Candle Sconces with Pallet Wood

Rustic Candle Sconces

Last year I redecorated my Man Cave and left the walls as exposed Concrete Blocks (after sealing it for water and painting them)*.  I love it, but hanging things on the wall without damaging the water seal has been a challenge, to say the least!  For the most part I’ve used twisted wire to hang paintings and posters.  But I have a couple of small metal candle sconces that do not hang right with that method.

I’ve been chewing on the best way to tackle this for a year.  I’ve even tried a couple of ideas that failed.  The other day I had an idea to make a rustic frame out of pallet wood. However when I got to the barn and sifted through my pallet lumber another, even simpler idea hit me.

Funny, how that happens. The wood, itself, suggested the idea!  Results are below.  What do you think?


Turning a Chisel Handle – Without a Lathe

My Grandfather Cecil made his living as a Carpenter in the mines (among other skills he self-taught himself).  I inherited a couple of old toolboxes from him that I like to go through every now and again. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have loaded up a few truck fulls of items from his basement workshop (Oh, yeah! He build his own house).  Anyway, I only have the boxes of tools.  I go through them from time to time for inspiration, education and sometimes I grab one of the tools to see if I can’t breathe some life back into it.

While rummaging through the boxes the other day I found a couple of old chisels.  One was concave and the other was a small, but badly bruised straight chisel.  The blade was rusty and banged up — but serviceable, but the handle was about gone.  I found my project!

I don’t have a lathe, so this was going to be a learning experience.

I wanted the new handle to withstand more hammering, so I grabbed a small 2×4 oak board that was left over from a recent pallet build.  Did I mention I DON’T HAVE A LATHE?  Yeah, this was going to be fun.

I cut the board down and cut the corners off on my band saw.  After quickly realizing I was not going to make any progress whittling the handle, I remembered seeing others use a drill press as a vertical lathe.  I tried it, but the drill press was nowhere near fast enough.  I ALSO remembered seeing others change the speed on drill presses by changing belts and pulleys in the top.  This was my father’s Sears Craftsman drill press so I had no idea if it could do the same.  IT COULD!  I was in business!

Or so I thought.  My chisels still weren’t working because I don’t have a solid tool rest.  I even tried just SANDING the piece down.  It’d probably work, if I didn’t mind working on it for 6 months.

That’s when I got the idea to try using a small cheapo plane from Harbor Frieght.  Man, did THAT do the trick!!

I’m still working on the finish and the blade, but here’s the chisel with the new handle.  I’m really bad at not taking before and after photos.  Here’s an after, at least.


It’s All About Storage

Between projects is when I clean my workshop and brainstorm on making the most of my small space.  Does anyone else struggle with holding onto pallet wood for that one GREAT project?  I’m terrible about it. I tried it like gold!  I pick through the boards over and over telling myself I NEED to save this one JUST IN CASE.  As you can see below, I have a LOT of pallet wood stored all around and above my shop.

Anyway, I finally broke down and put some of my pallet wood to good use. Storage boxes to hold pallet wood!  Nothing fancy – okay, a couple have wheels, but otherwise they are just scrap boxes make of scrap.  Oh, and the wheels are reclaimed as well.


Birdhouse 3.0

I wrote an article on Linkedin about it, but I recently found myself downsized after 10 years in a great position in the IT field.  The article focused on the value of hobbies to keep your mind active and positive between jobs.  It’s been over a month and I’m still looking.  The two upsides are 1) I did at least get a severance package and 2) I’m spending some time in my workshop!  You can check out the article here:

This project blog is going to be an update to an older project: the humble birdhouse.  I wanted to continue the idea of using reclaimed wood — and have it still LOOK like reclaimed wood.  Rustic is the word I’m looking for, I guess.

If your remember, the first birdhouse project was a rebuild of one my father built several years ago.  The only different between the two was his was made with store bought lumber and cheerfully painted. I’m happy to report that it has been the home of one or two families of birds (not sure the kind).  I tried to snap a few photos of mom and dad bird coming and going but it seemed best to leave them alone.  There was one very funny time dad bird had fetched a VERY LARGE branch and was trying to get it inside the next.  I just imagined a comical exchange with momma bird asking dad bird what he was thinking.  Bird-brain!

