised an eyebrow at their request.

These rippers are perfect for web frames. So I purchased a few of these (at about $15/board foot) and built the two web frames for my latest campaign chest with them today.

Like all the other old pieces of teak from Midwest, this stuff is like a buttery dream (which is better than a wet dream but not as good as a lard dream) to work with. And I saved enough teak from my wide boards to scrounge just enough teak to make a copy of Napoleon’s desk for my book on campaign furniture.

Viva la refuse!

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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28 Responses to For the Love of ‘Rippers’

  1. Robert Justiana says:

    OK, the title sucked me in on this one.
    We used to speak of our love for “Rippers” when I was young and single, but that involved poles and less-than-fully-dressed females. 🙂

  2. Narayan says:

    My problem is keeping the rippers around. Forever. It’s a compulsion. Even for things like plywood (rationalized as “stocking up on lumber stickers”).

    • jasongc says:

      I can’t count the number of ~1″ wide plywood strips that infest my lumber racks. Because I’ll need them all…eventually.

      Perhaps I should burn them along with the tire….

    • Patrick says:

      Ditto. I have some old plastic garbage cans (which were actually new and never used for their intended purpose) that are FULL of cutoffs (because I may need them some day). I even moved it with me on the last move because it was only a couple of miles away and I know what I paid per bd ft. I have no problem throwing out other stuff. But hardwood cutoffs….

  3. ScottV says:

    Is your anarchy ever inexpensive anymore?

  4. Jim Burton says:

    I’ve actually never worked with teak, and it’s interesting that you say it’s nice to work with. I’ve heard that the dust is particularly irritating to some people. Have you found that to be the case?

    • abtuser says:

      I’m working with some teak right now. It hasn’t caused me any problems personally. I really enjoy working with it. Hopefully you all get a chance to.

    • tsstahl says:

      The teak dust seems to irritate a lot of readers of this blog, but I’m not sure of any rational connection.

  5. Scott says:

    Did you plug your pocket holes with teak too?

  6. Dave Beauchesne says:

    Sounds like something that happened to a ” friend ” of yours – yeah, that’s the ticket.

  7. Zeke says:

    I recently repaired a drawer with a broken teak handle. Bought a small piece of teak from Atlanta Hardwoods, enjoyed making a new handle, and it finished up nicely.

  8. Bob Davidson says:

    I’m glad I bought the teak for my wooden boat way back in 2002. I thought it was expensive back then at over $19 a board foot. It really makes for beautiful and enduring trim. After all, “life’s too short to own an ugly boat.”

  9. burroborracho13 says:

    What kinds of timber were used in the War Between the States? What were the major differences in style and timber between northern and southern troops? Did the “civies” use purpose built campaign furniture or repurposed?

    • Harlan Barnhart says:

      My neighbor in rural Georgia had a chest sitting in the middle of his living room that served as the medical chest for his great-grandfather who served as a Doctor in the confederate army, so I can say with some authority that pine was used in confederate war furniture. Nevermind that he wasn’t actually a doctor, but a veterinarian. Close enough for rebels I guess.

  10. Matt S says:

    OK – Can you save me some Google-ing? What is this “Napoleon’s desk” business?

  11. Patrick says:

    Build, write, edit, build, travel, teach, build, edit, etc. Dude you you have a pretty good life. Have fun in Australia and would you please make a myth buster video about which way the water drains.

  12. Graham Burbank says:

    Save rippers for your next wine room project, a perfect place to use up those narrow strips….too bad beer doesn’t age well. Regale us with tales of microbrews from down under. Foster’s is australian for budwizer. There’s gotta be something for the rest of us!

  13. Corzine says:

    Sounds like a bunch of folks have too much time on their hands when one reads all the junk about some teak cut down before some of you were even born. If you are worried about the future of teak check this sight out and invest in your kid’s future.
    It’s a little place in Costa Rica where someone with some foresight has been planting –of all things—TREES for other folks to own

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