Archive for February, 2012

How to make small tables from recycled materials – Part 1:Table Underpinnings

Ensemble of short tables

Short tables demonstrated in the video

Watch the latest do-it-yourself video below from The RE Store’s REvision Division. Get a mini-seminar in “How to make small tables from recycled materials” This video is the first chapter in the table making series, focusing on creating the legs and structural support for the table, known as the underpinnings.

See how to give different looks to your furniture piece by using parts like stair spindles, clusters of banister staves, or even cabinet doors. Eberhard walks you through the prepping of leg materials, attaching stretchers to the legs, and affixing the underpinnings to the table top. His three different styles of short tables will give you great ideas for your own project.

Learn from Eberhard Eichner, our 30-year veteran of furniture building and finish carpentry who even did finish work on pipe organs earlier in his career. (Imagine a large pipe organ chord sound here). Visit the REvision Division furniture galleries within our stores in Seattle and Bellingham to ogle the beautiful and amazingly affordable pieces.

View one of Eberhard’s many other videos on:

How to build a bookshelf from reclaimed cabinet doors

Do it yourself cabinet decoration with scrap trim

Or visit our Youtube channel for many other videos about creative reuse, home decor, functional designs and more.

Posted in: Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Jacob’s Ladder from reclaimed materials at the Spark Museum

Bill Englander is an out-of-the-box tinkerer. His most recent project was building a Jacob’s Ladder for the newly rebranded Spark Museum in Bellingham. We will just let Bill tell you in his own words below the video…


As a boy, I had two grandfathers who each taught me the fine art of tinkering and repair.  Grandpa Englander whiled away his retirement gleaning old wooden wall phones from the early 20th century, removing the innards, and turning them into radios by installing newfangled transistor radios in the 1950s.  Grandpa Hastings could and would repair anything and everything.  Grandma had a cartoon framed on her kitchen wall that summed up Grandpa’s handiness: amid a background of ringer washers, Model-Ts, and old appliances, an Old Woman says to an Old Man holding an antique toaster, ” I KNOW you can fix it – you can fix anything.  I WANT A NEW ONE!”

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder for the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention by Bill Englander

I probably saw my first Jacob’s Ladder as a kid watching the original Frankenstein movie on TV.  All my life I wanted to build one; it was just too cool for school.  In 2008 I purchased a used 15,000 volt neon transformer, which sat on a shelf until the summer of 2010 due to my innate fear of electrocuting myself in the process of pursuing my hobby.  Finally, I got up the nerve to begin designing my first ladder.  I scrounged an old rectangular radio case from the Museum of Radio and Electricity, purchased a motion sensor, touch switch, sockets, switches, lighting parts, and miscellaneous neat-looking stuff, all from The RE Store, and tinkered off and on for three months to the finished product.

The current ladder (pun intended) was created for the renamed Spark Museum of Electrical Invention with generous assistance from The RE Store, which supplied the futuristic-looking cap on the cylinder, the cap on the base, and all the brass bling on the base.  The borosilicate glass protective cylinder is a pipe salvaged from a secret bio-weapons laboratory in Downtown Bellingham located in the Spark Museum’s “basement.”  Sherwin-Williams donated the five-gallon you-know-what base;  CDI Signs supplied the transformer.  Radio Shack was nice enough to sell me the blinking LEDs and resistors.  Other parts were scrounged from my electrical box-o-goodies and “elsewhere.”  I put about 40 hours into this one.

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

I volunteer at the Museum.  I noticed a year ago that the popular Jacob’s Ladder on exhibit was – in a word – fried.  The device creates ozone when it operates by burning air – O2.  This is of course great for the stratosphere, but bad for anything metallic, ’cause ozone is corrosive,  especially the metal in the Jacob’s Ladder enclosed in a Plexiglass box, such as it was.  The poor thing literally ate itself.  The new version includes a proprietary “Ozone Drain” (a plastic tube) that removes the ozone by gravity, as it is heavier than air.  The original design of my replacement ladder turned on by motion (The RE Store’s proximity sensor switch); the Museum expressed concern the ladder might continually cycle “ON” due to patrons flocking to it like bees to a flower, and subsequently go nuclear without warning.  So I ripped out the motion sensor and replaced it with a switch and a timer cannibalized from the dead ladder.

Giving up my baby (the newly completed Jacob’s Ladder) felt like losing a favorite shoe.  But I’m pulling out of it, and designing my next creation; I just hope it’s an 8 1/2 Left.

~ Bill Englander

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Forest Salvage plus Local Milling equals Sustainable Finish Lumber

wood grain closeup

Vertical grained old growth cedar from Local Source Forest Products

The RE Store asks the folks at Local Source Forest Products, Inc. how they can make the claim to be creating sustainably harvested, locally processed old growth wood products. Old spring board stumps and felled tree remnants from 100-year old historic logging operations are being turned into premium finish grade material in their Whatcom County facility. The Local Source team removes the millable wood via helicopter to minimize on-the-ground impact to the forest. Literally tons of material are left behind to support the natural decomposition, soil renewal and habitat functions of fallen trees.

Take a tour with Simon, Loren and Ken to see the portable saw mill, repurposed shipping container wood kiln and finish shop.

Loren Tracy, co-owner in TD Wood Recovery as well as Local Source, talked about the source of their wood.

“There is a forest of stumps out there that were logged 80-100 years ago. What our partners specialize in is creating high value products out of those remnants of historic logging operations. We can’t cut any living trees. We are just taking out the useful material that is otherwise left to rot on the hillsides. It hasn’t (rotted) for a hundred years and it is still sitting there. It is still a large volume of material that is sound and is amazingly beautiful and very hard to come by unless you are in other reaches of Northern America where you can cut down live old growth. It is unfortunate that is still happening.”

Simon Petree, owner of Greenleaf Forest Products and co-owner of Local Source, detailed the origins of their focus on salvage logging and why the various partners came together.

“I started out working for a logging land clearing company. We would go to the logging jobs and grind all the logging debris. The mills don’t want “oversized” stuff (trees). They are set up for smaller stuff so I’ve seen lots of oversized logs that could be turned into good finished product, being ground up and sent off.”

“So I bought my first saw mill in the late 90’s just kind of for fun. Then in 2002 it actually turned into a full time deal where started going around and ran a portable saw mill business. I also would sell lumber off of the jobs that I was working on. A lot of my clientele was saying, “Where can I get this wood dried that you just milled. Where can I get it processed?” There was nobody locally that could do that so we got this shop going to do that and also to process the salvaged woods that Ken and Lauren have been doing for years and years.”

Simon continues, “Another one of our motivations for this shop was to keep things in the county. Our wood doesn’t typically travel more than the tri-county area. Its just great. Its all going back to the county where it came from.”

The RE Store is now carrying flooring, trim, quarter round, dimensional lumber, door trim packages and more. All products are sustainably harvested (salvage logged), locally milled and truly worth a trip to come and see the fine quality of this wood.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, Video posts

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