My new birdhouse is mine from start to scratch.  I looked through several pintrest ideas, of course, but in the end I just let the materials available talk to me.  I’m not really sure it’s all that good for a REAL birdhouse. This is mainly a prototype and porch decoration.  That is, until someone moves in.


Close up

Alternative Wall Shelving

When I remodeled our basement Rec Room to create my “Man Cave / Game Room” I got rid of a freestanding fireplace and two built-in floor to ceiling shelves on either side.  To complete the remodeling, I needed to come up with suitable replacements.  Some of the shelf space would be replaced by new shelves I built under the stairs but those would only be used to store the games.

The renovation was partly needed to waterproof the hidden concrete block wall.  After a few coats of DryLoc and paint, I decided to leave the concrete wall exposed.  It added to the ‘manly look’ of the new Man Cave, but it would also allow me to keep an eye on how well the waterproofing worked.  It realized it would be counter productive to mount any shelves to the wall since any bolts, screws or nails would jeopardize all the work I’d done to keep the water out.

I decided on two ideas.  A set of shelves would be built from the floor up out of boards and blocks under and beside the large window.  A second set of shelves against the long wall would be based on a few Pinterest posts I’d seen made out of boards and pipe and hung from the rafters.


Years ago I made a set of shelves from several 12″ x 12″ x 4″ decorative hollow blocks with a diagonal piece in the middle for my college dorm room.  That was the inspiration for this – plus I had a few left over… until I broke a couple moving them.  AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!!!

Anyway, I needed new ones.  I found a local block maker who told me YES! They were the ones who made and sold those diagonal decorative blocks a couple of decades ago, but NO! They no longer make them.  The sold the molding machine overseas.  On the upside he said the ones I have left are probably worth something to someone.

They had nothing close to what I wanted so after talking to the owner I left.  Something was nagging at me.  Surely I could come up with SOMETHING that would work!  I turned my car around and went back to talk to the owner.  After explaining what I needed them for he had an idea.  They had 12″ x 12″ x 8″ blocks with a HORIZONTAL support that they could cut in half… for pennies.  REALLY!  Cut me up a bunch!

I painted these black and finished all the boards with Boiled Linseed Oil.

When building the shelves I left the short boards by the windows as floating by putting two blocks on the side nearest the wall and making sure to keep blocks on top of those to carry the weight.  It gives a nice updated look to the standard block and board shelves.


I could have made this cheaper by going with black pipe, but that would have involved cleaning (they tend to be very greasy) and spray painting since I wanted the galvanized look.  This isn’t difficult, but it takes some planning and a lot of imagination.  You also have to balance aesthetics with the practicality of supporting the weight of the boards and items on them.  As I said earlier, I mounted these to the exposed ceiling supports.  Everything is solid!

I purchased several different lengths and bends as well as a valve to keep it interesting.  I also staggered where the pipes went as much as possible.  I think it turned out great!

I’m sorry for not taking pictures of the build process, but it’s not like there is much to them.  Here are some photos of the end result.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions.


Rolling Shelf / Hidden Door

I didn’t document the build since this was pretty straightforward.  The interesting part of the project was the functionality.

This is part of my basement renovation.  Part of the storage area under the basement stairs is largely inaccessible and therefore unusable.  I decided I could redesign the supports and gain better access – but how would I cover the opening?  A door would be obvious, but a rolling shelf could serve two purposes – extra storage and… access to extra storage!

The shelf is made of 12″x1″ boards, a thin plywood backing and 8, 1-1/2″ casters.  The face frame is made from pallets… of course!

I gave it a simple finish of Boiled Linseed Oil.


Faux Window Light

This is an unusual project.  My step-son is occupying a room we built in the basement that has no windows.  It also has no ceiling light, as the ceiling is kinda low in that room.  I saw one of these faux window lights on Pintrest and thought it would be a perfect solution for both problems.

I’d sketched up several versions of this trying to get the cuts just right, but realized I was making it unnecessarily complicated.  I was trying to find a way to cut everything on one board.  In the end, the sides were cut as two different pieces.  The main piece was cut to mount the LED lights to and incorporate the white backing material.  The face frame would then be mounted to it.  This gave me flexibility to let  the ‘window’ frame be rustic.

