Off-cuts

Update 5

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My attempts at making a bed for the crooked man

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Some steps I made from from some very old off cuts

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Add a touch of varnish

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Another set of shelves following the design of the first set

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Update 4

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

Wedge-shaped coco-lumber offcuts

More 'scrap' wood

More ‘scrap’ wood

Note the long fibres in the coco-lumber planks

Note the long fibres in the coco-lumber planks

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A smokin' joint!

A smokin’ joint!

Final assembly and a coat of varnish

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!

Turning ‘waste’ into something with long-term use – cost: a handful of screws and a small can of varnish!

Update 3

Even the apprentice has got in on the act.

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I know what you're thinking, but this bookcase is in active service and is rock steady and full of large books!

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.

As you can probably tell, we’re almost out of off-cuts.

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Update 2

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.

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 homestay guest got inspired and beat me to the pile of uneven lumber for the more ambitious project.

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!

To be fair, he is an interior designer, and I’m not!

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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.

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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

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

Update 1

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

Made from sea shells and bent bamboo

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Bamboo off-cuts make nice noises in a strong wind

Bamboo off-cuts make nice noises in a strong wind

Coconut shell and bamboo

Coconut shell and bamboo

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Original story

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

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7 thoughts on “Off-cuts

    • The photos don’t quite do it justice, it’s a beautiful piece. I just have the ideas and my brother-in-law produces the goods.

    • It was such beautiful wood, anything other than re-use would have been a crime. I really admire the table every time I pass it. Thanks for looking in.

    • The artist is your relative (Emma’s brother) Dodong. He did a fantastic job turning ‘firewood’ into a beautiful table.

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