WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Unbuilding

Unbuilding
by Bob Falk & Brad Guy

Taunton Press: 2007
Hardcover, 248 pp., $30
ISBN 1-56158-825-1

     The authors quote a Chinese proverb: "Waste..a resource in the wrong place." Their book is an amazing testament to salvaging old buildings for reasons of thrift, valuing antiques, and the re-use of quality materials. "As with most do-it-yourself building projects, the savings reaped are in proportion to the sweat expended," they say.
     Beginning with who can do it and why, the authors thoroughly cover where local opportunities reside, how to assess the value of a building, permits and code requirements, and how to develop an efficient plan for deconstruction. They discuss tools required, safety, fire prevention and hazards to watch for. From there they go through actual step-by-step deconstruction and salvage, showing how to maintain the integrity of a building, tear off a roof, remove electrical and plumbing work, remove rafters and trusses, siding, walls and subfloors. From long experience they can show how to set up work flow from preparing the site to getting heavy materials to the ground, and from denailing to stacking, loading, and closing out the project.
     There are also interviews with successful salvaging entrepeneurs like Jim Stowell of Zirconia, North Carolina, Max Taubert of Duluth, Minnesota, and Linda Lee and Lara Kelly of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along with several others. The authors don't make it look easy -- you know it isn't going to be easy -- but they do make it look like mining for gold, and feeling good about it during the process.

. . . Barb Siddiqui