Again, this project is made from reclaimed pallet wood.

The LED strips are from LOWES.  I spend weeks looking for something to use as a back.  It needed to be thin, light weight, and reflective.  As luck would have it, I found it in a dumpster behind Goodwill!  Someone had tossed a dry erase board that was the EXACT size I needed – based on the rough size of the LED strips I bought.

I used the KREG Pocket Hole Jig to join the main body as well as the shelf support.  Everything else was attached with my pneumatic brad nailer.

I used my router with a keyhole slot bit to hang it on the wall.


Workbench with Drawer from Pallet Wood – COMPLETE

I’m going to be honest with you.  This project was always and ONLY a pipe dream, a mythical beast that was never supposed to be real.

Sure, I collected a ton of pallet wood that I THOUGHT would make a great workbench top someday IF I ever glued them together… but I’m notorious for never starting …let alone finishing huge projects like this.  Ask my game night buddies about that Poker Table I’ve promised to build…

Every time I found time to work on the workbench there was a mental wall I had to climb over to move this project forward.  Why?  I don’t know.  It could be I was afraid to fail.  I had no plans to work from and, at the moment, very little skill to draw from.

I certainly never expected it to turn out to be so beautiful.  Its GORGEOUS!  I mean, nothing about this workbench screams ‘thrown together!’ which is what I expect pallet wood projects to do — especially when I’m making it up as I go!

Dad approved!

Dad approved!

My father told me again I missed my ‘calling’ and patted me on the back for doing such a good job on it.  Literally.  🙂

It goes without saying, this project would not have been possible, were it not for my hard-working Dewalt thickness planer.  I can’t imagine how many hours I would be spending hand planing and/or sanding all this rough pallet wood without it.  I also would like my Ryobi Pneumatic Brad Nailer and Kreg Pocket Hole Jig.  Take a bow, guys!

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber.  Here are the remaining details (see New Workbench for the start of this project):

Oh! I was able to use the failed discarded drawer from my stepdaughter’s bedside table.  That’s like DOUBLE RECYCLED, RIGHT!?  I just cut off the worst parts and flipped the sides to hide the worst of the damage.  I had to pull one of the pieces out of the rain where I tossed it, but it was alright.  Reusing the drawer pieces saved a lot of time and headaches.  Be sure to check out that build for how I made the drawer in the first place.

The drawer front was the hard part.  I spend half an hour looking for a hardwood, properly sized, decent pallet board.  It’s not easy to do in their raw, dirty, dull condition.  I finally found a piece of Oak that matched the workbench legs perfectly!  Time well spent!

The top 3×4 boards all had holes in them – originally for bolts.  I did put a couple of bolts through the outer boards after gluing up — just for extra measure.  I glued and hammered dowels into the remaining holes and later cut and sanded those down.  Looking at the finished result, I wish I had purchased darker, wooden dowels for all the holes – for the contrast.  Oh well!

“Oh!”, again!  For this project, I used reclaimed hardware as well as wood.  The nuts and bolts in the legs are from some heavy-duty IT pallets that were used to deliver huge servers — which is where the wood came from for the top.  I’ve since learned the company that delivers these pallets are no longer allowed to just leave them.  They are required to pick them back up for reuse.  Shucks!  I’m glad I got them when I did!

I’m applying about four coats of Boiled Linseed Oil followed by Bee’s Wax to give it a tough, natural finish.  However, I fully expect to keep a sacrificial top around for when I’m painting or staining.  This thing is so purdy, I’m afraid to use it!

And yes, I’m still looking into vise hardware. I’m crossing my fingers that I left enough room after adding the drawer.


Bedside Table

One of the projects I get to cross off my step-daughter to-do lists is a bedside table.  This was going to be a rush project, which was my fault.

I found several free on-line plans and opted for the one that seemed appropriate – easy to build, could use my reclaimed lumber, and would look great.

I had a few almost furniture grade-quality, large, plywood sheets that were used as ramps for transporting massive data servers for the IT industry.  I would use those for most of the project, but would use some other standard pallet boards I had as well.

