Driftwood Furniture: Practical Projects for Your Home and Garden

Overview

From the beach to the backyard.

Driftwood is an ideal building material. It is abundant, renewable and (best of all) free. It is easy to work with, does not require complicated tools and the results are guaranteed to be unique since no two pieces of driftwood are the same.

Using driftwood adds to the rustic setting of any garden or patio. Because of the natural process that creates driftwood, it requires no finishes and it is naturally ...

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Overview

From the beach to the backyard.

Driftwood is an ideal building material. It is abundant, renewable and (best of all) free. It is easy to work with, does not require complicated tools and the results are guaranteed to be unique since no two pieces of driftwood are the same.

Using driftwood adds to the rustic setting of any garden or patio. Because of the natural process that creates driftwood, it requires no finishes and it is naturally waterproof and bug-free. Author Derek Douglas shows how to construct beautiful and useful chairs, tables, benches, arbors, and decorative objects. Nineteen projects are featured that will appeal to novice and experienced woodworkers alike.

The book explains the entire process of creating a driftwood item from how to choose and store driftwood to design tips and the final construction. The necessary materials and tools are fully listed and most are found in the average toolbox.

Each clearly illustrated project in Driftwood Furniture is fully explained with valuable tips and practical advice. The results are fun, whimsical and durable.

Projects include:

  • Adirondack chair
  • Sleigh planter
  • Boat planter
  • 3-legged and 4-legged chair
  • Tricycle planter
  • Hanging flower pot holder
  • Hooded chair
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Editorial Reviews

Ang Newspapers [California]
Douglas' detailed drawings, large color photos and friendly prose make his book a delight.
— Kathleen Grant Geib
Independently Reviewed
An easy to follow guide to a furniture making hobby... a quick read full of helpful hints and excitement.
— Joan Sandberg
Kitchener Record
Simple step-by-step instructions for a variety of backyard driftwood objects.
— Johanna Weidner
Victoria Times-Colonist
Rustic, artistic and perhaps comfortable... a practical easy-to-follow guide to create whimsical and durable garden projects.
— Jenny Ferris
Toronto Saturday Sun
Ideas, tips and instructions on how to build rustic pieces that will add charm and personality to any setting.
— Vena Eaton
Country Almanac
The author knows his craft and offers step-by-step instruction... suitable for beginners and experts alike.
— Jim Carlson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Timeless rustic appeal.
— Nancy A. Herrick
E-Streams
All one needs to know... included are tips on saving money, pulling broken drill bits... and other helpful tips.
— Kay Plesca
Cottage Times
Looking for unique or inexpensive furniture... Douglas tells you how... Driftwood has many benefits. It is strong, free and beautiful.
— Glenn Perrett
Globe and Mail
Combination how-to and inspirational book details furniture and objets d'art... guaranteed to be unique.
— Jane Gadd
Kitchener Record - Johanna Weidner
Simple step-by-step instructions for a variety of backyard driftwood objects.
Ang Newspapers [California] - Kathleen Grant Geib
Douglas' detailed drawings, large color photos and friendly prose make his book a delight.
Independently Reviewed - Joan Sandberg
An easy to follow guide to a furniture making hobby... a quick read full of helpful hints and excitement.
Victoria Times-Colonist - Jenny Ferris
Rustic, artistic and perhaps comfortable... a practical easy-to-follow guide to create whimsical and durable garden projects.
Toronto Saturday Sun - Vena Eaton
Plenty of ideas, tips and instructions on how to build rustic pieces that will add charm and personality to any setting.
Country Almanac - Jim Carlson
The author knows his craft and offers step-by-step instruction... suitable for beginners and experts alike.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Nancy A. Herrick
Timeless rustic appeal.
E-Streams - Kay Plesca
All one needs to know... included are tips on saving money, pulling broken drill bits out of the wood and other helpful tips.
Cottage Times - Glenn Perrett
Looking for unique or inexpensive furniture... Douglas tells you how... Driftwood has many benefits. It is strong, free and beautiful.
Globe and Mail - Jane Gadd
Combination how-to and inspirational book details furniture and objets d'art... guaranteed to be unique.
Library Journal
Given the high cost of lumber, any craft that uses found wood is sure to have wide appeal. Using driftwood makes sense from an environmental standpoint, since it is a renewable resource and is found nearly everywhere. Douglas, a retiree who builds furniture, offers readers a wealth of information about finding appropriate wood and transporting it home. He uses basic tools that are part of most home shops and provides numerous tips and ideas for working and designing with driftwood (this section will prove helpful since every piece of driftwood is unique). Several projects are provided, including chairs, a bench, a trellis, and a wine rack; they have an appealing rustic appearance and could be completed by most readers. Of interest to many woodworkers and crafters, this should be included in most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552977026
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/6/2003
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Derek Douglas builds driftwood furniture and regularly wins driftwood art competitions.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Why Driftwood?

