Plywood at play

Plywood boards do not usually bring about a picture of a cool furniture, more likely a structural part of any project, but if you look a bit closer to some ideas that use this material, you might be pleasantly surprised. Plywood comes in many kinds-wood wise and variety of thickness which makes it a nice and easy material to build with. One thing is to be careful about is the quality and flatness of a board. You do not have much room for error in this department, heavy belt sanding or planning a plywood is out of the picture really-if you do not want to destroy the board, so choose wisely, look closely and pick the most perfect piece.

OSB boards are totally different texture, but also make an unique building material, rough look combined with modern design and other materials like metal or concrete make a super cool combination, definitely not something you can buy at IKEA.

Look up some vids on Youtube, you can literally find tons of tutorials on the subject, most of the wood working guys keep it real simple as well, I also learn from them a lot on regular basis.

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Every little helps…divestment continues.

How about instead of spending little more on useless crap we do not need-instead, we divest little more each year? Maybe planting a small garden where you could grow chives and other small things instead importing them from Peru (how is that for a mind f….k?!?!) Most people living in big cities think that this garden idea is a thing of a past, or at least a thing relevant to the people living in rural areas. Not necessarily I would say.  Of course the amount of space within a city place and a farm is nowhere near comparison, but trust me, there are ways of making in possible to eat a fresh carrot right off your soil.

Simple veg planters can be made out of pallet wood you can literally collect for free behind almost any shop in the city. Internet is full of instructional videos of how to build one of those and it does not require any sophisticated tools to accomplish that, almost caveman toolbox would be sufficient.

Once you have one of those, get some GMO free seeds and viola, pretty soon you will be eating something that not only tastes better but is certainly a lot more healthy for ya.

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Dock your phone

I have come across these ideas just recently when I finally purchased my first router. These wood carved media docks look really cool, they are usually baby easy to make and they fit into a modern/lofty interior design. Majority of work is done with the help of a router, and the wood selection can vary from nice and expensive ones straight into reclaimed pallet wood.

These can be personalised as well, making it a nice gift for anyone.

Small pieces can make a big project

There are many ways to utilize even a smallest piece of nice wood, it is kind of wood worker obsession NOT to bin any wood at all. After awhile, you start collecting even the most weird pieces in hopes one day you will make something out of it. That day has to come once in a while, otherwise your shop will be getting smaller every month, until you start feeling like you sit in a Russian tank. These pics here are just few samples of what is possible to make out of seemingly rubbish looking scrap.

This below is my attepmt to create a coffee table out of these elements. Ii purposely choose many types of wood for this project, thus the top colours are so many. I have stained the whole top though, then sanded through with 180 grid and exposed the wood scaprs, looks kinda nice I think. Legs are made out of rescued 2×4`s I have picked up from my friendly shipping company that hooks me up with free wood on the regular basis-thanks guys!

I will take some proper pictures and post them again, this is really fun project, I have build the top slightly different way-but I will explain all in another post.

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Moulding concrete

There are people who make really amazing things out of ordinary concrete, not only structural parts but also artistic, furniture and tons more. I will be playing with introducing this material into my projects this weekend, I decided to put some samples here for you to see what’s possible with some imagination and a little work. I have come across some guys who really take this art into another dimension, in my previous post I introduced the idea of combining stone/concrete and wood. This is more about how to turn regular grey concrete mix into something off this planet.

Now, you will most likely start your project with building the frame, foundations and preparing the surface for concrete mix, but once you are there-these tips might come in handy. Believe it or not, these pics below are samples of regular concrete shaped into stone like pieces that come together in beautiful harmony with wood accents for example.

There are few ways to shape still soft concrete into these wonderful stones-ready to use moulds are one of them, but hand carving is a lot more artistic and in my opinion-a lot more fun to do.

There are moulds on the market that can do the job for you, and it will be done in a lot quicker way, press-like stone shapers-all you have to do is to press it firmly against the wet concrete to get the looks you`re after. Whichever way you choose to go with, I am sure you will have a lot of fun with it.

Last part of the project is colouring the stone. There are again few ways of doing it, from stone stain available on the market to acid staining technique that is based on the chemical reaction that occurs between the acid and particles that are inside the concrete mix. The only downside of this application is the fact that your control over the final colour is somehow limited as you do not know how intense the chemical reaction will be thus the saturation of colour is a bit in question.