The plans called for using pocket holes throughout, which I had, but I would have to make a few adjustments here and there.  First, on the width.  My step-daughter measured the space available and I needed to cut the design back by 3 inches.  No biggie.  Other changes I’ll mention as I get to them.

I’m afraid of drawers.  There, I said it.  The fact that this piece of furniture had a drawer frightened me, but I went for it, anyway.  Some things happened to make me HATE drawers, but I think I’ve come out of this knowing I can build them …and build them well, if I need to.

My FIRST attempt at the drawer started out beautifully.  My first glue-up went wrong, however.  I took it apart and rebuilt it on a flat surface (hello, new workbench!) and that did the trick!  But as I contemplated re-gluing and re-nailing it I realized I needed to take it apart again to cut a groove for the drawer bottom*.  Then it hit me!  I’d used almost every other tool in my workshop on this project, why not use the router to cut the groove into the already assembled drawer.  It was so much trouble getting to this point, I thought it was a good solution.

Bad solution.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT use a router on plywood!

It was now about 2am on the day I was to drive 5 hours and give the table to my step-daughter.  After contemplating fixes, I destroyed the once beautiful drawer to force me to start over.  Which I did… and I did.

I set table saw to 4 inches again and ripped four new plywood pieces for the replacement drawer only to find they were warped.  Take two.  This time they were straight and clean and… for some reason I can’t explain NOT four inches.  I had to either cut another set of four pieces or make an adjustment.  I opted for adjusting the drawer to be a little lower, and still give a good depth.

I used the table saw to cut grooves for the drawer glides.  Oh, the plans called for metal drawer glides, but that seemed such a cheat, I couldn’t do it.  I had some oak pallet wood that I cut down and sanded into strips.  I glued and screwed it with counter-sank holes.  It worked perfectly.

The rest of the build was straight forward.  Yes, I had a few areas I had to use wood filler or sand down, but you have to be flexible with pallet wood.  It’s imperfect and you have to know that going in – and adjust accordingly.

I DID find another reason to hate Dewalt tools!  One new large clamp I have always sticks and tried to pinch the tip of my finger off!

Katy wanted to use a dark stain on it.  It wouldn’t have been my first (or 2nd or 3rd) choice, but it was hers, so dark it would be!  Mind you, just as we were finished, she asked me what would happen if it didn’t match her room.  “You can always tell people you into eclectic decor… or just sand and paint it!”

I learned a LOT on this build and she’s very happy with the table and so am I.  I guess that’s all that matters!

* The plans called for simply gluing and nailing the drawer bottom to the base of the drawer.  That seemed very weak to me, so I opted to cut a groove.

It's level!

New Workbench

My current workbench is about 10 years old.  It’s really too tall for a ‘proper’ workbench and was built in a couple of hours using whatever 2x4s I had lying around and 3/4″ MDF for the top.  It’s been a fine work area – particularly after I added a 7″ woodworking vise, but…  It’s flimsy and has seen some abuse, so I need to build a new one.

And over the years when I’ve thought of building a new workbench I imagined using heavy, impregnable hardwoods and elegant mortise and tenon joints.  I imagined a thing of beauty and function.  Maybe not a Roubo, but certainly study and built to last.

I’m not there, yet.

I’m still using wood I have lying around – pallet wood.  The top is made from 3×4 lumber used in IT industry pallets used to ship pallets.  I’d collected several from where I work (with permission) with the plan to use them as a workbench top, someday.  No, they aren’t hardwood …just Pine; so I’ll have to spend some time adding a nice finish to protect it.

I had to spend a LONG time hand planing both sides after the glue up the 3×4’s.  That was both boring and hard work AND rewarding.  I think I fell in love with hand planing.  It really connects you to your project.  Did that sound weird?

The legs ARE hardwood.  They are Oak boards from pallets. When I found these boards they were really nasty looking!  DARK and rough.  If you look at the before and after photos, you’ll see I’m giving my Dewalt Thickness Planer a workout…  And it’s earning it’s place in my little shop.

It’s about 35″ tall.  Based on everything I’ve read, that’s the right height for me.  And I just realized it’s about the same height as my kitchen counters.  I think I’m going to enjoy that.

