Today’s project is about a chunk of wood. It is about a piece of wood I found at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The day I found this piece of wood I nearly fainted on the spot. I was wandering down the aisles when I spotted about 4 pieces of wood in the wood section. This section takes up a whole wall in the store. If you don’t take your time you really can miss some gems there. I spotted these in one area that I almost missed. To see them you might even walk right by them not knowing what they were.
I found two chunks of wood from a tree burl. A burl is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is those huge knots of wood on the tree. You would normally see these as large big slabs that are made into works of art for such things as coffee tables or bar tops. You also see quite a few smaller ones made into clocks or a photo of some sort has been decoupaged onto them for wall art. I did not realize that there are actual forests that are kept just for the purpose of growing and harvesting tree burls. Just imagine the years it would take to create just one burl.
The ones I found were smaller and had been cut off from a larger slab for another persons project. At least they knew the worth of the wood and did not just throw them out as scraps. They donated them to the ReStore for someone like me to make into a smaller project.
When I was at the store I set the wood on the front counter so I could do more shopping. Three different people there tried to buy them. I finally had to ask the gal to put them underneath the counter so I did not have to stand guard over them. One lady was simply livid and adamant that she intended to buy them and she was the one who found them. Thank goodness I had asked a sales person before I set them on the counter. I had visions of standing before a judge. Me with my eyes blackened trying to defend myself over a chunk of wood!
I wanted one of those pieces of wood for a project dear to my heart. An old school chum of mine asked if I could create something special for his mother. This family had lived in the same town where I grew up. They were a large family with seven children. The kids are all grown up now and have children of their own. When I was young their dad was the mailman for the town. The mother of all these children was now ready to sell the house. The house where many beautiful memories were created. At the last moment after the sale had been finalized, my friend grabbed a screwdriver and pulled down the old weathered piece of plywood that his father had screwed the brass house numbers onto. He sent me the numbers and asked if I could display them somehow for his mom to hang in her new home.
I was so honored to be asked, I almost started to cry when I got them in the mail. This project needed to be beautiful. It will most likely be passed down to grandchildren to hang in their home. Needless to say I was nervous throughout the whole project.
Of course you know I was so excited to start this I forgot to take a photo of the original piece of wood but here is the other piece so you can get an idea of what I started with.
First I had to cut it with the jigsaw into a shape that followed the grain lines as best I could. I also used the router to soften and round off the edges out of the wood.
See that hole in the wood. That is natural and I loved it. I knew exactly what I wanted to try to do with that. I googled some information and set to work on it. First I went around to all the thrift stores and found some old used jewelry that had three specific things. I wanted turquoise, coral and shell. I then took all the beads off the necklaces and hammered the crap out of them. This is the type of pipe you will want to use when smashing your stones. Put the end cap on your pipe. Pour in your stones. Insert metal rod. Then grab a hammer and start smashing. I sifted through the crushed stones to separate the different sizes. The smaller pieces went to the bottom, more as a filler than anything else.
I then used superglue and squeezed it into the crack of the wood and sprinkled the crushed stone into it. Squeezed some more glue and added more stone then topped it off with more glue. I let that set up overnight. Then came the labor intensive job of sanding. I started with a coarse grade sandpaper and ended with a very fine grade so it was as smooth as a babies bottom.
I then added all the pilot holes where the numbers were going to be placed and sanded one final time
Next on the agenda was to bring out the color, the grain and some shine. I was not sure which way to go with this. Should I stain and then seal or just give it a few coats of wax. I did quite a bit of googling and opted to go with Minwax Tung Oil. With this product you just apply thin coats with a clean cloth and let dry in between each one. You are supposed to sand in between each coat but I found that step was not really necessary till you got to the final coats. The Tung Oil just kept absorbing into the dry wood. But once the final couple of coats were applied I did give it a light sanding with very fine grade sandpaper to give the oil something to grab onto as it becomes very glossy. The photo below is after about three coats of the oil.
This next photo is at about the seventh coat of Tung Oil
The final photo here is the completed project!
I raised the numbers on some spacers that I cut from some small metal tubing so they would become more prominent. I also requested that my friend send me a couple of the old house keys and he was able to find two of them. I added hooks to the bottom of the wood so his Mom could hang her new keys on this very special piece.
I am so proud of this project as not only was it done for a beautiful family, it was made from upcycled materials. I wish I knew the person who donated that piece of wood as I actually have made two projects from it. I used a piece of the wood that I cut off to make my License Plate Dustpan and I still have the large piece that I showed you at the beginning of this post. When it comes to wood you can always find a use for it.
Oh, before I take off, I want to tell you about a small change I made to the site. I wanted a way to display my posts all in one space to make looking up and navigating to a certain post easier. So if you go to the top of the page and click on MY BLOG, a drop down menu will appear that says ARCHIVES. All my posts are listed with a thumbnail image, the title and the date. This is so much easier and you now will not have to scroll through a bunch of pages to find what you are looking for.
You can still scroll down to the bottom of each page where it will display my 6 most recent posts but now you have an easier way to view posts from farther back.
Have a great day and see you next week!