This is a custom-built table request that I just completed, made from shipping pallets. Three kinds of wood from different pallet sources were used in constructing the table: pine, oak, and cedar. Overall dimensions are 30” x 30” x 15”.
The surface of the table top is sanded smooth, but left intentionally uneven, as the pallet planks used to construct the top varied in thickness. The requester wanted the sides to bare the markings and stamps typically associated with shipping pallets, and the wood overall retained the markings, flaws, scars, and wear from years of industrial use, from the elements, and from the pallets original manufacturing.
I am working on a custom request for a customer who wants a small rolling pallet table, and these are some pics from the very early stages of that process.
I first located the pallets I wanted, then had to cut them down to fit into my car (I don’t have a truck yet!) Once I get them home, I begin to completely disassemble them. These were tougher than usual to break down because they were held together with the kind of heavy duty pallet nails that were never meant to come out. Plus, many of the nail heads broke off, making things even more interesting. And lastly, that sure is some dense, hard-ass oak!
My first goal is to salvage as many of the nice main pallet ‘runners’ as I can, i.e. the ones with text, stamps, or colors that I can use to incorporate into the design. I also salvage as much of the deck wood as I can.
Next step will be to start milling down all the wood into usable pieces, and begin the construction of the table top. More details and pics to come…
I’ve been using a hand plane for the first time, and I really enjoy working with it a lot. I am amazed at how easy and quick it is to plane uneven wood by hand. I am planning on getting a few more planes for sure, in different sizes. My general plan is to have one for rough jointing, one for intermediate planing, and one for final smoothing. I am also planning on getting a chisel set, so learning how to sharpen the planes and chisels will be a high priority.
The latest version of the scratching post - both a wall mounted version and a free standing floor version, should be ready to install in our apartment for testing within the next day or so. I finished up all the wood work today in the shop, and coated them in a layer of dark walnut danish oil. Tomorrow I will add the manila (instead of sisal), then bring them up for the kitties to try out.
For my first project these have certainly turned out to be a labor of love, and quite the learning curve. I guess it’s good in a way that I started with something relatively complicated! I am certainly learning a lot already, taking notes to streamline the process for the future.
I recently came up with another version of the cube tree prototype that I have been toying with - this one included all 3/4” birch ply, the addition of yellow and orange accent panels, an extended base for stability, and the addition of Floor carpet tiles onto the top of three different cubes.
I like where the look of this new version is going, but I am still unhappy with some of the structural issues. This is definitely a case of form fighting function.
I actually have a another idea for a tree that I want to try out, so for now this version will go onto the side burner (as opposed to the back burner). I’ll keep toying and tinkering with this one…but I think it still has a way to go. My other tree idea will combine elements of this cube tower, plus features that I liked about a very early version of a cat tree that I constructed this summer, which allowed for a sort of spiraling staircase for the cats to use in navigating up and down the structure. In fact, that early tree prototype was the very first thing that I worked on in my shop!
Welcome to the Handsome Craftworks blog. I am in the very early stages of establishing a small, part-time one-person art and design practice that will feature hand crafted lamps, artwork, and furniture. I plan on using this blog as a way to catalog different stages of the making process, and to share things that I find inspiring/useful/interesting.
The following is more detailed information about me, the shop, and this blog in case you want to know more. Thanks for stopping by!
MOTIVATION FOR THIS BLOG
I am always fascinated and inspired when I run across blogs or websites that feature behind-the-scenes images and notes on a creator’s conceptual and physical making process (or when they share their trouble-shooting experience with particular tools, materials, or methods), and I am a huge fan of sharing information and knowledge in general. I believe that we benefit collectively from sharing ideas and knowledge, even if only as sources of inspiration.
Architects, musicians, and writers borrow from each other all the time, and so do artists in general - although many do not like to admit it! Woodworkers definitely often share ideas and experiences online. A specific recent example for me of benefiting from shared online knowledge: I bought a used power miter saw and discovered that some internal parts were damaged and needed to be replaced. I quickly found someone’s blog who had gone through the same problem, and who had posted detailed notes and images on how to fix it. It worked, and the saw works like new. This (free!) information saved me a lot of time and money. Part of the inspiration for this blog is to participate in this process of sharing information and ideas on both creative and technical issues.
MOTIVATION FOR THE WORK
As I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate “slow movements”, DIY, and up/recycle culture more and more. I realize that these movements are not new and have been developing for many years, but they are still nonetheless important influences on me and my art practice, and nothing to do with being trendy. Don’t get me wrong - I love technology and gadgets. But I have a strong desire to work with my hands and create in ways that are thoughtful, deliberate, and meaningful - qualities that resist the ongoing societal tendencies toward over-consumption, waste, and information saturation. Something critical is lost when objects made by unseen faces in unseen places are cranked out under inhumane working conditions, compensation, and schedules, only to be consumed by unseen others in far away places and discarded into a landfill after their short useful lifespan has expired.
I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in art, with an emphasis and interest in interdisciplinary practice. My history working as a drafter shows up in a lot of my work, and that aesthetic is a nice compliment to my love of maps, diagrams, and data/information visualization. My wife Julia is immensely supportive of these projects, and she is also my muse when it comes to talking through ideas and getting her feedback. I am deeply indebted to her.
I look forward to comments, questions, and feedback on future blog posts and on the products themselves as they become finalized. Stay tuned as things develop, and thanks again for stopping by.