Take a look at these guys, they have been in business for a long time and it looks like they can mould concrete into almost anything.

Give it a shot, have fun.

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Window planter

I needed a planter that would keep my herbs and wheat grass on the window nicely. This one is made of reclaimed boards-still have some bark on it-hard to find though. I jointed them with long dowels and some corner hardware, clear coat and nothing else made it look this cool.

planter

This can be ordered, made and shipped within one day. I am looking to start building balcony planters and small gardens-urban friendly that would allow people in apartment complexes have some life and fresh herbs handy.

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Stone and wood in harmony

Stone and wood, hard and soft combination can be something very interesting indeed. Texture and colours,  all in harmony creating not only visually attractive modern furniture, but also very practical and unbelievably durable items that will definitely withstand the test of time.

These items find their way into the houses, gardens even bedrooms and bathrooms. I have seen some amazing ideas that will make your go gaga and the best part is-they are not too difficult to make. Concrete is easy to work with considering you stick to basic rules of material and time frame this material allows to play with. Wood, especially reclaimed timber and its abundance is very forgiving as well, and the idea combinations are literally endless.

Now, concrete can be also applied on the floor, making it extremely durable and pretty as well. There is a way to acid stain the concrete thus making the minerals within the concrete mix react with the acid stain and bring soooo pretty colours up.

Staining process is not very hard, there are tons of tutorials online and acid stain is not very expensive.

Have fun;)

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Sliding door project

This project is something I have been  working currently. Last few days I spent on building the support wall. Previously I had prepared most of my wood in my shop. I managed to reclaim some of the building materials, some I had to purchase-like 2×4`s and plywood to put under wall`s mosaic.  Every field trip is a lot more challenging as you have to transport a lot of equipment from your shop-big help is a detailed list made ahead of time, driving back through London in traffic to pick up something can be a pain in the butt.

Big help in building the mosaic wall is preparing all the planks to the same size, width and thickness, length will be adjusted on site. That makes the life a lot easier, although you must spend some time at the table saw.

Framing was the first thing to go-all the rest of it will be installed on that frame. Simple joinery, reinforced butt joints will serve the purpose. Light cherry sand wood varnish/stain was applied onto the frame.

Next step was the plywood screwed onto the frame support beams inside-I have installed them onto the wall and to the frame itself to give it a bit more strength.  Plywood is held by screws-no nails or glue-I wanted to make this project possible to reclaim back at some point in the future.

Planks go next, all pre-cut and pre-sanded needed just a cut to length, some glue and a nail gun to find their way onto the wall.  I have chosen many different types of wood for these,  many colours, all naturally aged, nail holes and cracks bring some cool character.

Teak oil was the last part for this section, brings the colours up a lot, at the very end, clear coat will be applied onto the whole project.

Next part was building the door-long boards and a vertical slit for the glass panel were put together with pocket screws. Top and bottom horizontal boards made this a lot more sturdy and provided additional support for the hardware.

These boards were reclaimed from shipping company in my local area, sanded and teak oiled to intensify natural colours, nothing else. Being in close proximity to a mosaic wall they had to be simple and natural looking, otherwise this whole project would look like a mish-mash.

The only things that are still coming are door handle and a glass panel, it was a fun project.

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Hanging out in the kitchen.

When I was growing up, for some reason kitchen was THE place to hang out. When we had people coming over to see my parents, instead of sitting in the living room, they all seemed to be drawn into the kitchen.  Back then living in central Europe resources were somehow limited and traditional cheap, cardboard crap was on the menu. Today is different, we have got tons of options, and surprisingly people go back to roots more often, wood, reclaimed timber and such are on the rise being a good sign in my opinion.

I especially like the islands-those free standing units that have a stove/cooker incorporated in them. A nice addition to that is a ceiling mount sort of island-for all your pans etc.

I will not be too original opting for dark walnut finish, but I think these colours look really nice with all kitchen appliances.

Also thick, wooden cupboards, mounted or free standing give this “good`ol farm house” feeling that brings some warmth into the place.

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Spend some time at the computer daily?