I still have to add workbench dogs, a bigger & better woodworking vise, and few more supports and shelves, but even now it’s heavy and SOLID compared to my old one.  In the meantime, I have a couple of other time-sensitive projects calling my name so I’ll have to get back to it.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

My father's plane

My Father’s Wood Plane

One of my philosophies that is driving my woodworking hobby is to take care of what I have.  It’s not ALL about buying and collecting new tools.  My mother’s father was a Carpenter in the mines and my own father did some wood working — and I have many of their tools.  That’s a legacy I feel a responsibility to preserve and protect.

Because of that I have been trying to restore a few items. One of my favorite items was my father’s wood plane.  The body was rusty and I had to remove years of glue and finish build-up.  I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I did use high grades of sandpaper on a perfectly smooth piece of counter top (also recycled).

I tried my hand at grinding the nicked blade then finished by locking it into a 25 degree blade angle tool and spend hours going from 220 to 500 to 1000 to 1200 grade sandpaper.  The edge finally reappeared, but I am STILL chasing one of the original nicks on the blade.  You can see from the photos, it is giving me some good shavings.  Some of the internal parts still need reworked, as well as the blade… this will be a process.

It looks like an old Stanley 14″, but it isn’t.  It’s a “Wards Master #6” – marked “Made In USA”.  A quick Google search revealed these were sold by the now defunct Montgomery Ward and likely made for them by Stanley.  Still,  it seems they aren’t as highly sought after — but I love it!

I’ll try to do some more research.

Finished Wine Rack.

Wine Rack from Recycled Pallet Wood

My wife is a wine-o.  No, not really!  She buys a few bottles here and there, and hardly ever drinks any.  But since we had bottles piling up and nowhere to properly store them she asked me to build something for her.

I found wine rack plans on-line that seemed simple enough, so I printed them out and got to work.  This would NOT be the first plans I’d downloaded, but it would be my first project I built from plans.

The first problem…

I wanted to use some of my reclaimed pallet wood but the plans call for lumber wider than any of the wood I had.  However, the plans DID call for cutting those wider boards in half AFTER I cut large circles in the center of them (to hold the bottles). I realized I could do it backwards!  I could cut the pallet boards to exactly half the size needed — forced them together in a jig – and THEN cut the circles.  It worked!

Oh!  And I got to use my new tools — the pneumatic brad nailer as well as the Dewalt thickness planer I used to clean up a couple of (dull/old) wide boards for the sides.  Yeah… the sides…

The second problem…

I’ll jump to where I got everything cut and eagerly glued and nailed everything together.  The plans must have been for a wine rack for really LONG wine bottles because the ones I have would just fall through. And no, I didn’t check until the glue was already set.  As with the pallet boards, the side boards I had weren’t even as wide as the plans called for… how could it then still be so off?  I dunno.  But it was.

I ended up cutting the sides down about two inches and re-gluing and nailing.  It was fine after that.  Time for a finish.

The THIRD problem…

I found a can of Poly-Stain my father had stashed away and I thought I’d give it a try.  Bad idea.  I spent the entire evening chasing my tail …and drips.  They would quickly and constantly get away from me.  With so many nooks and edges, drips would always occur on the opposite side and start to create dark stained lines.  Eventually, I thought I had beaten the odds so I let the rack dry overnight.  The next day I found one side had a bit too much poly-stain on it which sagged.  Ugh!

I tried to sand it down but that just clogged the sand paper.  I eventually used Mineral Spirits to clean up the mess and re-stained it the next day.

I know I learn something new with each project.  That said, I learned a TON of things on this one!

…mostly what NOT to do.  It’s done and my wife loves it.  And that’s really all that matters!


New Tools!

With a long Winter to stock up on pallet wood, I REALLY need to put them to use.  The problem?  The best of the wood is pretty rough and will take hundreds of man hours to make usable.  And since I only have evenings and weekends, I’ll never get anything built in the meantime.

Unless, I spend some money I saved on wood… for a tool that speeds up the process.

TADA!  Enter the Dewalt 15-amp, 3-blade Planer!  This thing is a beast!  And I only cut myself twice setting it up!!

