Introduction: Hardwood Rug

Picture of Hardwood Rug

Instructables inspires me to make stuff. That is one of my very favorite parts of this site. I would have never thought to make wood sandals or a ring made out of a penny and wood. I click through the the different instructables and contest and by the end I am inspired to make something cool.
It happened not so long ago when I saw the rug contest. I dismissed it at first but then, on one of the nights that i was going over all of my different projects in my head, and I thought, I wonder if I could make a small rug out of wood.
I started brain storming and looked for some inspiration that night. The next day I dug out some wood and got to work.
This was a very tedious little rug but totally worth it in the end. There are 136 individual pieces of wood that makes up this rug. Each one of those pieces had two holes drilled through it and the edges sanded over. About half way through I was tempted to abandon the project due to the tedious steps involved but I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoy my hardwood rug.

Step 1: What You Need

Miter saw

Planer

Joiner

Table saw

Drill press

Bench sander

3 feet of 1x8 walnut

" " Cherry

" " Oak

30 feet of twine or other natural fiber rope

Excess time

These are all of the tools that I used but they are by no means a necessity. This can be done with simple tools it just isn't quite as easy.



Step 2: The Wood

Picture of The Wood

I used cherry walnut and oak for this rug. The great thing about this is that you don't need a lot of each kind of wood. I used scraps that I had lying around my shop.
These scraps were different sizes and different thicknesses. I ran all of the wood trough a planer to make sure that it was the same thickness so it didn't feel uneven while walking on the rug.

Step 3: Join, Cut, Cut, Drill

Picture of Join, Cut, Cut, Drill

I started by sending all three of the wood scraps through the joiner. I need to rip them down to 1.5 inch strips but I wanted to make sure that they had a flat side when I sent them through the table saw.
Once they all had a flat side I ripped them with the table saw. I set my fence for 1.5 inches and ripped 20 pieces.
I had varied amounts of the wood. I cut a lot of cherry and had less of the walnut and oak. When you have all the strips cut you can decide on what length to cut your individual pieces. I went with 3 inches. I'm not sure why, I just thought this looked proportional.
What would have made this really easy is a cross cut sled but I don't have one of those yet. I have been meaning to make one but... Well I really don't have an excuse i just haven't done it. Anyway, I clamped a stopper to my miter saw so I could get consistent lengths of block. This took a long time to cut. I ended up using 136 pieces but i cut, drilled, and shaped around 180 just so I made sure that I had enough.
After cutting comes the most fun leg of this journey- drilling. If you choose to tackle this project I really hope you have a drill press. If you don't please go to someone's house to use theirs. You do not want to do this step with a hand held drill.
In my shop I set up my fence and stopper so uncoils drill in the center of the block about .5 inch from the end. I used a 7/32 drill bit. This was not super fun. For one when you are drilling 180 pieces, you are drilling 360 holes! Take your time and try not to get burned out. Also be very carful because your drill bit will get very hot while doing this job.
Just to be clear I drilled before i sanded so I had square edges. I wanted the holes to be as even as possible.

Step 4: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

So I don't know if I made the right decision here. Let me know your thoughts. I was thinking I could run all of the slats over my router table with a cove bit to round over the sides. Then I would just have to cut them and drill. But I worried that if the sides were rounded before I drilled them, I wouldn't be able to drill I straight hole with the drill press.
I don't know if it would have made a difference but that is not the route I went. So instead I sanded each and every one individually. That was a lot of work. I put some 60 grit sandpaper on the wheel of my bench sander and 80 grit on top. I wanted to round the pieces over fast and then I smoothed them with the 80 grit.
This really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I had a nice little system going and it didn't take too long to finish.

Step 5: Making a Long Needle

Picture of Making a Long Needle

So i needed a way to get the twine all the way trough all of the individual blocks. For this i decide that I needed a very long needle. So we have these signs that we put up at our orchard. They are just little paper sleeve signs that we slip over heavy wire. I have found a million different uses for this wire when it will no longer work for the signs.
I needed a needle about two feet long so I cut the wire to that length. Then I put a blunt point on the end so it would go through the holes better. Then I needed to attach the twine.
My first attempt was to use ca glue to glue the twine onto the needle. That did not work. I got through half of my first run when it came off.
Next I decide to cut a small slot in the end of the needle and crimp the twine in the end. This worked great. I used my angle grinder to cut a small slit. Then I crimped the twine with a pair of channel locks. This worked the whole time and it never came out.

