Mixing materials, concrete and wood.

I think there are materials that combined make a perfect marriage-that expression is almost an oxymoron, but they are very close those two-wood and concrete, especially reclaimed wood and concrete.  This summer I plan to get involved with some projects implementing these materials, before I post my own work here, take a look at these amazing ideas, people are creative beyond measure I think.

Now, moulding the concrete blocks is really easy for the most part. There is a guy-Ben Uyeda that has some cool tips and tutorials, he uses Lego blocks and melamine boards to for the moulding then pours the concrete mix and gets the form to set for couple of days.  These should be reinforced with some metal rods, or metal mash to make sure the structure is sound and fit for the purpose.

Making concrete furniture is a perfect way to fit your garden or a patio, they do not need much maintenance, and really-they are hard to destroy, even for a seasoned trouble maker.

Have fun creating your own stuff.




Office NOT boring

I have been doing some work for companies in the city, must admit-some of the offices look amazing, but for the most part-cheap crappy chipboard or mdf built white, hospital like cabinets. Really something out of  `80 with a modern twist-loads of plastic, certainly not my cup of tea. But large offices being located usually on huge floors  present a great opportunity for innovation, funky ideas and furniture that is far from boring.

Being in the office, punching numbers into computers might not be too adventurous, but having your environment custom built will certainly give you a feeling of control, and will somehow pick you out of the white cubicle crowd.

Even simple ideas, like a metal mesh on the wall to hang a mirror or some pictures on it, will change the interior completely. A big barrel turned into a spotlight or a sink will make the office space creative and maybe thus inspire more creativity in the people working in it.


I truly believe that our very environment has a huge impact on the well-being and creativity. This is why I do not get the traditional, boxy, white, hospital like cubicles. I think that era is the thing of the past, with knowledge and availability of virtually anything today, we can create offices that will make people happy to come to work. At least, will make them a lot less miserable spending countless hours behind their desk. Worth a try I think…

Another pair of socks in that department is getting the old boss to go along with the new idea. I think young companies are a lot more able to shift the old ideas and come up with new approach. I somehow do not see some an old, law firm in the city, with people past their `60 to mount a oil barrel on their ceiling. But hey-if they do-I am here to help,until then-all youngsters out there with heads packed of ideas-call me up if you want your office to be unique and people working in it-happy and creative.


Do not forget to pay your employees well, no amount of funky furniture or creative décor will suffice if you pay them peanuts-just a thought.


Traditional-trimmed up

As I get deeper into wood working, projects, see flats, houses and other properties I notice that people are-in general well tired of traditional, IKEA ( sorry) style design.

Although custom made items are not cheap,more and more clients out there decide to save some money to get something that is unique and quality at the same time. After all, it is your place, your home no matter if it is a big`ol house or a small city flat, having an option to have it YOUR way should be something worth considering.

I have been bashing cheap crap, usually mdf or chipboard made items for a while now, no point going back there, but what makes me smile is the fact, that people start to be more creative. We have passed the point where China made cheap items were literally on the menu in every house, today people steer towards originality, quality, uniqueness, something that will be a pleasure to have for a number of years.

Big reclaimed wood logs in the kitchen, rustic counter top, cabinets made out of real wood, industrial style lights etc. The possibilities are literally endless to design an interior that is just “off the wall”. With today`s market, especially in the big city-you can get anything and everything if you are determined enough. Businesses all around offer free material like pallets, all sorts of wood, and other stuff that can be turned into an eye popping furniture with some work and basic tools.

I am very glad that this is the direction that people are taking, this traditional, square, boring chipboard laminates are coming to an end, now is the time for cool stuff and if you can make it yourself out of reclaimed materials-you are in the game mister. Keep it up.

Dine with class-the “old way”

Dining table is a centre piece of every dining room,  a place where people meet and share a meal, socialize, and bring the family together. A solid table, real wood, thick top and cool chairs/bench is something I would look into. Not to bash the Ikea boys in any way, but something made out of chipboard with cheap laminate is nowhere near a proper family dining table.

These tables can be built out of reclaimed wood, as well as a fresh (dried) lumber, hard wood would be a choice for this particular project. People sitting at this table, eating, kids scratching with forks etc. Quality wood will make sure you do not have to re-finish every 6 months to get rid of all marks, dents and scratches.

I personally love thick legged tables, even a design where legs are thick and the top slightly on the thin side, just the opposite of a popular trend would make a cool house item.



Kitchen ideas continue

I am still a bit obsessed with fitting my kitchen with reclaimed timber. I have come across these cool ideas, many of which are really easy to build. A combination of marble, stone, wood and iron seems to be the way I would design my own kitchen.

