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Discussion Starter #1
We all end up having multiple pieces of scrap wood left over after projects. What to do with them?

Well, I have taken to making three-dimensional collages. The work can be tedious, but the good thing is that even those with pretty basic (and cheap) tools can make such items. (Saw blades need to be sharp, though.) My first one was fairly large and went into our den. However, later, smaller versions have been put up for sale. Here are some samples.

1. A basic version that may be getting sold to a friend (as a gift for his sister). If he changes his mind, it goes to my consignment outlet. About 12×22 inches, with pieces mounted on 1/2-inch mdf.

2. One done on a religious theme, as ordered by a religious person for his wife. Also about 12×22. (I leave it to the reader to guess which religion.)

3. The original large version in our den which before had a straight redwood frame, unfinished, and which I had previously posted as a project on this site. The updated version has a black-painted frame, which my wife ordered after my later, smaller versions were done with black. (The new ones have pine frames.) With the pieces mounted on 1/2-inch mdf, it weighs about 20 pounds, so strong wall hooks are advised. About 31×25 in size.

4. The back of one of the smaller ones, showing the board and hanger.

A variety of woods have been used, with all but the mdf backing board being scraps left over from furniture work. Woods include redwood (reclaimed), cedar, maple, dogwood, Brazilian cherry, walnut, oak, douglas fir, and pine. Actually, I think that with a bit of proper selective skill and various stains and colors one could get away with using just pine, including the cheap stuff. Even chips with small knots can be used for effect.

Chips are cut and power sanded down individually to get each to the desired thickness. Once cut to proper size the pieces are glued in place (using PL Construction Adhesive, which does not need tight clamping), the dried workpiece is given smooth cuts on all four sides, and the black-painted frame is screwed to the perimeter in four sections. (The frame can be made removable if a color or style change is wanted down the line.)

While the wood-looking pieces are stained with various Minwax brand stains, the bright colored stuff was done with food coloring! Food coloring, which can be water diluted for a more pastel effect, allows the wood grain to show through. Each collage gets 4 to 6 coats of Minwax satin varnish, with the first two brushed on to individual pieces and the last two to four sprayed onto the finished product prior to mounting the frame.

Incidentally, food coloring is really very durable. Just try washing it off of your fingers after doing a project. Alcohol, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, and acetone will not do it, nor will brush-on varnish cause the stuff on the workpieces to smear. Brush scrubbing with automotive hand cleaner, followed by scrubbing with soap and water, will remove it from hands and fingers, however.

Howard Ferstler
 

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Really like these. I'm making something similar soon, and also have a 3d design made, just have to finish glue up and finish. I was thinking of using food coloring on the next one I make, and now I'm sure I will be. Thanks for sharing.
 

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If I could do the religious one over again I would make one change. I would reverse the locations of the thin blue and red pieces on the left, with the red piece moved to above the blue one and the blue one underneath. Right now, the blue is too close to the small green piece to its right and if the red one were further up it would do a better job of spreading the red pieces over the whole surface. I am normally careful about stuff like that, but this time I paid too much attention to the work on the cross and not enough on the other areas.

However, the customer likes it and, well, there is no pulling the thing apart to make the change.

Howard
 

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Great idea--much better than so many of the cheap wallhangings available at retail stores. I wish I had thought of doing this earlier, as I've been working with some exotic woods--curly koa, curly satinwood, curly maple, lacewood, etc--and could have had a neat hanging from some of the scraps.

Thanks for the great idea!
 
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