Sam Raimondi – The True Price of Pallet Wood




In a world of digital technology, the ability to connect with some of the most talented and skilled laborers is right at our fingertips. Every day I am beyond blessed to be able to meet accomplished artisans from around the globe. So, you can imagine that when David reached out to me to contribute an article to his blog, I was elated. I am all the way across the country in good old New York, but I can still swap ideas with someone who is basking in the California sunshine.

In keeping with the theme of David’s past contributors, I wanted to write about something I’ve been passionate about since I was the age of 15, when my father handed me my first hammer and told me to help him rebuild an old home; the use and function of reclaimed wood. More specifically, pallet wood.
From the age of 15 to 18 I worked as a counselor at a summer camp, and also held a few retail jobs. Needless to say, I was pretty broke. I couldn’t afford to go to my local shop and pick out lumber for building. However, my passion to build was burning, and I knew there was a way for me to create the things I wanted by resourcing from my local community. That’s when I stumbled upon it, my first pallet. My initial question to my dad was, “why would anyone throw out this perfectly good wood?” His response?

“You’re definitely my kid”.

Pallet wood is one of the best (and sometimes underrated) ways to resource wood without breaking the bank. Being that I’m now in graduate school, I still look for ways to save money on projects, and, nevertheless, turn to pallets as my partner in crime. They can be planed, sanded, stained, or even used in their beat up glory. How can I not hold them in high esteem when the uses are infinite?

Pallets are great for a multitude of uses; picture frames, candleholders, headboards, side tables, planter boxes… the possibilities are endless. Plus, with so many pieces of wood floating around, you’re bound to be able to give someone a lesson on different types of wood just by the feel, look, and smell of the reused planks. Furthermore, there’s no better way to help someone become familiar with power tools than by having them pick apart a pallet and turn it into something fresh.

In our digital world, limitless ideas float right at our fingertips. So, what’s stopping you from using that power to find inspiration in the every day treasures you pass on the street? Moral of the story, if you want to introduce someone you love to the world of woodworking, deliver them a pallet and watch their gears turn. You’ll be amazed at what they can do.

Here are some great links that I found on the web for inspiration, I hope you love them too.

**Sam’s favorite sites**

Headboards, Table, Buffet, Mat, Pallet Furniture, Pallet Chest

#teamRIDGID Jobmax Tips & Tricks

Here I talk about the RIDGID JobMax™ system and how to properly utilize a multi-tool on the jobsite. If you have any JobMax tips and tricks of your own, please send them to me on social media at @davidsheinkopf. Or check out @davidsheinkopf on Instagram for more quick videos and tips!

Dylan Eastman – The Art Of The Upcycle

DIY Network Blog Cabin 2015 Client Weekend in Couer d'Alene, Idaho.

I had the pleasure of meeting David Sheinkopf a couple weeks ago at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas. It never ceases to amaze me the number of great creators out there that I have never crossed paths with. After some construction and reclaimed materials discussion, I checked out David’s blog and he asked if I would be willing to share my own perspective. I’m glad he did.

Picking up where John Malecki left off, I wanted to expand on using reclaimed materials from one of my previous projects. In 15 years of designing and building, I have had the opportunity to transform quite a few100+ year old houses. In 2012, I started DIY Network’s Blog Cabin 2013. This quaint farm house on secluded acreage of North Carolina’s inner banks had been in one family since it was built in the mid 1800’s.

Given its age, I fully assumed that the two story structure was ballooned framed from the foundation beam to the roof joists with single studs. But slowly during the renovation did I discover that assumption was wrong. The original 10′ eave single story had been built in the mid 1850’s and then later successive additions were added on including the second floor. By examining the cut of the wood, trapped painted edges, and the various interfacing patinas, I rebuilt a map of the evolution of this house.


As touched on in John’s post, many times modern updates of old structures will include removing walls and adding beams. Today’s technology and lifestyles don’t necessitate small rooms which were in part a response to the difficulty of heating uninsulated houses with wood stoves. As we lucked out, much of this structure was built from full 2” studs and corner posts of heart pine. Since these pines would have been quite old when felled, they very well were seedlings in the early 1700’s. Full of cut nails, the easiest thing would have been to toss the removed wood in the dump. However, we painstakingly removed the nails (for later reuse) and sorted the wood by length.


By the time the project was complete, we had attempted to reincorporate everything removed from the house back into it. To honor materials that were once living things and touched by previous craftsmen. Studs and beams became rollings doors, a motif dining table, and new ceiling treatments. The single pane windows became art pieces displaying construction photos of the process. Wall boards became the kitchen peninsula cladding. The original fireplace mantel was reworked to house a custom TV lift. And the old dock even became a ceiling treatment in the foyer. At the end of the day, this “new” home had more soul than the original had because its bones never left and its story only got longer.

And that is the art of the upcycle.

#Creating – I am a builder



As a builder, creating something from scratch has been a driving force in my life. To take a raw material and visualize what it can be enables it to be transformed. But what does this really mean? We aren’t changing the molecules of the wood or metal. But we are making something that wasn’t there before.