The choice of wood depends on the location, you would look more into nice hardwood for the countertops and could easily get away with cheaper soft wood for the cabinet doors and other elements not exposed to water and food.

I like the idea of fat beams on the ceiling, these can be build out of flat boards jointed in the way to mimic a fat piece of wood. Cool thing about this idea is the fact that it is light, easy to install and widely available as opposed to big log of wood being lifted and screwed onto the ceiling.

Whatever option you aim to do, reclaimed timber can be combined with many other materials. Also finish, as in varnish, stains etc. should be fit for purpose, today`s market is full of solid stuff, shop around.




The beginning is here

This is a group I am a member of. It was started by one of my personal heroes: Dean Clifford and his brother Darren. The name is Earth stewardship and it is closed group, you can become a member by contacting the group, I think basic membership is only CAD 10 a month.

The coop operates on the portal : www.gotfreedom.is and by joining this website you will be able to direct your membership towards specific group, like earth stewardship. The group uses the money to purchase land, farming machinery, build houses on that land etc. Basically to start a new way of life, because this one that we currently have, clearly it is not working very well.

Dean and the rest are pioneers in the new world, it does sound “out there” but so is everything else, political situation is fucked 6 ways from Sunday and these guys are done waiting, I am proud to be a part of that project.


Easy steps to starve big corporations

Now this can come as a small surprise to be found on the website like this, sort of diy thingy, but divesting from this madness that we are all in is very much connected to the topic of sustainability.  It is no brainer that big corporations destroy our land, poison our food supply and the waste that they are generating is all the way to the upper lip now. How does that exactly help to divest them, as a last resort of modern voting-with our dollars instead of “ticks” on the ballot.

Every day you shop, you make a choice, choice that will send the business blood-money to a corporation that works very hard to profit beyond anything. Buying fresh produce instead of boxed, coloured shit, that is so unhealthy that the box itself has more nutrients than cereal in it. Buying fresh, local, if you can-support local markets, where people sell organic produce, poison free. These people grow real food, it might be slightly more expensive as the small farmer can not afford mass production, but definitely will be much more beneficial to your body, than anything big corp can provide.

There is another thing that divesting is all about, and this part may come a little hard to comply with: do not buy shit you do do not need. Period, there is not much else to explain in that part, if you do not need another pair of designer jeans that will cost you a weekly pay-simply do not buy it. Luxuries, crap that we do not need are heavily taxed and that means the very corporations messing up our lives will be getting their money to grow and if a corporation grows, it becomes more powerful and sinister. Today it is not governments that run countries, it is companies, corporations that buy and sell politicians like muppets, use them to looby their ideas and dispose them like rag dolls.

If we wait for governments to fix our lives, we will be waiting a long time…

Once  A.Einstein said: you can not solve a problem with the same state of mind that created it.

It is up to us, not government to change things around, they have proven themselves to be clueless a thousand times already.


Wall of wood

I am coming back to the idea of a rustic/pallet style wall. I have been recently to one of the clothing stores that had an amazing wall made out of pallets. Big, flat tv hanging on that wall looked off the hook, the whole project was really amazing.

Now, there is a way to make new pallet wood look this old, but this I will explain in another post. There is also couple of ways of installing planks on the wall. I personally like the idea of placing a sheet of ply on the wall-find the studs and screw it on, either on strips of wood or-if you got nice straight walls-on bare wall. The reason behind that is the comfort of installation late. What I mean by that is, that you will be able to glue/nail different length planks, this base will give you almost canvas like opportunity to play. Also, you will save yourself tons of work in case one day you want to take the whole thing down, there will be no glue, nail holes etc. to worry about.

I have a plan on fitting my bedroom wall this way in the near future, it will be much warmer as well:)




Kitchen as an ultimate hang out place.

I have mentioned in some previous posts that from my childhood I remember guests always hanging out in the kitchen. It was that part of the house where all food was served (apart from official occasions), drinks, talks, all vibe. Not sure why really, maybe because it is a part of every house that brings us all closer to each other-family unit like scheme, never mind. These samples here are something I have found and plan on building in the very near future..

These islands come in many shapes, colours and forms.Being wheeled up ( break supported wheels) it can be moved around at ease making this piece particularity useful around the house and even a garden.

Solid finish in the form of quality varnish ( several coats) would be desirable here, as the kitchen is the place of untold varieties of spills, spices (tumeric being the notorious stainer) and whatever else you like to work with:)


These pallet elements turned into modern furniture.

I came across these designs and honestly, I  think they do stand out, simplicity and a dash of unorthodox  thinking has brought these items quite a lot of attention.  Building process is time consuming, but baby simple and I think that is a part of its beauty.

