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Have wood . . . need project ideas, inspirations, suggestions.

1095 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Chashint
I hope this is the right place for this question:

I have (only) FIVE "matching" walnut shelves (each 3/4" x 7-9/16"" x 56") that are (at least) 60 years old. My parents (both deceased) "handed these down" to me when I went off to college 50-ish years ago. I did use them as shelves while in college and even for many years after getting married; but-eventually-the "decorator" decided they just didn't go with her decor plan; so I dutifully wrapped them up and stored them in the garage. I've held on to them through several moves, always thinking "I'll do something special with these". But I admit my unspoken motivation always was that that these just have a sentimental value to me (silly as I know that must sound when we're talking about 5 old pieces of wood <g>).

Anyway, a while back, I realized I need to get moving on this project while I'm still able, but I haven't come up with any good ideas for what I can make from these. I would like to use them as the basis for one or more items to be gifts to family members that will be likely to stay in the family over time. However, because my "family" consists of my two adult children and the five grandchildren between them, I imagine that relatively small amount of wood will be insufficient to create seven items . . . or even to create one item for each of the five grandchildren.

So, while I'm certainly open to other ideas, right now I'm thinking I should use these to create just two items-one for each of my children-and then let them figure how to "pass them down" in the family. But even then, I still imagine I should expect completion of these projects will require using additional complementary wood materials, rather than expecting to rely on using just those walnut pieces and nothing more.

So, with all that said, I would sincerely appreciate whatever ideas or suggestions anyone is willing to offer. FWIW, while my shop area doesn't have every tool imaginable, I expect a few really good suggestions will give me reason to either buy whatever else I need (and that I'll likely use again) or to borrow, rent or otherwise gain access to any other equipment I probably won't need to use again.

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Well, one way to look at this is you have a total of 22 or 23 feet of this walnut. Split that 7 ways would mean about 3 feet per project. That would allow a box that is 7 1/2 inches tall and 6 inches on a side. There would be a little left over for accents such as handles or feet.

Lot of options for variations around this.
I had some walnut shelves that had been used for a bookcase 60 years ago. This is what I made with it - along with some basswood for contrast:

Brown Wood Rectangle Font Linens

Based on Escher's "Sky & Water I" - 24" square - note: this is a tessellation. The light and dark figures fit together like pieces of a jig saw puzzle in the middle. I had enough wood to make another one with the woods reversed. See my projects.


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Something like a box seems an obvious choice.

You could inlay or carve their initials on the top.
A couple of occasional tables would be handy to most all, and could become heirlooms, I built this table from 2 72" x 5" 8/4 boards
Well, what do the family members like? Are you planning on one at a time, or make a bunch and give to all at the same time? and how long do you expect this to take you? Reason I ask is you could start now on making 7 detailed items that could serve as Christmas decoration/ornaments, so at that time of year they have to remember. Boxes are kind of the easy way about this, but don't forget things like cheese serving trays, and wooden spoons and spatulas. Also, the walnut doesn't have to be the only wood. Could also use a different wood, like a small table with cherry legs(if you don't have enough walnut) and use that walnut as the top.
You may have already done so but just make sure that they are actually solid walnut and not veneered with walnut. If the ends for example don't show the growth rings in the endgrain, they are most likely veneered. And if you do see endgrain, by looking at the ends, you'll be able to see the layer of veneer on the ends if it is there. If it turns out that they are veneered, it doesn't mean you can't make a project from them but might limit the range of things you can make from them or at least how you use them.
I don't think it's silly to have kept this wood at all.
This wood means something to you, but it means nothing to anyone else so I also think you should build at least one something specifically for yourself out of it.
That project should be something you will see / use / enjoy having everyday.

Would a small walnut side table to go beside your chair get the chief decorator's nod of approval ?
An organizer for your side table or a valet for your chest of drawers might be worth considering.
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