When the local lumberjacks cut up coco-lumber with their oversized chainsaws, they inevitably leave behind large wedge-shaped offcuts as they turn trees into planks. The offcuts are from the base of the tree trunk and consist of incredibly heavy dense wood. Because of its odd shape and weight, this wood is usually left to rot and occasionally burnt on the spot. What a waste! So last August (2013) when our local road was widened, it required the felling of a number of coconut trees. After the locals had helped themselves to all the wood they wanted, I loaded the large wedges and scraps into the multicab and brought them home for the right moment of inspiration.
Wedge-shaped coco-lumber offcuts
More ‘scrap’ wood
Note the long fibres in the coco-lumber planks
A smokin’ joint!
Final assembly and a coat of varnish
Turning ‘waste’ into something with long-term use – cost: a handful of screws and a small can of varnish!
Even the apprentice has got in on the act.
I know what you’re thinking, but this bookcase is in active service and is rock steady and full of large books!
As you can probably tell, we’re almost out of off-cuts.
I’ve finally got some time on my hands during the kids long summer holiday to sort through some of the other off-cuts left over from the house building and other projects. I decided that I needed some book cases and we had so much applause from visitors for our table (see original story, below) that I thought we’d have a second bite of the cherry to see if we could sell one.
First the book shelves (as they are mostly complete).
First up, my own very simple shelf ‘crafted’ from just six pieces of wood. The two planks were rescued from a hedge (the lower one having cement on it). The top plank was painted dark brown and then disposed of. It’s not pretty or clever, but it will hold coffee table books.
While I was working on the simple bookcase and practicing my mortise and tenon joints (after about 38 years since my last woodwork lesson), my home-stay guest got inspired and beat me to the pile of uneven lumber for the more ambitious project.
To the untutored, Sasha used ‘cross-halving’ joints.
To be fair, he is an interior designer, and I’m not!
If you are interested in rediscovering woodwork as a hobby, the internet is full of useful sites such as Woodworking Joints and a Project Gutenberg manual Woodwork Joints.
Laying out the next table-top. I’m hoping that the variety of woods will give interesting shapes and colours when it’s planed and varnished
Having been building on our land for almost two years, we’ve accumulated a lot of off-cuts of wood, bamboo and also sea shells from the beach, driftwood and coconut shells. When we’re doing nothing else (which, to be fair, is rare) we get creative and make wind chimes. Here are some of the experimental chimes we’ve made (and sold) recently.
Made from sea shells and bent bamboo
Bamboo off-cuts make nice noises in a strong wind
Coconut shell and bamboo
In the course of erecting a new wooden staircase for a new building, we produced a lot of odd shaped wooden off cuts. In the normal course of things (in the Philippines and on building sites everywhere) off cuts get thrown on a fire or in a skip. Having spent a lot of money buying the timber, I was determined to re-use and recycle as much as possible.
A pile of offcuts
After a few practices setting out to find an interesting shape, the pieces were joined together by craftsman ‘Dodong’ Baldon
No legs, but a driftwood base to the table
The table in its raw state
After a few coats of varnish
The offspring table in the foreground and the parent staircase in the background