The important aspect of this design is a colour/finish as well. Keeping light, natural colours that easily find their way into the taste of most people makes it even more desirable. Industrial markings on chip blocks bring this “loft touch” into the whole thing, I am truly impressed with this work.

Best part of that-access to the building materials…


Big logs with the past

Still kind of obsessed with railways sleepers, there is something amazing about furniture made out of those bad boys. Combining this wood with other materials like concrete, all sorts of metal can bring modern looks into another level. This trend in design is being more present every year, I have visited many restaurants, pubs and businesses that fit their interior with this kind of work. Not to mention that anything built this way is basically forever, you would really have to try your best to damage it, nothing like cheap Ikea crap.

Sleepers come in different kinds, one that you should be looking for is hard wood, untreated and most importantly-looking great with mother mature aged looks. These can be purchased online, they are not very expensive, if you can salvage some-even better. Look for smell of diesel, as they were serving their time under tons of steel wheeling over. Make sure they free of that, then get cracking with some SHARP tools:)


Railway sleeper in the garden

These fat bad boys are perfect material for fitting up a garden with some cool ideas. They (if used) have been through hell and back, caring tons of weight, harsh weather conditions and God knows what else, still looking amazing. They can be used for planters, benches, tables all sorts of ideas that will literally transform a boring, flat garden into something a rock star would be proud of.

These can be purchased at a local wood depot and maybe even collected for free, regardless where they come from, it is a gem for a rustic project.

Even small garden can be turn into a fabulous space with little work, best thing in this kind of project is the fact, that it requires really almost no skills, these beams stacked up on each other and connected the simplest way will suffice.


Grey, weathered look still in demand

I have come full circle around to come back to natural, weathered, beat up looks to my project. Number of reasons why really, simplicity to recreate the mother nature is one, but the rustic, yet modern look to an old piece of wood makes the project stand out-plus it goes nicely with almost everything you have around the house.

Now, this kind of boards can be salvaged-get to the companies that handle scaffo, sometimes, they want to get rid off old boards-that is exactly what you could use for all these projects. If that is not an option-buy new scaffo boards and go to town with paints, stains, hammer and beat it up- I will  make a post on how to make those.

These thick boards can be lightly run through the thicknesser, but remember that taking too much off, will leave you with a plane looking piece of wood, then all design goes bye bye.




Copper and wood, working fine together.

Copper pipes and connecting elements are widely available in any hardware store, like B&Q, Wickes etc. It is very easy to work with, cutting the pipes requires a specially designed knife, that is not expensive at all, rest of connectors you can purchase as needed for specific project.

Copper and rustic wood goes really nice together, any finish will look stunning, from real dark walnut to natural oak, even old scaffolding boards lightly sanded will make an eye turning project.

One thing I have noticed working with copper pipes, as you handle them, your hands having some moisture will leave some marks, looking like fatty spots, taking a high grid sand paper- 400 and up and giving it a good rub, will bring beautiful colour back to life.




Modern look with old wood.

These pictures here are of interesting design ideas, where aged wood has been incorporated with clean, white surroundings, tiles, appliances. Some of those beams are genuine fat pieces of wood, but some are built out of boards, those are much lighter and easier to install, but the effect is still remarkable.

Although this wood looks naturally aged, it has to be sealed properly, especially in the bathroom and sink areas, water getting in can do some damage over time.

Nice, wide boards put into the floor make this whole project a lot more interesting and slightly warmer as well, not an easy thing to do, considering the floors hardly ever being completely flat, but it is worth the effort I think.



Scaffolding re invented

Scaffolding boards make a great building material, they are strong and rough, that means there is a lot of room for a creative finish. You can keep sawmill like patterns and add some nice stain, varnish, whatever you like really.

They are thick, so any project done with these bad boys will be a strong and sturdy piece. Adding some hardware will bring the work to another level, specially if you like the industrial/loft style designs.

As with most of wood work, your imagination is limitless really, one thing is worth looking into-the old, naturally aged scaffolding boards, ones that have taken a fair amount of abuse in their lifetime-that finish made by nature will be hard to replicate really. So if you see some old boards at some construction site-ask if you can have them and go to town baby, make something cool out of them.

Have fun.



Glass and wood ideas

Reclaimed, rustic wood works pretty nice with other popular materials, glass is one of them. Some designs can accommodate dark, some plain, other frosted glass panels and make it look good. I myself have built a nice rustic table for my living room a while ago and still use it.

Remember to choose the right glass for the right project, table top must be made out of strong, maybe hardened glass, and the support location is important as well.

Even such simple ideas like a glass top over a pallet wood stands out much more than traditional furniture you can find in most of homes.




