Jimmy Warne has earned his living, up to now, as a rotational yacht engineer. But since lockdown he has had plenty of time on his hands to get creative in his own backyard.
What inspired you to start making furniture? Boredom! Ok serious answer: we saw so many lovely rustic furniture items we liked, I decided I’d have a go at making some of them. We had some amazing old wood in the shed we found and after some serious TLC, that became our first item: a coffee table. Since then it’s just continued with bigger and more complex projects.
How did you learn to make them?
I just make them.
(Jimmy’s wife,Erica interrupts, “He just looks at an item or image, or has an idea, and then he figures out how to make it. No YouTube, nothing. He’s a natural. Our TV unit is bespoke, built to fit in our wonky living room corner. He looked at the space, came up with a design, then tweaked it here and there until it was just right”.
How did the process of making something make you feel during lockdown?
Like I wasn’t wasting my time at home, and it was actually a good opportunity to get a lot of projects done. I wanted to finish my wife’s home office which was my biggest job so far, building bespoke cabinets to mid height and then making book shelves above with old fruit crates we sourced locally, interspersed with industrial and retro lights I wired in. She’s very happy with her new space.
How did you find materials during the lockdown?
My workshop was already fairly well stocked but we discovered Bauhaus were doing deliveries - in total we had three of them as the lockdown kept getting extended.
Have you decided to make it a business?
Not yet! Although I’ve had a few requests for pieces already which I’m quite happy to work on and deliver.
Jimmy makes it sound as simple as, and if you go on a hunt on Google for “Pallet Furniture Ideas” then you will be overwhelmed with ideas. But the idea and the reality, at least in my experience, are quite a way apart, but then that is coming from someone who considers a teaspoon as a reasonable substitute for a screwdriver.
Here’s a tip if you feel inspired by Jimmy’s creations, or you can just email him and let him do it for you (Jamesengineer1@gmail.com).
If you decide to go it alone, do your prep
Many people don’t realise that you need to do a little preparation work on your pallet wood before you start a project. Pallets often sit in dirty and dingy spaces, and you don’t want to expose your family, friends or pets to anything that would harm them as pallets are used to move various oils, and chemicals things that could leak onto them. It’s always a good idea to use gloves and goggles to protect yourself when you are cleaning them up. The best way to clean your wooden pallet is with a soft, wet cloth with some soapy water.
Then lightly sand with either a block or an orbital sander. Make sure not to over-sand your wood as part of using a pallet that makes it so fantastic is that they have tons of character and the defects make the finished project look even better. After you have it sanded, then you will want to remove all of the dust: wipe it down with a wet rag and let it air dry. Then you are ready to start your project, good luck!