This one looked like it was made from American White Ash. I only know Ash after having made a Staircase from American White Ash, back in 2010. The blog post about the build is here: http://gregdmiller.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/building-staircase.html
That was the first time I had worked with Ash, so I was able to spot it in the pallet.
I chucked the pallet in the back of my ute, and drove away with it wondering what it would be like.
|The American White Ash pallet... so much potential...|
|The ISPM 15 Mark says Heat Treated in the USA. But what timber are these gluts made from?|
In the weeks that it took me to complete writing this post, someone came into my workshop and suggested the glut material was Sugar Maple. A hard Maple. That could well be it! this stuff is certainly very hard...
|The boards cut from the Pallet, giving me 20 sticks from the top and bottom, and three gluts.|
For those who have not done this before, here is how you can use hand tools to make a Spatula.
1. Making Kitchen Spatulas from the top boards.
The 20 short sticks derived from the top and bottom of the pallet were rough sawn and soiled. Many were also cupped and with shakes (splits) coming in on the end. That's OK, we can work around these.
I started with a pretty good one, to get the hang of the material. After pinning a temporary planning stop on the bench, I used a nice sharp No.5 jack plane to create a flat planed surface on each face of the stick.
|Planing down the first of the Ash sticks, with my trusty Record No.5 Jack Plane.|
|Laying out a pair of spatulas, working around the defects and end checks (splits).|
|The Coping Saw is a quick way to cut the flowing shapes from the stick.|
|The end result, after completing the sawing out of the spatulas.|
The best tool for much of this is the Spokeshave, with the spatula held in the vice. With the flowing shapes, there will be changing grain direction, so the direction of the tool in relation to the work will vary to reduce tear-out. Careful - these tools are so much fun to use, you can find yourself "in the zone" and before you know it, you'll emerge from your trance-like state to find your handle is super thin!!
|What a joy to use! The Spokeshave is the tool of choice to clean up the side profiles.|
|When there is cantankerous grain, skewing the spokeshave to do a slicing cut works well, giving nice spiral shavings.|
Use slicing cuts, with the spokeshave askew to the work, so you can remove material without creating a "blowout"on the ends.
|The last part of the shaping is the bevels on the end. The Spokeshave again is the tool of choice.|
Adding the finish completes the process. I used Australian Orange Oil for this. It is food safe, penetrates well as it is very thin, and dries quickly. Lovely stuff. The spatulas look delicious!
|The first completed pair of Spatulas. Not bad for a grotty looking pallet left on the side of the road!|
|Now to make the rest of the short boards into spatulas...|
2. Making spoons from the pallet's gluts.
The three gluts (the spacing boards on edge separating the top from the bottom, giving room for the forks of the forklift) are a heavier material, so have much promise for making a few spoons. However, many of the nails were still in the tops and bottoms, and were almost impossible to pull out. So I would mostly be working around the nails...
|Laying out a spoon amid the nails, cut-outs and defects.|
|It is easier to hollow the bowls before cutting out the shape. with the board cramped down on to the bench.|
After drawing the spoon shapes, a mallet and gouge is used to hollow out the bowls of the spoons. The bits left over can make a few Spreaders.
|The first couple of spoons emerging.|
|One glut will give a bunch of things, here cut out before the shaping is undertaken.|
|A nice spoon side profile. More work to do yet on this one.|
Maybe I will get to post the pics when I have completed them.
Remember, there are some amazing pieces of timber out there, currently in the form or pallets and packing crates, just waiting to be up-cycled! I hope this story gives you some inspiration.