While I was at Lowes, I picked up a Porter Cable 20v Lithium cordless drill and 6.5″ table saw combo.  They were less a need…  But they are cool!  I already had a couple of Porter Cable drills (impact and standard) but was always wishing I had an extra.  The circular saw was something I wanted to not have to drag out the heavy circular saw, long extension cord and set the whole thing up — only to take it all down again for only a few minutes worth of work cutting up scrap wood around the fire pit.

Finished house

Birdhouse 2.0

My dad built a birdhouse many, many years ago and nailed it to a tree at the edge of our back yard.  He said it was a Bluebird house (which we never see around here), so he painted it blue.  Rot eventually took the tree and I cut it down last year.  As it turns out rot also took the bird house.  The top of the birdhouse had long ago disappeared, but I carefully pulled the rest of it from the tree with plans to rebuild it.

That’s what I did, yesterday.

I’m not sure where he found the pattern, but it was a solid enough project.  I think he used aluminum nails either because they wouldn’t rust or because that’s all he had… or both.  Either way, they came out easily enough which left me with pieces I could use as a template.

I won’t go into detail on building it, because the photos tell the story.  I used pallet wood and probably won’t paint it.  For now, I like the rustic look.

EDIT: I need to add this is the first use of my pneumatic brad nailer on an actual project.  I have mixed feelings about it, but that will probably change the more experience I get under my tool belt.  Ultimately, it does a great job and creates a nice clean finish.


New Tools, Shop Renovations and Thumb Kerfs

My workshop is poorly insulated and without heat so I can only get back into the shop when the weather is conducive.  I’m so glad Spring has finally arrived!  Of course, Winter doesn’t prevent me from buying new tools or getting pallet wood.  So, a few weeks ago, I had to spend a few days breaking down pallets. Last weekend I dedicated time to re-configuring the workshop.  My floor-standing band saw was… well standing in the middle of the floor and I had no room to get around it.  Along with a few other new items.

You can see from the photos below I cut back one of my workbenches to give the band saw a place to live.  At the same I gave the Ryobi air compressor I bought a couple months ago a convenient spot under the bench beside it.  The new Bostich shop vac will sit just infront of the compressor and attach to the band saw and is close enough to the table saw for a quick switch.  Yeah!

I have to say, having a decent shop vac makes a world of difference.  I feel like I spend half my shop time on cleaning up after making a few cuts.  My old vac was small and very under-powered.  Plus the filter was always clogging up.  Without a cyclone (next on my list?), I resorted to sweeping up the majority of the debris and using the vacuum as a blower to blow the rest out the door. It was enjoyable and gave me time to think, but it was time consuming.

I decided to try out the new shop vac suction power on the table saw and make some cuts for my current project (for an upcoming post).  It works GREAT!  And with the included vacuum bag, I expect clean up will be a breeze!

Anyway, I needed some thinner stock for part of the project and I did something stupid.  I didn’t grab my push stick.  I knew better!!!   I slowly made the cut and when it got toward the end one piece cracked and I reached far ahead to remove it — SAFTEY FIRST!  Well, as I did that the board was still where the blade made contact and pulled it forward — catching my thumb!

Fortunately, I had the blade no higher than was needed for the cut of this could have been worse.  A LOT worse.  The kind folks at the ER said there was too much ‘material’ missing so stitches or gluing was out.  In the end, they decided to clean it, stick a bandage on it and send me away.  Crazy, huh?

Take it from me, “Mr. Thumb Kerf” …shop safety is important 100% of the time!  To that end, I put my band saw to good use by making a couple of push sticks.  TWO!  No excuses!



I’ve been collecting pallet wood all Winter and now my workshop is overflowing with pallet wood.  I’ve broken them down and have taken to storing them in every nook and cranny I can find (or make).  I can’t see my floor and the ceiling of my little 12′ x 12′ barn is FULL!

That said, I now have a nice mix of flat boards in various widths and lengths, 2′ x 4’s, plywood sheets (various grades), and and assortment of hardwoods and softwoods.  Some of it is perfectly rustic and all of it is rough.  I bought a powered hand planer to help tame them down to a nicer finish.  My next purchase will be a Thickness Planer.

Oh! I also picked up a nice, used floor-standing 14″ bandsaw from a nice carpenter on Craigslist.  I paid a great price for it, too!  I can’t wait to put it through it’s paces!

