By Marty Steinberg

It’s deconstruction day. Habitat for Humanity volunteer Tom Weaver arrives early, as he always does. He meets the homeowners, John and Irene, who have decided to donate their kitchen cabinets and appliances to the ReStore rather than see them go into the dumpster or to the scrapyard.

“I just think the concept of the ReStore is incredible,” said John. “Asheville has such a reduce, reuse, recycle mentality it’s no surprise we have one of the top ReStores in the country.”

Weaver brings in his tools and begins taking down the upper cabinets in the kitchen. By the time the rest of the crew gets there he already has most of them removed.

“Tom is good with the deconstruction clients and makes them feel at ease,” Jeff Bridgman, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore Donations Manager said. “The program definitely wouldn’t be as successful without his contributions.”

The work proceeds quickly. ReStore Deconstruction Specialist Dylan Haynes helps him remove the rest of the upper cabinets and brings them out to the ReStore truck. The stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave are taken out next.

Weaver and Haynes take a fresh look at the granite countertop. What, exactly, is holding it in place? Usually it’s just the weight of the countertop plus the silicone caulking, so Haynes takes a razor knife and begins scoring around the edges.

At this point things slow down a bit. The lower cabinets aren’t going anywhere until this granite comes out. Haynes and Weaver find a barely noticeable seam where two pieces of granite have been subtly glued together.

“Tom is a great guy who works hard and really knows his stuff,” Haynes said. “He’s spent time building homes so he knows how to take them apart just as well.”

With more than thirty years of volunteering in new home construction for Habitat for Humanity under his belt, including building homes in Germany and Poland, Weaver began doing deconstruction for Asheville Habitat in 2009. The largest deconstruction job he ever worked on was the Asheville Outlet Mall.

After the seam is separated, the pieces of granite are carefully lifted off the cabinets and rested on blankets on the floor. Then they’re moved out to the truck and the lower cabinets are loosened and removed. Done but for the paperwork. Today it all happened before lunch.

When he’s not volunteering for Asheville Habitat, Weaver volunteers for the Carolina Mountain Club, building and repairing trail structures, such as shelters, bridges and picnic tables. He also serves as Chair of the North Carolina State Trails Committee. Originally from Pennsylvania, Weaver earned a BS in Polymer Science from Penn State University in 1981.

After lunch, the cabinets and countertops are unloaded at the ReStore, where, as it turns out, they will be sold the next day. The appliances will be tested and sold separately. The proceeds from these sales will help Asheville Habitat build more affordable homes in our community.

ReStore Volunteer Coordinator Carrie Burgin recently presented Weaver with a “Hammer Pin” for his years of service to Asheville Habitat. “He is such a wonderful representative for us, usually arriving first at the deconstruction site,” Burgin said. “And he’s always willing to work with new volunteers to show them the ropes.”

Such appreciation is welcome but it isn’t the reason Weaver spends his free time as a volunteer. Weaver simply says, “It’s to use my energies and skills where they can help our community.”

If you’re interested in helping our community by volunteering with Asheville Habitat, click here to learn more. We offer myriad of opportunities – many of which do not even require a hammer!

Interested in hiring our Deconstruction team? Click here to learn more.