I have done a wide range of building in my life—from CD and record racks, to furniture and sets for the industry, to remodels. I treat it whatever I am doing at the moment as I would any other project, giving it my all to make it the best possible version of it I can produce. I look around at the people who do what I do and am amazed: wood turners, who start turning a chunk of material into a beautiful bowl; ironworkers, who can take pieces of cold, hard steel and make the most beautiful table for years to come. This feeds my soul. It’s what I feel. It makes me whole. When my son was born, I felt that. Even though my wife did all the work, I had that sense of creation, of being part of something bigger.

unspecified-4The resources I have found in my life are a part of that journey—the right slab, the perfect book-matched veneer. It is what makes our projects part of us. And while it’s certainly cheesy to say my furniture pieces are like my children, they are. Every time I place a finished piece in a client’s home, I look at it one last time to make sure it’s balanced correctly or seated properly, and that it’s plumb. When I walk away, I always turn back, expecting the piece to speak to me in some sacred carpenter language. And it does: It glistens in its newfound home, becoming part of someone else’s life. The greatest compliment I have ever been paid about something I built is that it looks like it’s always been there, that it was meant for the space. We make things and pass them along, and they become part of someone’s journey from then on. I am privileged to be part of that. I am a builder.


John Malecki – The Forgotten Wall Stud

Self logo

The world of interior design has its trends, there are thousands of names for styles and looks that get thrown around and used frequently. Today is all about mashing them all together to fit your own personal aesthetic. Just because your home is a specific style doesn’t mean you cannot go outside and use other style cues to make your home unique. For me, when it comes to this mashup one of my favorites is the rustic/industrial look, with an emphasis on reclaimed wood.

My reasoning for this is more than its use of clean lines and attractive wood textures, it has more to do with the story behind what those materials were intended for, and how they can transform. As a furniture designer based in the North East, I am thankful to have an abundance of old buildings full of century old timber, waiting to have the layers peeled away from them. Framing lumber from old homes is by far my favorite material currently, and gives a truly unique look you cannot recreate no matter how hard you try.

Once you mill down some old 2x4’s and get to their bones, you can really get a taste for their age. A lot of homes in this region had coal fired furnaces which leaves soot everywhere. So after a century of hanging out behind some plaster, this wood gets some amazing coloring. With the popularity of remodels and open concept homes, it seems like everyone is ripping walls out of their home these days. I tend to snag up the wood when I can, and use a multitude of methods to make tables, shelves, benches, you name it.

Most of these studs are pine and fur, which makes them soft and very easy to work with for regular everyday DIYer’s. With the addition of some pipe from your local home store or an eclectic thrift store fine, you can turn those old studs into just about anything you can think of. The best part is, that piece will be truly unique to your home, and will have an actual story to it.

I pair this wood type with raw metal bases and fixtures constantly, and it never seems to disappoint. The Industrial look of each piece is accented beautifully with clean metal lines and the imperfect grinding and markings found on most of metal bases.

I tend to call this design style “Imperfect perfection”, because each and every piece is truly unique! Go snag yourself up some old framing lumber, give it a good sanding and some glue, and make something beautiful!

Happy Building


#DIY How to Restyle Old Wood with Minwax Polyshades

In this video I show how to restyle an older piece of polyurethane-finished furniture or take on an unfinished wood project. Restaining wood such as kitchen cabinets, doors, furniture, and floors is easy with Minwax Polyshades. Minimum prep work is required for this one-step stain and finish. Remember, you don’t always have to build everything from new. You can easily update existing items in your home with Minwax products.

Lightly sand the piece with fine-grit sandpaper, remove sanding dust, and apply the one-step wood stain and polyurethane, Minwax PolyShades. Just like that–without stripping or heavy sanding–you can add a darker color or transform a piece of furniture to match your décor!

#make it

This term has a lot of different meanings for me. Because I’ve been a woodworker most of my life, “make it” it brings thoughts of working with my hands and sawdust flying in the air, and the faint burning smell of walnut as it is cut on a table saw with a dulling blade.

But in this instance I am not referring to that. I am speaking as a designer. I have also spent quite a bit of time working with clients to fill a house I remodeled or built furniture for. A creative outlet for me has been photography. I love walking around with my Nikon in hand, like my father before me, lining up shots and trying to use the golden rule of photography, the rule of thirds. Balance the pictures you take with this method. It gives you a starting point to a really good outcome.

But again I go off in tangent. The reason I was explaining my hobby was to demonstrate how anyone can use a hobby in their work. If I see a wall that is empty, I discuss with the client what they would like to see there. We go over the feeling the room should have. Maybe one frame or two? Possibly three? After my clients have exhausted their budget, they forget this last step, which can be the most important. It is, in essence, decorating, but more than that it is making a personal statement in the design. I do a lot of landscapes and have built up a portfolio that I can pull from and allow my clients to browse, and after coming with a plan, we get it framed, and voila.

That’s something I provide as a gift. The framing they can supply, but the shots are something I hold close and enjoy seeing in a room I have created. We all have many hobbies, things we enjoy. The main purpose of my life has been to beautify in one way or another. It satisfies me and gives me purpose. It’s an easy thing for some to walk around with a camera. Indulge yourself. Create.