If you`re one of the people who spend tons of time at the computer and you like rustic wood-these samples could accommodate your needs and give you ideas of what is out there possible to build or simply buy.

Comfort is a priority number one for most people, but if you could get away with comfy desk that also looks amazing-then why not. Great thing about bespoke furniture is that you can order them precisely the way you want, design, size, materials, finish etc.

Pallet wood and barn wood seems to be the choice for a lot of these ideas, but really-there are no limits to your imagination, pipe legs, metal hardware and all sorts of goodies can be implemented in this kind of work.

I personally love the ones with pipe legs and wine boxes as drawers, simple, yet interesting, walnut finish, maybe some sanding before applying clear coat. Have fun.

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Sitting comfortably.

Nice couch, a place where you can sit you bum down after a long day sure is an important part of your house. It would be also nice to have one that apart from comfort, brings some character to your place, it is solid, made out of good materials and if it can be build out of reclaimed timber-it`s even better (sorry, couldn`t help).

There is a variety of materials that can make a functional and pretty looking couch-from railway sleepers, pallet wood to plywood (I have seen some amazing ideas in this department). All of these must be fitted with nice and thick cushions in the colours that would match the wood.

And of course, if you`re building an indoor piece-pillows are a must, cosy atmosphere, dimmed light and rustic wood will make the room naturally inviting, warm and comfortable.

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Another life for a wine barrel.

Wine barrels are not the easiest item to find, but if you manage to buy one and it is still in good condition-you can turn it into a cool furniture that will spin some heads around. Characteristic curvature of wood and beautiful colours add a lot of character into design making it something that is not seen too often.

From a coffee table, chairs into the lamp ideas and even sink incorporated into a wine barrel. Those ideas are not only worth noticing-they are fun to make. Curved wood looks pretty, but it makes it a bit more difficult to work with as your options to shape the boards are somehow limited-you will not be able to put the board though a planer for example, that means a lot more manual work.

Those barrels perfectly accommodate metal hardware , they have been designed to use those elements as a strengthening addition and leaving them on can be a wise decision.

So, if you ever come across a wine barrel-do not pass it, get it home and have fun, those items can be a nice addition to your home, garden or a shop.

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Connection era-producing what?

It is a fact that this time in human history belongs to connectivity, the industrial era has passed, leaving us with modern technology and tons of cool and useful inventions. But there is a lot more to this, we have come to a place where we hold a HDTV in the palm of a hand and yet- I personally know quite a few people who do not know how to change a friggin` light bulb, let alone fix something or build anything.

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We can connect with our friends across the world in a split of a second and we do not develop any life skills at all. We come to order most of the stuff online, we buy everything, most cheap crap from China, our ability to support life has come nearly to zero.

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I have people-teenagers in my family that spend most of their time on Facebook, they have never kicked a football or climbed a tree, their bodies are weak and fragile and stamina is non existing. Sad but true, today young people open their mouth seeing some gorilla style invention, any hand work becomes a challenge, and logical thinking is being replaced by Google.

Where am I going with all this-companies like Facebook, Twitter and plenty more are worth billions of dollars and yet-when you really think of it-they do not produce anything. True, they can be a tool to connect with people and thus help get your business more advertising but in itself-their worth it somehow illusionary. If I wake up tomorrow and Facebook is gone-my life will not change at all. I will still have hot water, light, food and all I need to function, I will barely notice their disappearance. Try doing that with your agriculture dept, or water plant, or lets get rid of plumbers tomorrow-you will see where life essentials really exist.

I am not mocking any of these businesses or people working there-just to be clear, I am although advocating teaching and learning some more useful skills that tapping a phone or posting pictures.  Does it have to be wood work-hell no, it can be just about anything, as long as it develops life skills, imagination, creativity and such, not merely staring at the screen or watching celebrity crapola.

Just my 2 cents into this web obsessed world…

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Split the ceiling with rustic wood.

Ceiling beams can be a nice addition to the whole design, they can be finished in many ways to suit the interior, I personally like the idea of naturally aged wood, if you can savage the material off course.

Wooden beams can be installed on the bare ceiling, wall, angled wall or can be an addition into a rustic board ceiling. There are many options available and this below is a little hack that can make the pallet wood boards look like a seriously heavy beam.

