Category Archives: Resource

Where you can find never-ending source of building material.

Kitchen spice rack

Sunday morning on the way to my shop ( yah, I am dork working on Sunday) I found this cool and fresh long board pallet. I decided to use this for a project for my kitchen-a spice rack. Wood was really fresh and completely dry, it must have been indoors and just disposed, maybe hours before I came across.

It took me about 15 minutes to break it down and take it to my shop for de nailing process.  After that I cut it to size and trimmed edges on my table saw to make sure I can put them together into a nice and fit wall. I also sanded the back with 40 grid, to make the bottom side nice and smooth.

I have then started applying colours on top side of the UNSANDED boards, black chalkboard spray paint is the way to go, it is super easy and dries in seconds.

Make sure not to spray too thick, as this will prolong the sanding process and time, before you get the desired look.

All sprayed and sanded smooth with 180 grid and an orbital sander. Some cast iron elements will  make this more practical and improves the looks a lot. I will put some hooks on that pipe for pans and other stuff to hang on.

Before assembly, last thing I did was to stain the boards separately and then sand them with 180 to give them tile like looks. If you do that before you assemble the wall-you will be able to expose the edges, otherwise it would be impossible to get that once all boards are tied together into a wall.

I used pocket hole screws and glue to bind the boards into a wall, then I installed a natural wood trim around it. The only thing left to install were couple of shelves for spices and jars. At the very end I put a fair amount of teak oil over it to make the colours more vibrant and that`s it really. The whole unit is super light, and will be a nice addition to my kitchen. Later on, I have changed my mind and installed a shorter piece of pipe on one end, just to make it a bit smaller. And the piece that sticks out-it is for my kitchen apron or a cloth-I always misplace those while cooking:)

It turned out quite good in my opinion, and it was a fun way to recycle some perfectly good wood, probably a day or two from a landfill.

P.

 

 

New approach to old stuff.

I have an idea that is not really all that new, but it is kinda rare to say the least. Living in the country with so much history, it is not a big stretch to get your hand on something that has a long history behind itself. Like old pub furniture, boats, metal works etc.

Now, I am not advocating breaking in and stealing things, but there are places completely abandoned for a number of years out there. Some boats are rotting on the shore, some buildings have no doors or windows and no living being has been there for decades. That could be a pace to find some treasures. Maybe not always in terms of solid furniture, but definitely building materials, pieces of wood, mouldings, some hardware, things of that nature that later can be incorporated into a wonderful masterpiece.

Even small things, like hooks, hardware, ropes etc. can be turned into a vintage looking piece that will bring a nice accent to your room or business and apart from that-it does have a story behind it. Imagine having a coffee table made out of a wood that came from a boat, that for decades had been sailing the oceans, that circled around the world and now is in your living room…cool stuff.

 

 

Best way to break down the pallets.

When I started this business, I have spent a considerable amount of time collecting building materials, most in the form of pallet wood. Those are very easy to find and most of the local businesses are happy to spare some, especially if they are not so new (which is great) or simply damaged in some way.

Once you get to them, next step is breaking them down and the rest of the process (denailing etc). I have tried multiple ways to do this efficiently, from crowbars, to bricks, mullets and whatever else you can think of. Most of the time, it was very painstaking process taking way too much time and effort, until..

Until I have bought a tool called reciprocating saw with long blade, variable speed and 750 W power, my trouble days were over. You can find a lot videos on Youtube on how to use this tool (pallet pal for example) or that tool, but honestly for me-that saw does it.

Simply pry the boards a bit with a crowbar and cut the nails with reciprocating saw-it will fall apart and the only thing you got left to worry about are nails, most important thing is that almost no wood will break in the process. Whilst I was hammering away, jumping on pallets and muscling away with big crow bars, about 30% of wood would break and end up in the dumpster. It is a pain in the butt, because not only the wastage, but also disposal of broken boards.

So, there you have it, in my humble opinion there is no better war that cutting the nails with the saw I mentioned above and getting the nails out later.

P.

Lift company and free wood.

