Making A Coat & Shoe Racks

I salvaged some pieces of oak veneered MDF with solid oak trim, these were old book shelves that were stored in a cold, damp building and they started to go mouldy so were going to be thrown away.  

I had hoped that the mould would clean or sand off, however after trying I realised that the mould goes right through the veneer and in to the MDF, so I decided to cut off the mouldy parts and make use of what was left.  

My house has a small entrance porch, and I cut some shelves to the width of the alcove in the porch and fitted them to an adjustable shelving system with brackets to make use of the shelves as a shoe rack.

I wanted to make a matching coat rack with a shelf at the top, to sit above the shoe rack on the wall. 

I started by cutting the top shelf to length on the mitre saw and then ripped it to the desired depth on the tablesaw.

I then used the offcut to make the back piece of the coat rack that would have hooks on for the coats.

Then I cut some corner supports that braced the two pieces together at each end.

The hooks for the coat rack came from the salvaged hat and coat stands that I've been using in a lot of recent projects.  I have a lot of these hooks so if anyone needs some, get in touch as it'd be great to get them put to some sort of use!

I assembled the rack with glue and screws from the back and secured the top shelf with glue and brad nails.

Then I cut some strips of oak and glued and taped them on to the MDF edges so that they would not be visible.

Finally, I install the rack to the wall.

How To Get Wood For Free (Or Cheap!)

In this video I talk about why I use salvaged materials, and show you where I get them from.

I also take a walk around my local area to show places where I’ve found things in the past, for example:  alleyways in my neighbourhood, communal bin areas, skips, etc.

And I show you what my local reclamation yard has to offer, such as new and old pieces of dimensional wood – both soft woods and hard woods, pressure treated wood, sheets such as plywood, OSB and chipboard flooring.  They even have their own selection of items made from reclaimed materials like furniture and house accessories.

Why use salvaged wood / materials

·         It’s the right thing to do for ethical reasons – re-cycling means less waste

·         They’re either free or inexpensive – my local reclamation yard tends to be around 30% cheaper than big DIY stores, and the quality of materials is often comparable

·         Salvaged wood has more character, which is a benefit if you want a “rustic” feel for your project


What are the drawbacks?

·         The materials might take longer to prepare – there might be old nails, paint or dirt to deal with

·         Knowing if things are OK to take away – for example if you see something on a building site or left by someone’s garden – always ask permission before you take anything!

·         It might feel embarrassing to take things that other people are throwing away – but you get used to it!

·         Storage – if you have a small workshop or shed then space for storing materials is always a challenge!


Where can I get pallets?

·         Ask people who work “in the trade” – often companies will pay other companies to come in and take away pallets and packaging materials – so from my experience they’re usually happy for people to take them away for free

·         Check at local retail parks, warehouses and shopping centres – often they’ll leave them outside by the bins – but always ask permission before you take anything, and always check that they are safe to use.  They will usually have letters stamped on them – e.g. “HT” = heat treated.  Check out this link for more information:


Where else do you get stuff from?

·         Now that word has got out a bit about what I do, family and friends often let me know of opportunities – for example – someone’s neighbour is throwing away some old floor boards, or there’s a skip on this road that looks like it’s got some good wood in it – and then I can go and check it out for myself

·         Checking Classified Ads – on Gumtree here in the UK there are two sections worth looking in – “DIY Tools & Materials > “Building Materials” and “Freebies”.  There are other classified ads websites like craigslist, Shpock, FreeAds, Preloved etc. 

Wood Glue - Quick Tips - Episode 1

Here are a couple of quick tips about glue bottles and glue spreaders

Fitting Some Angled Alcove Shelves

I had an alcove in my dining room that was dead space, and it was too shallow to put a piece of furniture there because it would encroach on the doorway entrance to the room.  So I decided to instead install some shelves.  

I used some 1" thick pieces of melamine - they were actually faulty desktops at my place of work - the holes were drilled in the wrong place for the desk frames, so the supplier replaced them with new ones so these were all going to be disposed of, and I asked if I could take them home.  

I wanted to cut the shelves at an angle to match the shape of the alcove, so I placed a straight edge against the two front corners and used a bevel guage to measure the angle which I think was around 80 degrees.  I could then mark this up on to one of the pieces of melamine, and also mark up the desired depth for each side of the shelf as well as the length of the front of the shelf.  I cut it out on the bandsaw which left a really nice clean cut with no chip out.  

I had to cut out the corner to fit around a piece of architrave surrounding by doorway too.  Once I had one shelf that fit nicely, I could use it as a template to cut out the rest of the shelves.  I made some shelf supports out of some scrap pieces of blockboard I had in the workshop, and drilled pilot holes on the rill press.  

Then I could install the shelf supports and shelves, which were screwed down to the shelf supports to make them more solid.



Making A Quick And Simple Tenon Jig For The Tablesaw (DeWalt DW745)

In this video I make a quick and simple (and not very pretty) tenon jig for my tablesaw, the DeWalt DW745.  

I started by creating a box from some scraps of plywood that fitted snugly around the tablesaw fence, which means that the jig will move along with the fence.

