Furniture made from recycled boat-wood


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You may remember All From Boats from this 2012 Etsy drama


Yes. Although the designs are pleasant, the company’s involvement (however tangential) in – arguably – the most epic Regretsy dust-up of them all makes me rather leery.

Also, I frikkin’ miss Regretsy.


I really, really hope they aren’t making furniture out of the parts of the hull painted with anti-foul paint… Worst dinner table idea ever.


That was exactly what my thought was. I wouldn’t want any antifouling biocidal paint in my house at all. Especially not the cheap stuff, which is basically heavy with lead.


I’m sorry, but there’s no way the wood that went into that furniture is what we’re meant to think it is. It’s clearly meant to look like someone just pulled the planking, complete with layers of paint and years of wear, straight from the side of a hull. But that can’t be true.

Boat planking has one of a few specific shapes meant to contribute to a system to keep water out. There are no bevels, either for a caulking seam or a lapstrake overlap. No signs of baten-seam or dual-planked construction. Where multiple planks join there are neither butt blocks nor the fastener holes to indicate they were ever there. A boat built with planks like this is known technically as a “sieve.” Certainly they could have reshaped and milled the edges of the planks after removing them, but then why do we see such lovely, worn, distressed-looking corners?

This could still be wood from wooden boats, of course. My guess would be the large timbers of a good-sized hull (fewer embedded fasteners to destroy your tools), milled, planed, sorted, graded, and then carefully painted and distressed to appeal to rich people looking for “colorful, casual, developing-world innovative recycling” as an accent point for their interior decorating.


Technically, it would be a hullabaloo, not a dust-up.


I went back to find the thread for this post and she’s replaced the site archive with a placeholder. I miss it so much.

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Well, you know what they say about copper-based toxic hull paints.

“They don’t die, they just ablade away…”


I read your post, then went back to look again at the images.

I doubt most of the lumber is from the hulls of whatever boats they are cutting up. There is a decent chance the lumber is from decks, wheelhouses and the like, as well as gunwales and other wooden bits that don’t need to have either:
a) antifouling paint or
b) complex carpentry/curved pieces.

That leaves a lot of decent (for these purposes) pieces of wood suitable for cuttting into drawer fronts, benches, table tops etc. I would have real reservations about some of that old paint though - even the topside paints can be pretty toxic when inhaled, I don’t know if I would be comfortable putting one of those cool looking dressers in my kid’s room - especially since the ‘boats’ are from Bali and other places outside the reach of the EPA and other such regulators.

That said, I can see your point and it certainly is possible that the wood is all ‘fake’, but authenticity is a shell game anyway so I guess it probably doesn’t matter.


I do wonder if this incident was one of the main reasons Etsy changed the rules this year to allow factory produced goods.

You can buy some of this ‘hand made’ crap on


Robert Redfords “Sundance” catalog used to sell wooden kitchen chairs distressed to look like the came from the flea market for $400 each.

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That’s plausible. Good thinking.

Does anybody else not miss Regretsy? I never really felt like the internet was short of engines for focusing contempt like a laser. For every genuinely creepy Regretsy item, there were a dozen that were merely odd, or poorly executed, or didn’t appeal to mainstream tastes. Which is sort of the point of Etsy and handicrafts in general, isn’t it? To give a place to creators of middling skill or taste by mainstream standards, but who may find aficionados in the long tail?


first off I find some of these pieces quite stunning…but…

Same as everyone else here I have some questions:

  1. i really hope these pieces don’t contain the marine grade paints that contain high concentrations of heavy metals, they don’t even address that issue on their website.
  2. i’m skeptical of their sourcing based on how the wood is shaped/worn. many of the pieces show evidence of having been top nailed/surface nailed. from boat houses maybe, but boats, doesn’t seem likely. it is nice to think of a place that has all wooden boats of which 90% are painted turquoise though, I’d visit.
  3. Fair-traded? really? in this case doesn’t that buzzword seem a bit much. are there really sailors being exploited for their boat wood?
  4. On their site they claim their furniture is made completely from boatwood or recycled boats. What is boatwood (one word) and how does that differ from wood from a recycled boat? google only has their site, a few dealers, and this article listed when searching for boatwood.

It would be vaguely ironic if we got lead poisoning from recycling Asians’ discarded equipment, since they get it from recycling ours.

I hear that. But part of the genius/value of Regretsy was that the laser went both ways. The site functioned to skewer the sensibilities of its readership as much as it functioned to call out poorly thought out or badly executed items.

As someone who is an absolute sucker for “heritage”/“made by hand”/“local, artisan,” I felt like I was laughing at myself quite frequently.

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For all we know all that bluish wood could come from a single craft that was not a standard boat. It did not have to come from the hull. This is the third world we are talking about. People manage with non-standard tools as a way of life.

Not saying I approve of this bullshit, or believe it. Just pointing out some flaws in the developing argument.

This thread is why I keep coming back here despite the pointlessness of much of what is said in other threads.

And not just that Regretsy called them out on their BS, but the owners pretended not to understand, threatened Regretsy in the weirdest way with lawsuits, and people were looking up the bill of ladings for these “artisanal” products and finding out, yep, imports. If they had handled their call to the mat with some grace I might be supportive of their products but instead, I would avoid just because I do not support assholes.