Thursday, 9 October 2014

Playing with pallets (again)

Everyone knows pallets are great,you can do so much with them,yes they may take a little extra work,but the end results can be brilliant and they are cheap (as in free) however more often than not they are made from pretty boring wood,which is okay for making chicken coops,tables and what ever else takes your fancy.

A little while ago one of our neighbours had some slate chips delivered on pallets (unsurprisingly) but rather than just strips of pine the wood on these pallets had a little character,so I asked if I could have them.

The reason I wanted them is because they were made from parawood (or rubberwood) and yes that is the same stuff you can buy as flooring,can't say I've ever seen pallets made from parawood before.

But it is quite nice to make things out of,like this -

A memory box I made for my wife,can you guess what it says ?

It can be a little tricky to work with on account of the wood being very roughly cut,it's not like stuff you can buy that’s been planed smooth,but it does have some interesting patterns and faults,which gives it a bit of character.

After I'd made the little box,I started to wonder what it would be like to turn some of it,which isn't quite as easy as it sounds,the blocks that pallets have are the best place to start,so after making sure I'd got all the nails out I made a few sets of tea light holders.

Here's the first set I made,which now sit on the sideboard in our front room,I quite like them,which is unusual for me as I'm my own worst critic.

 Tea light holders before -

Just blocks of wood,nothing to see here.

Tea light holders after -

They turned out quite nice,even if I do say so myself.

Now the blocks are pretty much ready made for turning,you don't have to do much,just stick them on the lathe and of you go,but what about something a little more creative?

As I like to experiment I decided I'd try gluing bits of wood together and see what happened,now this takes a little time as you have to wait for the glue to dry,so each block I made took 24 hours to make,I could have tried turning them sooner,but I didn't really fancy them flying apart on the lathe.

So from this (wood slices selected) - 

The tape is just to keep the wood in order.

To this (the wood glued and clamped together) -

I just used wood glue to stick the bits together.

And 24 and a bit hours later - 

Another set of tea light holders.

I'm quite pleased with them,they may not be everyone’s cup of tea,but as an experiment I think it worked out well,of course sticking bits of wood together and turning them isn't a new thing,but you can get some interesting results and it's always fun to experiment,I've seen some great things made from turned plywood,and just about everything in between.

Although it doesn't always work out,as this little vase / pen pot shows,I didn't want to waste the wood so I turned it anyway,but when I glued the bits together it wasn't all quite in line,so the slices were a bit skewed,but it's still quite nice,and it's given me another idea,that being what if I glue the bits together skewed on purpose and then turn it? 

The little vase / pen pot - 

Can you see where it's wonky?

It's fun to experiment,but be careful,especially when it comes to lumps of wood spinning at high speeds,I've been hit in the face before and whilst I only got a bruise for my troubles it still hurt,so take care,and if you happen to be in the market for some tea light holders,or anything else then check out my shop.

The Shed And Beyond Shop (Opens in new window)

Thanks for reading.

Homemade Thursday

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Plastic stencils...

If you have kids you'll know that these days the toys they all want for birthdays and Christmas all seem to come covered in plastic,I know the reason is most likely because the toys stand out when kids see them,then they'll plague their parents to buy them,but what to do with it?

When I was kid most toys came in boxes with nice pictures on them,seems they don't make packaging like they used,as well as everything else.

I'm not entirely sure you can recycle the stuff,although our local council have recently changed the rules as to what you can put in the recycling,but I've discovered it's quite useful.

This stuff -

I've got quite a stash of it.
I'm a hoarder of stuff,you know how it is,you look at something and think I’ll keep that because it'll come in useful,then you forget about it for a while,and then when you need something you'll come across it and think why did I keep that? I do this a lot (too much if you ask my wife)

As it turns out I've found a use for it,I had thought we'd use it for crafting in some way,but we haven't as yet and I needed a way of making some patterns (stencils) for various wood based projects,and this stuff is good for that,I'm sure I'm not the first person to figure this out.

What I did was to draw up the designs I wanted on graph paper,I was making some art deco type picture frames and wanted a quick way of replicating the patterns without having to measure them out every time.

So once I'd got my patterns worked out on paper I stuck them to the plastic with a bit of pva glue,and once it had dried I cut the patterns out,simple really don't know why I've never thought of doing this before.

Glued down and ready for cutting -

Just need a sharp knife and a ruler.

To cut them out I used craft knife (it has a very sharp blade) and a ruler to make sure I got the lines straight,the knife does need to be sharp,you can also use scissors,again as long as they are sharp,make sure you use a piece of wood or some kind of board to protect any surfaces,I use our wood chopping board for this type of thing.

I made a few and they all seem to be very good,the plastic is thick enough to give a good edge you can follow with a pencil,and as they are plastic they last a while,obviously the more they get used the quicker they'll wear out.

Simple to use - 

It means I get the same shape every time.

Here's one of the picture frames I made using a different stencil - 

Meet my wife's great grandparents.

I also had some wood turning to do,I've been making spools and again using these little stencils I can quickly mark up the wood and I'll get consistent results,it's not perfect,but it does save time.

Spool patterns cut out - 

These where little bit fiddly to cut out.

The idea is I can offer up the stencil to the wood and easily mark where I need to cut with a pencil,as I said it's not perfect,there are slight differences from spool to spool,but for the most part they are the same.

Marking out - 

The patterns are numbered as I made different sizes.

The end result - 

They turned out quite well,good job really I have a load more to make.

There's no reason you couldn't use this plastic to make stencils for painting on walls,furniture or just pictures of what ever takes you,Halloween is coming up,you could make a couple of pumpkin shaped ones for easy replication,I have plans for some more creative picture frames and making patterns from this will help a lot as the designs aren't something that's easily drawn onto wood.

I might have a root around to see what else I've kept,you never know I might actually find a use for it.

Thanks for reading.

Homemade Thursday