Chapter 2: Acquiring Driftwood
• Collecting
• Selecting
• Transporting
• Sorting and storing
• Cleaning and drying
• Safe beachcombing

Chapter 3: Tools and Materials
• Cutting tools
• Drilling tools
• Sanding and shaping tools
• Other tools and materials
• Workshop safety

Chapter 4: Working with Driftwood
• Mirror-cutting
• Joinery
• Bracing
• Drilling
• Sanding and finishing

Chapter 5: Building Driftwood Furniture
• Building a garden bench
• Developing your own projects
• Coming up with ideas
• Possible projects
• Typical furniture dimensions
• The project plan
• Sketches and final drawings
• Materials list
• Building sequence
• While you are building

Chapter 6: Projects
• Signpost
• Garden stand
• Trellis
• Four-legged chair
• Hooded chair
• Three-legged chair
• Conversation chairs
• Chaise lounge
• Small table
• Wine rack table
• Patio table
• Garden bench
• Wheelbarrow
• Tricycle
• Sleigh
• Hanging flowerbox
• Wine rack
• Arbor
• Boat

Conclusion

Index

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Preface

Introduction

I love a storm...

I'm not talking about the kind of storm described in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, with hundred-foot waves and terrifying intensity. No, the storms I love are the ones that Mother Nature throws at us now and again that find all the trees — trees that have had their roots undermined by heavy rains or have been felled by beavers. Mother Nature sweeps up all the debris with wind and rain into the world's largest washing machine: the lakes and oceans. She debarks the trees, removes branches, thoroughly cleans them, then tumbles them around for weeks, even years. At long last, with the arrival of the storm, they're pounded onto beaches for the final bleach-and-dry cycle.

That's where I come in. Almost five years ago, as I walked along the boardwalk of my favorite town, Goderich Ontario, I found my first piece of driftwood. It was silvery white,
with a finish smoother than sandpaper could produce, so hard it was almost petrified and had such an interesting shape that my imagination was instantly ignited.

Since then, hundreds of trips to the beach have allowed me to create garden furniture and sculptures that are strong, artistically appealing in a rustic way and will last for years to come. Mother Nature is ruthless about determining what pieces survive that pounding on the rocks and beaches — the survivors dull my tools with their incredible hardness and make assembly a little more challenging. The result is well worth the effort.

One thing I have learned after traversing the beaches for the last few years is that it becomes obvious that whatever sinks out there in the lakes and oceans invariably ends up on our beaches — albeit in pieces. On our local beach I have come across parts of vessels that sank or were scuttled a hundred years ago. I've seen log beams 12-by-12-inches square with long 1 1/2 inch spikes through them.

During one particularly heavy storm last summer, there was a tornado warning. The result was a 5-foot rise in the water level of the Maitland River beside us. The floating debris that passed us the next day consisted of an assortment of driftwood logs, two picnic tables, a small overturned boat, dock remnants and an incredible amount of silt. All this material was swept out a mile or so into the lake, then picked up by the onshore waves and dumped onto the lovely sandy beach.

