SplinterKraft: The Story
In 1980 my Grandma Mary-Lee married the man that became my Grandpa. My biological one was not worth much as a father or grandfather. Yeah, typical story in our modern society. But Grandpa Ed was a good man. He was a hard-working farmer, raising tree-crops, with an artist’s heart. His media was wood, and initially practical, making cherry lugs, and apple crates. When fall hit, he would make such things as boxes, clocks, and knife blocks. He had a full woodworking shop…and a sawmill. Here he turned unwanted trees into lumber. He also had a lot of patience, helping a young boy dig through piles of rough cut lumber and planing it smooth. (I still have some of this lumber stashed away 30+ years later) I took this lumber home, where I would cut, nail, hammer and screw things together until I had to go to university.
Jump forward two decades. My kid Jord and I both still play tabletop RPG’s, (Don’t judge! 🙂 ) and he found an obsession with pirates, thanks to Cpt Jack Sparrow. At this point he had moved to Lansing, and I did not get to see him often. I wanted to surprise him with something related to a hobby we both loved. So I dug thru my scrap wood in the garage, and made him a dimensional ship playing board. It was butt-cold outside, but this project rekindled the love for wood-working in me.
Jump to now.
SplinterKraft: The why.
It was a seller’s market when we bought our home, and all our spare money…well, there really wasn’t any. I worked odd-jobs and scrounged what materials I could to eak out our home improvement budget. I rescued a lot of wasted materials, particularly on construction sites. (To this day, it sickens me watching a program where they destroy perfectly good materials that could be reused or donated). When I got back into woodworking, I used what I had on hand or could salvage, old habits dying hard. This lead me to realize, I love working with stuff that, old, broken, and Splintered, would have otherwise been neglected, relegated to a landfill, or left to rot into the ground. All this wood has character, has value, and I seek to preserve that…which of course has lead to many, many slivers, or SPLINTERS, being pulled from my hands! I love the beauty of the flaws, and seek to highlight the history of the wood without destroying the patina that made it catch my eye. So be warned, despite my best efforts, you may get bitten too!
SplinterKraft: The Materials
I almost exclusively use rescued and repurposed materials. Anything “new” is either leftover from another project, rescued from the waste pile of a construction site, or picked up at a resale shop.
Pallet Wood: Self-explanatory I do believe. I have spent many hours dismantling these ever-present shipping platforms into their component pieces, and even more removing nails. This is not as easy as it sounds, as the nails they often used are designed to not be at all easy to pull out! I can use this wood to make almost anything, but I especially like trying to use the wood in a way that is not typical.
Barn-wood: I have access to several farmsteads and their dilapidated buildings. Two of these farmsteads have been in my family for years, one of which attained Centennial status many years ago. Trust me, it is old, and has a lot of history. The wood itself can be from the actual barn, the farmhouse, or any number of outbuildings.
Deadfall: In walking the acreage belonging to my family, I find what is best described as dead fall. This can be branches, or even entire trees, that have succumbed to wind, lightning, flood,or parasite. So far my trees of choice tend to be Maple and Cedar.
Rescued Exotic: My kid used to work for a company that manufactured high-end outdoor furniture. The company made awesome merchandise, and were perfectionist. And also extremely wasteful. If stuff was not perfect, it went into the dumpster. Knowing my love of woodwork, he dumpster dove on my behalf!