We have completed sanding the floor and woodwork in the room, but if we thought that was the end of it, Nic has had a bright idea and the original banister rails are being replaced by scaffold board bookcases. Inspired by Elephant Buffet’s blog post ‘How to keep from falling down a staircase’, we’re starting off in a similar manner but with some differences in the construction to keep it simple, rustic and thoroughly modern with straight lines and clean corners.

The staircase opening to our modern rustic (to be) bedroom with the original banister rails

Our starting point is unique to this room, but for anyone wanting to create something similar, the existing bannister rails need to be removed. The bannister posts here run down into the floor and are incorporated into the structure of the downstairs walls. Rather than remove them completely, we have decided to allow the posts to contribute to the base of the bookcase. Having placed the lengths of wood that will be used to make the base of the bookcase on either side of a bannister post, they act temporarily as a cutting guide. The bannister post is then saw off, running the flat of the saw across the tops of the guides.

Dismantled banister rail with a small piece of the original post

The remainder of the bannister rails are removed. In our case, a small piece of the old bannister is left in place but it could have been completely saw down to the level of the floor.

Destined to have been made into bath trays, we’ve taken our scaffold boards and cut them to size for bookcases instead

The bookcase is mostly constructed from reclaimed scaffold planks. Having decided how big we wanted the bookcase to be, the scaffold planks are cut to size, one length for the bottom shelf and two pieces to make the sides. Just to check everything is correct, we balanced everything in place and cast a critical eye over the dimensions, condition and warping of the planks. Not bad.

The bookcase is to have 2 shelves, one at bottom and one halfway up. As scaffold boards are about 35mm thick, a grove of this width is chiselled into both planks that make the sides. As this bookcase butts up against the wall, it is sanded smooth and bolted into place, making it very sturdy, steady and safe for its dual role as bookcase and bannister.  Our second bookcase/bannister will be free standing and we’ll post on this blog the way we make it. At the moment, we plan to make it much like this one.

Put the base of the bookcase in place and screw to the floorboards

We’re using lengths of wood cut to a square profile. The one at the front that can be seen has been darkened using our aging solution. The other at the back of the bookcase has been left its natural colour as this will be hidden in the construction. Both pieces are screwed to the floorboards.

Our reclaimed scaffold boards are slightly warped. Clamping before screwing gets them nice and flat.

Sand the scaffold board that makes the bottom shelf. Screw the shelf into place along one edge – in this case the back and then if you have something to clamp to, apply pressure to flatten it out and then screw. We we’re cautious in applying the pressure as it is possible to split the planks in two if done too much. However in this case it did flatten out nicely so all is well.

Any clamps can be removed and the bookcase is ready for the other side to be fastened to the base and middle shelf slotted in. We did think about using dowels, glue and screws to hold the shelf in place but simply slotting the shelf in is enough.

Finally, the two planks for the top can be screwed down into the side planks. Originally, the top was a light blond colour when removed from the pallet but will be aged using the solution we’ve made. This needs to be done to both planks and the back of the bookcase needs making. We’ll show how this was done and the second free-standing bookcase made in ‘How We make A Bookcase – Part 2’.

With all the sanding that we’ve been doing, I’m amazed we haven’t produced our very own dunes. Enough-was-enough and we gave-up on our own elbow-grease and hired in ‘The Machine’. This was just a standard floor sander, but the 24 grade paper attached, it tore through the varnish and stained floorboards in no time.

Needless to say, the bulk of the floor sanding is now done. Maybe we should have hired an edging sander too but even using the 24 grade sandpaper and working by hand, it is very effective so we’ve pushing round the edge with this. The drop in the summer temperature from the 30 degrees to the 20 is very welcome in light of the physical nature of the work… phew!

With a change in the weather this week I have found myself wanting to spend a few minutes, here and there, inside the house, though too restless to settle into anything over involved (sewing and knitting will to have wait for darker days). Decorating these wooden door knobs has offered just the correct measure of cathartic medicine required.

We now have 20 delicately hand-decorated Mandala style door knobs. We just need to decide what to use them for now. Some can be seen on our Repurposed Driftwood Rustic coat and hat hanger, so a few of this new batch are destined that way too. We are considering offering the hand-decorated door knobs for sale as a resource, let us know if you would be interested, comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

After dismantling several pallets to give us the materials for our coffee tables, we now have all those wooden blocks that are sandwiched in the middle just hanging around. Bashed and nailed into place, they are in fact made from really good wood that in our mind, would be a shame not to reuse in some way…

Therefore we’ve just been out and picked up this drill bit. It may just be the thing…

As well as those great little wooden blocks from the pallets we have also been picking up driftwood and branches. Hmm.

 

Here are some great vintage planes we’ve found. Not sure how old they are but it’s entirely possible they are as old as me… and some. Probably not suitable for woodworking but very aesthetic and well used.

If these don’t shout industrial at you then I don’t know what does.

Might be good as bookends or just placed for full aesthetic effect. Not sure yet but surely something good will come of these…

If you live in Swansea (SA4) and have these any of the following items that you may be planning to recycle or throw away, then Estuary Home would love to hear from you:

  • wine bottles
  • beer bottles with printed logos
  • glass jars
  • damaged roof slates
  • pallets
  • wooden picture rail
  • scaffolding hand rail or treads.

Drop us an email or complete our contact form telling us what you want to get rid of. If you are happy for us to do so, we can collect these unwanted bits and pieces and make them into the things that we think will be practical and beautiful additions to peoples’ homes.

Our details are on our Contact Us page.