Baby cot, 3-wall levelled with mum`s bed.

My baby girl is growing so fast and moses basket is getting too small by the day. I have purchased 8 long boards at a local timber store, all dried and almost sterile for this project as babies like to munch on everything, it is expected for her to bite the cot as well.  When buying wood-take your time, choose ones that are most straight, you will be glad that you did later on. Especially if you do not own a thickness planer just yet;)

First you gotta cut all boards to size, using table saw and chop saw I made all cuts, sometimes I had to straighten some boards before I cut them to make sure I do not waste too much material.

Clean the boards before glue up, the saw dust can collect and make the panel crooked. I have glued the floor panel first, the temp outside comes up to 30 degrees and wood glue will dry pretty quick, few hours (4-6) later is good to go.

The floor panel is ready. There are few tiny cracks in there, which will be fixed using a nice trick I have picked up from one of my wood gurus-Izzy Swan on Youtube. If you take regular wood glue and put some into this crack, pack it in with your finger, then take some saw dust and do the same. It will close the gap and while sanding it down you will make this virtually impossible to spot.

Then there was time for side panels. I have repeated the method with one small difference: all boards will be routed on the sides to give an impression of division. Makes the panel look cool and does not have much impact on strength itself.

The bottom part (on demand of my girlfriend) had to be cut into half circle. I do not have a device to measure a perfect shape, but Youtube was helpful again, this is how you can make a compass of any size using a piece of scrap wood, screw and a pencil:

Then it is sanding and side boards installation that will make the cot much more sturdy and better looking as well.

I also made a empty wall under panel that will make this whole project strong better looking (no pics, forgot;() and cut the bolts to size with a reciprocating saw, later on I will paint the hardware black.

There you go, almost finished. I had learnt a very painful lesson working on this project. I was aware that wood (even dried) will contract or expand to some extend in order to adapt to the moisture in the air. Last week we experienced a wave of heat (over 35 Celsius) and inside my shop container I am sure, the temp rose up to 50 maybe more. I had left my panels for few days and after coming back-they all looked like a letter U. They bent like a pretzel. I managed to fix it up to a large extend, but it was horrible to see how much extra work I had to do. From now on-always clamp your glue ups to the work bench if you are leaving them inside of a scorching hot environment or any extreme circumstances for that matter.

I do debate whether I should install a frame for my tablet or not. I do not let my girl watch any TV, but you can put audio on it, e books, or just a cartoon of YOUR choice for her. Not sure, will see and post it here.

to be continued…




Pallet story continues

This growing trend of natural wood and rustic looking furniture seems to be gaining speed recently. It might be just looks, or quality (in comparison to cheap IKEA chipboard crap) or the individuality of each project, something unique and not so mainstream. In my opinion there is a lot to it really. I honestly think people are just tired, tired of crap, tired of boring designs, even to the point of wiling to pay loads of money to get something unique and high quality.

Is the pallet wood furniture the answer-not the ultimate answer that`s for sure, but it is a good start. Traditional furniture makers deliver wonderful pieces, but hardly ever unique, even ones that are highly advanced to build, are somehow boring (generalizing here).

For me personally, best part of working with this material is it`s ability to change, from form and shape to a variety of finishes, the list is way too long to put it here, but quite literally-your imagination is the only limitation within these boundaries.

Very popular are natural finishes, wood like structure is something people like to go after. I was at one of the Jamie Oliver`s restaurant recently and loads of interior was rough wood, some pieces would give you splinters but it all came together to make a warm and inviting rooms.

The internet is full of tutorials, many of these projects are baby easy to make, I started making those in my bathroom with only one saw until my girlfriend kicked me out and made me rent a shop.

One more thing worth mentioning though-this stuff comes free, pallets are virtually everywhere, break them down, clean them, dry them and off you go-if you mess something up-just pick up another one-no worries.



Coffee maker out of iron pipe and wood

This project is an original idea by Ben Uyeda-one of the people that truly inspires me in my wood working projects, you can find this at homemademodern, Ben`s website.

I used a piece of really nice wood for that, small board I had laying around my shop for a while. Iron pipe elements are simply screwed together-no need for any glues-this is not a hard bashing furniture.

First thing to do was to drill some holes for the glass tubes-wide 22 and a cordless drill took care of that-keep in mind not to drill through your bench tough.

The rest of it is really walk in the park, screw the iron pipes elements, screw them into the wooden deck and viola-job done.

The glass tubes needed some corks-I used wine cork, just needed to slim it down on my belt sander.

One, actually 2 last things to finish it off- put some teak oil to enhance the wood grain and clear coat-2, maybe 3 coats to make sure you can spill as much coffee on it as you like and not damage it.

All done, quick job.