Looking around my barn I had a thought.  With all my tools and all this wood …If I can’t build something… if I can’t build SEVERAL SOMETHINGS I need to give up my hobby!


Spice Rack and Sunglasses Display

I make nothing for money (yet).  However, I do make things for love.  No wait, that sounds bad.  I make things out of love — well, out of wood and love. 🙂

After making a rustic shelf for my step-daughter and side-step daughter to hold their finger nail polish and lipstick collection, they liked it so much they asked if I could make a few more things.

That surprised me.  The first shelf was SO rustic and grungy, I almost figured they’d accept it with a smile, but would end up pitching it.  Surprise! They LOVED it!!   Looking on Amazon, I now see there is a whole category for rustic wooden shelves and things.

This project post is actually two things I can check off their To-Do list.

The first is a Spice Rack.  You can see it’s using two different thicknesses of pallet wood.  I made it as long as I could with the lumber I had.  There’s nothing special about the build.  I notched the sides with the table saw but only glued in the small ‘rods’ to hold the spice bottles in place.  I hope they hold!

The other project came from a conversation I had with my step-daughter only 2 days before we were to drive up to see her on her 23rd birthday.  She was talking about getting a great deal on sunglasses — like 6 for $25 — and wished she had someplace to display them all.  I did an image search and found a design I thought I could pull off.

I used the final scraps of my thin pallet boards (no waste!) and a thicker board that had rounded sides and was pretty beat up.  All I did was mark and notch the long board and glued the shelves in place.


Conductor’s Baton

I have made a few “wizard” wands recently and in the process of cutting down the rods, I was asked more than once if I were making a conductor’s wand.  I hadn’t considered it, but my father thought his choir director at the Senior Center might like one if I ever did.

The handle should be cork and the rod should probably be plastic or vinyl material, but I made it with what I had…. wood!

The rod has been painted with several layers of white spray paint and a high-gloss lacquer.  I kept the handle simple by only staining it and giving it a light sanding.  I figured it should be so slick it wanted to fly out of your hand.

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Current and Recent Completed Projects

Here are a few of the most recent completed or in progress projects:

Name Plates:  I’ve taken to ripping down firewood (either purchased or cut myself) into small wooden blanks.  Right now, one of my favorite things to make with them are name plates.  So far I’ve added the names by using laser etching and a technique of transferring laser toner with a wood burning tool.  I’m still looking for a better option.

Wands:  While I’m in-between projects or stuck for an idea, sometimes I whittle wands.  Actually, I’m TRYING to make chopsticks, but when they are imperfect… they make GREAT wands.



Rustic Poster Frame

This is the last of my Pallet Projects / Office-Warming / Christmas Presents for my wife.  The other projects/presents were a rustic shelf and coat rack.  This is a matching frame for a vintage Red Cross poster.

Jennifer asked me if I could make a frame for a poster she found behind a cabinet at work. Originally, the poster had been mounted in a plastic ‘modern’ frame and she wanted something that would match the vintage look of the poster.

I measured the glass and looked for JUST the right sized-wood for the frame that was also rustic looking.  I chose some pallet boards I’d reclaimed months before.

Originally, I was going to try and use my router to cut the notches for the glass, poster and backing, but without a router table, that was going to be tricky.  I’d had a lot of good results using my portable table saw for this sort of thing so that’s what I used.  It worked like a charm!

The backing from the original frame was in good shape, so I decided to reuse it.  It had built-on, slide-away clamps to secure everything together — all I needed was to cut an additional groove.  Again, using the table saw made this a breeze.

I dug out my ancient (non-sliding) miter saw.  After measuring and remeasuring (did I tell you I HATE miter joints?), I ended up with 4 perfectly cut sides!  Woohoo!  No redo’s!

I opted to use my Kreg Pocket-hole Jig and glue.  I’m still not sure what I’m doing with it… even after consulting my cheat sheets for material depth and choosing the right screw.  But the corners are tight even if the screws stick out a bit.  It’s on the back, no one will ever see it.  If need be, I can file them down with my Dremel.

This turned out beautifully and my wife loves it!!  I’m jealous, I wish I had an office I could hang it in.