What is the reel story?

One of our sources of reclaimed wood are cable reels (sometimes called cable drums). You may often see empty reels lying around, especially on industrial estates and wonder why these substantial frames have been abandoned.

A high proportion are single-use items. This is due to the strain they are put under with a full load of cable. Larger reels can commonly weigh 5 tonnes or more when fully loaded. They just wouldn't be secure enough to reuse. (You might see a flat-bed lorry carrying a cylindrical shape covered over with tarpaulin. This is just one reel being transported.)

The cable reels we have reclaimed have come from a number of locations and different businesses. Therefore they vary greatly in size . . . most are between 2.5 and 7 feet in diameter. When we receive them they often need tightening up for stability. To make coffee tables we actually deconstruct the drum and cut down the barrel to reduce the height.

Newcastle Cathedral's Dog Leap Cafe has some complete drums that we have cleaned up and treated. A much more complex design that's made a big splash is our Party Table. Using some ironwork we have secured half a dozen seats to a tall drum and then added a Lazy Susan to the top for serving. How better to get your guests in the party mood than wowing them with this modern yet rustic design.

Other uses we have made of these include removing and cleaning up the flange, or drum end. These have then been used as a table tops, wall features and Cafe 19 in Whitley Bay have even created clocks using two we supplied (click here to take a look - we also supplied the table tops in the picture!)

Many cable reels will end up forming part of a bonfire over coming weeks, but rather than see them go up in smoke, we will recreate as many as we can to be put to good use in gardens, caf├ęs, pubs and elsewhere.