Wrecked Boats Are Recycled Into Furniture

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Photo Courtesy of Shipwreck Furniture

Eco-friendly wooden furniture can be hard to find, but we've seen some made from interesting, salvaged and green sources, from coffee grounds to old New York buildings. Now a South African furniture designer has found a new place to get his raw materials: shipwrecked boats.


Photo Courtesy of Shipwreck Furniture

It all started when the Kunene, a boat sailed by private owners in the tuna and chokka fishing industries in South Africa, crashed on a reef and later sank to the bottom of the Port Elizabeth Harbor, many would have written off the loss of money and materials and walked away.

When the boat was bought by salvagers and stripped for metal, its timber hull ended up near Cape Town, left to rot. But then Nic Kruger, a furniture designer, came across the wreckage and saw lots of potential. He hauled some timber home, and got to work.

Now Kruger heads Shipwreck Furniture, a company based in Knysna, South Africa, producing unique items tables, benches and shelves from timber recovered from shipwrecked boats. The shape, color and size of the pieces are partly dictated from how the boat was built and then cut up, Kruger explains:

We use exclusively timber from our wrecks which in many ways limits us in conventional thinking and forces us to let the timber dictate the size, shape and finish of the final product. These boats were chopped up with chainsaws and little regard for future use. The parameters were the size of the dump-trucks that was used to transport it...All of the above challenges just makes it so much more rewarding to work with such great raw material.

It's awesome that cool furniture is coming from someone whose conventional thinking is limited, rather than from someone who's limited by conventional thinking. Kruger and company are just getting started: they've recently acquired the wreckage of the Largo, a boat that was hacked up and left in a landfill. Now, though its seafaring days are over, it can live on- in your living room.