A core value baked into this little brand of Switch Stitch is sustainability; to use what other people no longer want as much as possible. A big part of that is reusing materials like the reclaimed wood I use to make the Wall Displays and the Wall Vases.
Whenever I need lumber, my first call is always my dad. He’s been cutting trees and hoarding wood since he was a teenager so it's no surprise he knew just where I could get my hands on reclaimed wood.
Turns out he had recently taken down a 40 year old Cedar wood fence and had it piled up in his backyard. It had a lot of nails in it, but with a little effort this lumber would make some great projects.
I had this pile of naturally weathered boards begging to be made into something so that it wouldn’t be used as firewood. I got to work.
After refining the idea for the Wall Vases, and seeing just how stinkin’ cute they were, I knew I had to stock up and prep more wood. An hour and half later, I arrived at my favorite wood shop: my dad’s backyard. This is where I sort through the pile of old fence boards and pull the ones fit to be made into something meaningful.
The Cedar boards I use are lying on the ground as fence chunks. This is where I get to use a hefty amount of elbow grease to pry them from the framing.
I then carefully check the boards for any broken nails and screws still stuck in the wood so I don’t hit them with the saw blade later on. Although this can be tedious, the nail holes create some really cool and interesting character in the finished pieces. It’s my favorite part of using reclaimed wood.
Once I get the boards back home, it’s time to cut them down to size. After many years in the weather and elements, each board ends up being so different. This is where my eye for finding beauty in the old and worn comes in handy as I do a ‘fussy cut’ method.
For the fussy cut method, I measure and cut strategically throughout the board rather than starting from the edge. Taking the time to cut this way allows me to spotlight the most interesting parts of the board and to ultimately create very unique pieces.
After I’ve cut the pieces down to size, I get to the final stage of prep: sanding. As beautiful as the boards are, when they get a little sanding, their coloring really starts to get interesting. I do just enough sanding to bring out what was created years prior; the highlights of natural weathering.
As I gently remove some of the top layer or two, the wood starts to get a depth to it that makes it hard not to want to touch. The way the coloring changes around the nooks and crannies, nail holes and knots is a look that I can’t recreate.
Next time in this short series, we will add the part that makes this Wall Vase so unique and interchangeable…the hidden magnets!