It was quite an eyesore. The beach had been so pristine and picturesque, but after the storm there was this band of tangled mess that stretched for miles along the shoreline. Now there was a race against time to retrieve some pieces of this driftwood before the "firebugs" got to it. In their haste to clean up the beach, town workers pile up the debris and burn it. Unfortunately, all the burnable pieces are usually those that are easily carried and, of course, are the nicest and most suited to my hobby. That day, though, I was quicker than they were and found some great pieces to add to my collection.

I hope to instill the enthusiasm I have for building driftwood furniture to my readers because, believe me, the satisfaction of finding your first pieces, putting your imagination in gear and making your first creation cannot be described. You will, I'm sure, catch the fever that I've experienced and will want to press on to your next project, and the one after that, and the one after that...

This book's purpose is to introduce you to a hobby that is not only absorbing and exciting, but the end result is that you wind up with some useful, long-lasting creations that you will enjoy along with everyone else. I have grown a passion for driftwood that borders on obsession. No, addiction is more the word. I can't resist the call to the beach, especially following a storm. I store the driftwood knowing that if I don't, someone will get to it first and burn it on a beach campfire.

On the following pages, you will find many ideas, information on ways to get started, production tips and detailed instructions for 19 driftwood projects. Great lengths have been taken to document the progress of some of the projects. Difficulty levels vary from nice and easy, right up to challenging and intricate.

This hobby can be enjoyed by the whole family or by any individual person. It is very economical, stimulating to the imagination and a thoroughly healthy outdoor pastime. The health benefits include the many walks along the beaches and river edges, the fresh air you get from working outside and the muscular activity required to achieve your results. I also think that the complete absorption of your mind while it's wrapped up in the creative process relieves you from the everyday stresses of world news, stock market fluctuations, housework, the kids' problems and so on.

It is true that you need somewhere to work and a bench. My workbench is my picnic table at the cottage, but you can scale down the size of any project to fit your available working quarters. The sun may be a factor to contend with if you work outside — I had to buy a 9-foot umbrella to protect my fair skin. The tools required are covered in Chapter 3, but bear in mind that you can get away with just a few to start and as you get more ambitious you can expand your arsenal later.

If you live alongside or near a lake or river shoreline, then you are very fortunate and can begin almost immediately. Others will need to venture out when they can to find the pieces they need. Although I stress the source of wood to be off the beaches and rivers, I find that woodlots can also be loaded with interesting pieces. Weathered wood obtained from lightning-struck trees or those that have succumbed to rot invariably take others down with them, thereby making for some excellent supplies.

I believe this hobby provides one of the mose unfettered ways of building furniture for your home or garden. You have complete freedom to continually change your design (remember, almost everything is screwed or bolted together to enable you to do this) right up to the finish. You don't even have to worry about scratching any pieces, varnishing or painting, or even the odd hole drilled in error. Nothing can faze you in your endeavors.

It is hard to imagine that this might be the first book ever written devoted totally to this subject, but I'm sure from now on, there will be others. Building with driftwood is an entirely unique experience. And after all is said and done, there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that there is not another piece in the world quite the same as yours.

Have fun.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

I love a storm...

I'm not talking about the kind of storm described in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, with hundred-foot waves and terrifying intensity. No, the storms I love are the ones that Mother Nature throws at us now and again that find all the trees -- trees that have had their roots undermined by heavy rains or have been felled by beavers. Mother Nature sweeps up all the debris with wind and rain into the world's largest washing machine: the lakes and oceans. She debarks the trees, removes branches, thoroughly cleans them, then tumbles them around for weeks, even years. At long last, with the arrival of the storm, they're pounded onto beaches for the final bleach-and-dry cycle.

That's where I come in. Almost five years ago, as I walked along the boardwalk of my favorite town, Goderich Ontario, I found my first piece of driftwood. It was silvery white, with a finish smoother than sandpaper could produce, so hard it was almost petrified and had such an interesting shape that my imagination was instantly ignited.

Since then, hundreds of trips to the beach have allowed me to create garden furniture and sculptures that are strong, artistically appealing in a rustic way and will last for years to come. Mother Nature is ruthless about determining what pieces survive that pounding on the rocks and beaches -- the survivors dull my tools with their incredible hardness and make assembly a little more challenging. The result is well worth the effort.