These 3 wall boxy thing will be installed on the ceiling simply with brad nails, mitre cut makes sure no visible end grain is present and with a little sand paper and some stain it can really pull the trick and fool the eye into perceiving it as a nice, fat beam. One more good thing coming from this hack-it is a lot lighter than a really heavy wood beam.

Once support beam is installed onto the ceiling-it can be fresh 2×4 or even something bit smaller-we take a brad nailer and go to town-shoot the boxy beam on. I suggest to finish the wood before installing onto the ceiling, sanding and staining while it is on-might be harder than you think;)

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Slide it/divide it-multifunctional wooden door.

This is an old idea that has been in use by many designers as well as folks that like DIY and have some spare time on their hands. Sliding door, made of wood mostly, but metal elements are a frequent guests within this frame work so to speak.  Door that can have a wall type functionality can be a fun project and something that brings an interesting accent into a flat.

They come in various shapes and types, from reclaimed barn wood to pallet wood and even a previously used door find their way into re purposed project. Depending on design and material used for this idea, this kind of door can be quite heavy, so bear in mind that the wall mountings must be proper and will withstand the weight.  Some doors I have seen are made out of naturally looking boards, not trimmed and left to form an original pattern, this is all a matter of taste really, there is no right or wrong in here, that is a cool fact-it is all up to you.

The hardware required to fit this type of door can be purchased online, it is usually not cheap, you are looking to spend over £100 for a complete set, but there is no way around it really, unless you got a nicely fit shop that can manufacture these. Set of iron wheels, mounts and track is what you need to be able to hung these up without worrying they will squash you some Sunday morning.

Some of these can be installed in the way that would divide the room into 2 compartments, sliding option is not really the main role here, more like a decorative accent.

And when you get bored with these-take them down, fit some legs and turn it into a dining table;)

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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.

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Reclaim your floor.

The idea of reclaimed wood installed on floor is not new by far, what is new-is the popularity of this concept. More and more people find this particular design in demand, despite a whole range of traditional hard wood flooring widely available. What`s the trick in all that-I think it is the world wide trend of being tired of “good`ol well travelled path” so to speak.

If you can afford a traditional hard wood floor, you can definitely put some effort into getting one made entirely from reclaimed wood. Some of those can be pricey, I seldom buy wood in a reclaimed depot, they usually charge a fair amount of money for things like old scaffolding wood boards, barn wood etc. Reason being is that takes a considerable amount of work to salvage wood, some equipment that is not cheap and man hours to make this all happen.

But the effect speaks for itself, the minute you walk into a house with this kind of floor, you get-well-“floored”. It is a quite unique way to fit your living room, or any room for that matter. Best part of it all-as opposed to “ready to install” hard wood panels-with these boards, you can play Picasso if you like. I mean, there a many ways of colouring reclaimed wood to make it look absolutely awesome, so got to town mate, grab some spray paint, some stains and varnishes and let it rip, do what you like with it.

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Display units for another shop owner.

These units are part of the new clothing design shop that will be soon open at Elephant and Castle. I picked them up (4 in total) in order to give them a bit of a rustic up scale.

The owner chose to build the small boards all around the units, I carefully selected many types of wood for this project so after it is all done and sanded, it does get this colour distinctive effect. Boards were cut to small size, so the entire project was truly time consuming and labour intense, but it was well worth it.

I also installed some shelving in one of the units and 2 sets of led light tape in others. The warm white light really gives away this nice glow without altering the colours of clothing inside.

Teak oil was applied over all wooden elements to bring the colours up a bit and some clear satin varnish to protect the wood.

Fun project, it is a way to keep your favourite furniture and give the a make over to fit their new environment, the rustic way off course:)

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Clever way to upscale furniture.

Decoupage is one of the techniques that can turn an old furniture, or simply one that looks flat out boring into something totally amazing. The work itself is not very complicated and do not require any special equipment, anyone can buy some decoupage glue and a paper of their choice and get cracking with it.

Paper is flexible enough to cover most of the furniture surfaces without any trouble at all, being wet from the glue you must be careful with the application if you do not want to rip it. But the effect can be interesting and the whole process is fun to make.

Quick tutorial, there are tons of them on Youtube, have fun;

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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.