These fresh, thick pine boards come from a company that sells commercial lifts. Each lift comes in a big wooden box, made out of rough wood, fresh from the mill, yes-with all blade marks that are so sought after.

These guys are super nice and let me harvest these boards on regular basis, break them, de nail them and dry them-ready to use. They are happy as well, some of these boards are broken and not very fit to use by them again, so I clean them up….and this is where they end up:

This unit is made out the boards I reclaimed from that lift company. Light sanding makes it soft to touch, but all mill marks, saw marks were saved to give this piece a real rustic unit. Metal corners and 5 meter led light installed in the back of the wall bring nice touch and serves the dual purpose, lights up the room and led lights  take next to nothing of electricity. Walnut combo-stain/varnish looks really cool. I highly recommend these products, you get the colour you want and protection in on swing.

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The hardest part of the job.

This process of reclaiming wood is truly demanding. Not only collecting pallets, but braking them down and de-nailing boards is something that requires hard work and some tools.  First of all, not all pallet wood is good to work with.

pallet symbols

Ones that have a symbol HT, which means “Heat Treated” are safe, try to avoid MB- this stands for chemical treatment with “Methyl Bromide”- that means there are some chemicals in the wood and they can be potentially dangerous. When you cut them, sand them-loads of small particles become airborne, not a good thing though, just avoid using them all together.

It is not too difficult to get pallets, most of the stores and businesses have tons of them, and quite often they will be happy to get rid off some of them, especially ones that are broken or damaged.

On the picture to the right, you can see couple of electric saws, the green one is especially useful. Now, you can see tons of videos on YouTube of how to break a pallet, but from my own experience using this reciprocating saw to cut nails is the best idea so far. It is a good practise to use a pry bar to make a little room between the boards, so the blade can work easily, this saw cuts through the thick nails like butter.

Next step is taking the nails out.  I try to rescue as much of the boards as I can, and pull the nails out later. Some come out easily, some-not at all.  Some nails are so deep, that if you flip the board and hammer through with the puncher the head of the nail will damage the surface of the board. My advice- leave them in, if you build rustic projects, this little rust and dark nail hole will look awesome after staining it.

These pictures below show how a nail head pops through and breaks off some surface. It is kind of counter productive saving the entire length of the board, to damage it at the very end.

You can always deal with something like that while getting your project together, many times you will need to cut to length, so play around and cut the parts that are damaged or have too many nails to pull them all.

And this is the effect of 5 hours of prep labour.

This is fair amount of really nice wood, there is quite a few things you can build out of this amount of wood and all it cost me was 5 hours of work. We`ll see what comes up out of this, I will keep you posted.

 

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Weird sources for building material.

I have spent couple of hours on these bed frames, well-the boxes as I call them, because they are not proper frames. Inside of those cloth covered items-you can find some boards, usually pine.

What is interesting is the fact that they are not very well planed or sanded smooth. Why is that a good thing-when you use those for your rustic projects, sand them lightly, keep the surface imperfections intact-after you apply your finish, they will look absolutely awesome. It would be really hard to achieve this look simply by destroying/ageing a nice/store bought board.

Now, I know this is not an easy job, especially taking staples and nails out, but hey- there is no way you will be able to recycle wood without getting some splits in your hands. Buy yourself some decent tool, I just bought a reciprocating saw with the blade to cut metal (nails)- I can not stretch enough how  much easier my life has become.

 

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If you look close enough..

Building material for this kind of projects is in such abundance that it is hard to express. All around us, there are multiple construction sites, skips, piles of wood that are waiting to be removed to landfill.

Old barns are especially attractive, wood is usually aged beautifully and has a rustic look. Another great way to collect material is to look online for ads, as people want someone to come and remove piles of old flooring or other wood “junk” for them. It`s a symbiotic arrangement- you get stuff for free-he gets it removed at no charge.

This is all about creativity and using the resources at hand, there are literally no limits to how much get you collect and what you can make of it. And trust me, finished product can be so cool, that people will pay top dollars for it…