ONE man's trash is another man's treasure so it stands to reason that Mic Ritter is happiest when a truckload of old timber is dumped at his Hamilton North business.
"It might be old timber from a house with all the nails hanging out, but to transform that to a nice piece of furniture or benchtop in a renovated kitchen is quite rewarding. Most others would send it to the tip," he says.
A builder's son and qualified furniture maker, Mr Ritter moved to Newcastle about a decade ago. Initially making furniture, he sublet a space off the original owners of recycled timber specialists Round 2 Timbers, began making pieces for them and then bought the business.
With a timber yard and workshop he has all but outgrown, the company specialises in timber joinery and is the leading supplier of recycled Australian hardwood timber and timber products in the Hunter. Its bread and butter trade is reclaiming and recycling structural timber from demolishers and selling it in bulk to the building industry, but Mr Ritter is slowly increasing the custom furniture making and joinery activity that he enjoys most.
"I've slowly brought that more into what we do and it now consists of about half of the business," he says, adding that the range includes benchtops, table tops, shelving, flooring and structural and dressed timber.
Round 2 Timbers' commercial jobs include restaurant fit-outs and public space furniture or joinery at city apartments and NuSpace.
It recycles hardwoods including tallow, blackbutt, spotted gum and ironbark.
"A lot of the time it's really only what survives [a demolition] and its been used for its structural qualities," he says.
Recycling timber entails more labour and cost however Mr Ritter says the aesthetic rewards in its use are evident.
"We don't hide blemishes, we highlight them - it's part of the charm," he says.
Piles of worthy timber ends up in landfill because there are no regulations to stop it: "There are more of us requiring more resources we can't just keep chewing them up. It's as simple as that."
Despite closing his gates on Monday as a COVID-19 precaution, Mr Ritter says trade remains steady.