One thing I have learned after traversing the beaches for the last few years is that it becomes obvious that whatever sinks out there in the lakes and oceans invariably ends up on our beaches --albeit in pieces. On our local beach I have come across parts of vessels that sank or were scuttled a hundred years ago. I've seen log beams 12-by-12-inches square with long 1 1/2 inch spikes through them.

During one particularly heavy storm last summer, there was a tornado warning. The result was a 5-foot rise in the water level of the Maitland River beside us. The floating debris that passed us the next day consisted of an assortment of driftwood logs, two picnic tables, a small overturned boat, dock remnants and an incredible amount of silt. All this material was swept out a mile or so into the lake, then picked up by the onshore waves and dumped onto the lovely sandy beach.

It was quite an eyesore. The beach had been so pristine and picturesque, but after the storm there was this band of tangled mess that stretched for miles along the shoreline. Now there was a race against time to retrieve some pieces of this driftwood before the "firebugs" got to it. In their haste to clean up the beach, town workers pile up the debris and burn it. Unfortunately, all the burnable pieces are usually those that are easily carried and, of course, are the nicest and most suited to my hobby. That day, though, I was quicker than they were and found some great pieces to add to my collection.

I hope to instill the enthusiasm I have for building driftwood furniture to my readers because, believe me, the satisfaction of finding your first pieces, putting your imagination in gear and making your first creation cannot be described. You will, I'm sure, catch the fever that I've experienced and will want to press on to your next project, and the one after that, and the one after that...

This book's purpose is to introduce you to a hobby that is not only absorbing and exciting, but the end result is that you wind up with some useful, long-lasting creations that you will enjoy along with everyone else. I have grown a passion for driftwood that borders on obsession. No, addiction is more the word. I can't resist the call to the beach, especially following a storm. I store the driftwood knowing that if I don't, someone will get to it first and burn it on a beach campfire.

On the following pages, you will find many ideas, information on ways to get started, production tips and detailed instructions for 19 driftwood projects. Great lengths have been taken to document the progress of some of the projects. Difficulty levels vary from nice and easy, right up to challenging and intricate.

This hobby can be enjoyed by the whole family or by any individual person. It is very economical, stimulating to the imagination and a thoroughly healthy outdoor pastime. The health benefits include the many walks along the beaches and river edges, the fresh air you get from working outside and the muscular activity required to achieve your results. I also think that the complete absorption of your mind while it's wrapped up in the creative process relieves you from the everyday stresses of world news, stock market fluctuations, housework, the kids' problems and so on.

It is true that you need somewhere to work and a bench. My workbench is my picnic table at the cottage, but you can scale down the size of any project to fit your available working quarters. The sun may be a factor to contend with if you work outside -- I had to buy a 9-foot umbrella to protect my fair skin. The tools required are covered in Chapter 3, but bear in mind that you can get away with just a few to start and as you get more ambitious you can expand your arsenal later.

If you live alongside or near a lake or river shoreline, then you are very fortunate and can begin almost immediately. Others will need to venture out when they can to find the pieces they need. Although I stress the source of wood to be off the beaches and rivers, I find that woodlots can also be loaded with interesting pieces. Weathered wood obtained from lightning-struck trees or those that have succumbed to rot invariably take others down with them, thereby making for some excellent supplies.

I believe this hobby provides one of the mose unfettered ways of building furniture for your home or garden. You have complete freedom to continually change your design (remember, almost everything is screwed or bolted together to enable you to do this) right up to the finish. You don't even have to worry about scratching any pieces, varnishing or painting, or even the odd hole drilled in error. Nothing can faze you in your endeavors.

It is hard to imagine that this might be the first book ever written devoted totally to this subject, but I'm sure from now on, there will be others. Building with driftwood is an entirely unique experience. And after all is said and done, there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that there is not another piece in the world quite the same as yours.

Have fun.

Read More Show Less

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