Then I added a side fence and a back fence with wood glue and screws to support the workpiece so that it can be clamped down.  I cut out a shape on the side fence with the jigsaw to make it easier to attach clamps.  

It was critical that both fences were at a perfect 90 degree angle to the tablesaw's table and that the tablesaw blade is at a perfect 90 degree angle to the table when making tenon or morise cuts to achieve a perfect joint.  

There's also the option to tilt the blade and use the same jig as a dovetail jig if you want to get clever!  

The jig turned out pretty ugly, but that doesn't really matter to me - as long as it is functional that is all I need!  And it works well.



Making An Oak Table Frame For The Plywood Table Top - Part 2 of 2

In this video I make a frame for the plywood end grain table top that I made in the previous video..  

I used some of the oak hat and coat stands that I salvaged from a local office clearance to make the frame.  The design of the frame was influenced by a table I saw in a mid-century modern / vintage shop in Mallorca in Spain while I was on holiday, however mine differed slightly as I wanted to add a shelf to sit beneath the table top.  

I wanted to make the frame with no metal fixings (screws and nails) - just nice glued bridle joints.  I made a simply tenon jig for my tablesaw (which I'll cover in a separate video) to cut the mortise and tenons for the joinery.  This did not go particularly well because I made the mistake of not checking my tablesaw blade was at a perfect 90 degree angle to the tablesaw table before making the cuts, so the joints ended up being a little loose in places.  Having said that, once they were glued up and finished, they actually don't look too bad at all....  It was my first attempt at bridle joints so I didn't expect them to be perfect!  

I also cut a dado housing joint in the leg frame to accommodate the shelf which I cut from a piece of salvaged oak plywood.  I trimmed the plywood edges with some more oak to tidy up the look.  

And finally I finished the frame to match the table top trim with Superior Danish Oil and some Rustic Pine Briwax.  I'm really happy with how this table turned out and it looks great in my living room.  It's definitely my favourite piece of furniture that I've made so far.


Making A Plywood End Grain Table Top From Offcuts - Part 1 of 2

I had lots of offcuts of various pieces plywood cluttering up the workshop, and rather than throw them away I decided to make a table top from them, using the laminated layers of wood as a feature.  

I first checked each piece had a straight edge by holding it up against my tablesaw fence, and then ripped all of the pieces in to 30mm wide strips.  

Some of the plywood pieces had some white paint on them, so I sanded the paint off on the belt sander.  

Then I could glue up all the strips in to a piece that was roughly 600mm square.  

I then flattened the tabletop surface using a handplane, and then the belt sander.  

I filled any voids in the plywood with epoxy and sawdust.  

Then I made a mitred oak trim for the table top, which I needed to clean up by re-routing it and sanding.  

I finished the tabletop with Superior Danish Oil, and I had to apply quite a lot of it as the end grain soaked it up really quickly.  Finally I applied some Rustic Pine Briwax and buffed it to a nice sheen.  I was really pleased with how it turned out, I think it looks really interesting.  

I'll make a second part to this video where I will build a table frame to fit to this table top.



Making A Rustic Pallet Wood Wine Rack

For this video I wanted to test out the Evolution Rage 3 mitre saw that Evolution Tools recently sent to me to try out.  

I had some spare pieces of pallet wood in my workshop, which came from lots of different pallets so I had varing lengths and thicknesses.  I used some 22mm thick pieces to make the frame for the rack, and used the mitresaw to cut all the pieces to size and also to cut the dado housing joints which hold the frame together.  

I cut the holes for the bottles and wine glasses with the jigsaw and then assembled the frame with wood glue and clamps.  Then I cut some thinner 15mm thick pieces of pallet wood to use to clad the back of the rack.  

The whole thing was then stained using Rustic Pine Briwax.  

Then I installed it on my kitchen wall with a couple of screws.  Unfortunately we only had one bottle of wine in thouse house to put in the rack.  Wine never lasts long in my house!


Evolution Rage 3 Sliding Compound Mitre Saw and Mitre Stand Review

Evolution Tools got in touch and sent me their Rage 3 compound sliding mitre saw and stand to try out.  It had some great features that I really enjoyed, such as the ability of the blade to cut through metal, and the depth adjustment which is great for cutting dado housing joints.  The saw cuts very cleanly and is well built.  The sliding arm has very little side to side play in it so it cuts very accurately.  For an inexpensive saw I was really impressed.

In this video I unbox it, talk about the features of the saw and compare it with my other mitre saw the Axminster White.

Evolution Rage 3S on amazon: (UK) (US) 
Evolution Rage 3DB (double bevel) on amazon: (UK) (US) 
Evolution Mitre Stand on amazon: (UK) (US)
Evolution blade on amazon: (UK) (US)

Making A Workbench Out Of Salvaged Things (part 2 of 2)

In this video I make a worktop for the bench from some 1" thick salvaged plywood which came from some industrial packaging, 

Then I re-fit my Redada Number 2 vise using a spare block between it and the worktop.  

I fitted some drawer handles to the set of drawers that didn't already have them.  

Then I fitted some pieces of pine to trim the worktop and the frame to cover the plywood edges and tidy up the look.  

Finally I applied a few coats of varnish and show you what I've got stored in my new drawers