As it turns out, the first thing we at Quill and Blade have for sale are tomatoes from the garden. We needed a stand, and in a sense this is our first store. This stand was made of saved and scrounged materials, except for some 1 inch screws, and some 2 inch screws. Months ago, I was driving past a guy’s burn pile, and spotted these wood crates he was about to burn. he gave them to me, at the time I wasn’t sure how I would use them I thought I would make them look like old time not plywood crates, complete with stenciled lettering.I had some brown-ish exterior wood “stain”, which I thought I could apply, and they would take on a brown hue. It had way too much coverage, and they were basically painted brown. I left them near my work shed. In the next picture, I’ve pulled two of them out. There is a piece of black roof metal a friend gave me on my last salvage run. I borrowed a trailer and got a bunch of metal pieces for making buildings. I went around and gathered wood I thought would work for this project, here’s most of it.I found a scrap piece of that cheap plywood they sometimes call Luan. I cut these pieces for the end. At first, I made an X shape, but it didn’t look right by itself. So I added the top and bottom pieces. Next, I did a fast trick to make it look like individual boards, instead of plywood. I took a can of grey spray primer, and a paint guard tool, and quickly made edges that look like boards. I didn’t measure it, I just held the tool at a position that I thought was parallel to the edge. I’ve done this sort of thing enough times that I can get away with it; if you feel like measuring, do that. When you think about old wood, you probably think a tan color, but if it’s been out in the sun, it will be mostly grey.The X decorations were too new looking, so I made a quicky oil rubbing stain with black oil based paint thinned way down with mineral spirits. That’s one of the few things mineral spirits, or ‘paint thinner’ as it is often called, is good for. Don’t use this stuff for cleaning brushes, or thinning paint unless it’s a near emergency. Anyway, the reason for black is that to make grey, you mix black and white, for the most part. Here, I figured that the very thin black would look grey on the light wood. the wood served as the white. I used a bit of cloth rag to apply it, another advantage of doing it in this order was that the lines that oversprayed onto the X pieces from the faux boards step would wipe off with the mineral spirits. The primer is fast drying, so do this right away. Don’t even give it 15 minutes.Here’s a closer picture of that step, I also use a larger rag to remove any excess stain. I don’t remember where I got that little can of black; a garage sale, somebody cleaning out their garage, I can’t remember.In the lower part of the next picture, you see what looks like the front edge of the crate, it’s not. It’s a 2 inch by 2 inch piece of wood. It was dirty, and had screws in it. So I used the impact driver to remove the screws, then a wire brush to loosen the dirt. Now here’s a bonus today: Extra mileage from your wire brushes. I tell you, even the Scottish guys come to me for advice on how to be thrifty.
This one is obvious, if you’re devoted. The wire brushes always wear out at the end away from your hand, so you need to cut off that bald part of the wood. If you use a wood, saw, you could damage it by hitting the embedded wires. So use a hacksaw instead. A little slower, but it works, and the visceral satisfaction of squeezing new life out of a throw away tool is great. That pleasure was already mine with this brush, it looks like I could do it one more time, before curtains. The scrub brush is for knocking off the loose dirt.I had to stop, and by the time I came back, it had rained on my wood. So I didn’t want to use an oil based stain, or it would have bad results, it wouldn’t soak in, and would be blotchy. Instead, I found a can of brown latex paint, and di the same thing with it. It turned out to be flat latex, so it stayed on the surface more than I wanted, but it ended up OK. When you’re theming a project, you don’t always have to be exacting, but you do need an idea of what you can get away with. The number one bad move is to cut corners just because you want to do less work. That’s a formula for hodge-podge work. You DO NOT want people to look at it, and then say “Oh I get it, that’s a…” You want instant recognition.
I made the roof support from scrounged one by material, and attached the two pieces of tin with roof screws. Here’s the stand from the side. I found an old desktop that I’ve had for probably 10 years. I’ve used it occasionally to do sign work on, but I was amazed at how well it fits here. Also, see how much lighter the X pieces are when dry. I added a lighthearted sign. There’s a picture of our first produce. It all sold out, we now need more tomatoes to ripen.
The yellow sign is made from a piece of plastic that was a potato chip advertisement at a ball park. The yellow paint was in a steel tool box I was given. It was one of those big jobsite type boxes. A RR repair facility was under new management, renovating the shop and throwing stuff out. I could have pulled the paint out of the box and left it, now I’m glad I took it. Plain colors are easier to use later than custom tans, and tinted whites.
Outside edge to outside edge of the two crates is 5 feet, the roof is 6 feet wide, by 4 feet front to back. There are support boards put underneath and at the back, so that the whole thing can be moved with a large hand truck. The desktop is heavy, so I move that separately.