Step 6: Weaving??

Picture of Weaving??

So I'm not really sure want to call this step. It's kinda like weaving... Anyway, I wanted these to be in a random order so I just grabbed a handful and started setting them up. When I laid them out I tried to line up the holes as best as I could. This helps later.
I made sure to pull a lot of extra twine out and I started to weave. I carefully suck my needle through the first block and then the next and the next. Because I was using one piece of twine, I pulled a lot of extra through. I kept weaving the pieces together back and forth until I got through the whole thing. When all the twine is through, you can go back and pull everything right.

Step 7: Secure the Twine

Picture of Secure the Twine

I wanted a way to Secure the twine but I wanted to make it really tight. So this is how I went about that. I left plenty of rope at each end. Then I drilled a small hole on the underside and put some two part epoxy in and wedged the twine in with a dowl. Then I cut the dowl flush and sanded it down. It worked really well and got everything really tight.

Step 8: Pads and Finish

Picture of Pads and Finish

I wanted a non slip surface so I bought some rugs stuff. Sorry I can't figure out what to call this. I cut small squares and glued them on the bottom. It helps the rug stay put and it keeps it quite as well.
I finished the top with some 120 grit sandpaper and then some boiled linseed oil. The linseed oil really brought out the color and the grain of the wood. I just wiped it on with a cloth, let it sit and then wiped dry.

Step 9: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

This was definitely a tough but rewarding project. It was a lot of work but it looks really cool. I hope you enjoyed reading this please leave any questions or comments you may have. Thanks

Andy

Comments

JohnC762 (author)2017-10-25

Great project. I once saw a rocking chair with the seat and back made the same way, very comfortable. Some ideas: I think after ripping the strips I would stack them all on edge and layout lines across all of them where the holes would be drilled. I would then router the edges. Next drill the holes and then cut to length. For me handling all those small pieces would drive me crazy. Thanks.

manuelmasc (author)2016-12-26

it looks awesome! thanks for sharing

ksjunto (author)2016-12-26

An awesome project!

bcaldoc (author)2016-12-08

Congratulations on your win, you deserved it!

jabenoit (author)2016-12-01

Great project! Beautiful result, and very well written up.

Paracord would be a very good cord - great strength, and after the linseed oil step, you could wet it down and the paracord will shrink / tighten up just a bit.

the paracord idea is great! Thanks

sconnors (author)2016-12-01

A smaller version could be used as a hot pad on the table.

Wonderful idea! I have a bunch of pieces left over, maybe I'll try that next

T. ToddH (author)2016-12-01

That is awesome. Nice work. great idea for gifts as well.

so glad you liked it!

derskine (author)2016-12-02

Great look!
This would look great for a wall treatment too. Thanks for the inspiration!

it would look awesome on a wall!

lennybaby1 (author)2016-12-02

Nailed it as usual,no way in hell i have the patience to do this.beautifull work my freind.got my vote.

thanks for the comment and the vote!

bravoechonovember1 (author)2016-12-02

congrats on becoming a finalist!!

Thanks, you too

hbold (author)2016-12-02

very nice and different. A good way to promote woodwork.

ClenseYourPallet (author)hbold2016-12-02

Thanks! I'm glad you like it

rustybender (author)2016-11-29

Really nice project. I've got tons of scrap wood laying around and this would be a perfect project to use some of it up. I'm a little wary of using one continuous weave to hold everything together as one break in the twine would cause everything to fall apart. I might try using separate twine runs for every few rows. The other thing I would be tempted to change is to use half-blocks on the end rows so it looks nice and square.

I'll probably route the edges of the boards before cutting them into individual pieces. I might lose a little accuracy on the drill press, but as long as I'm using flexible twine/cord as the connections, a little misalignment shouldn't be a deal breaker.

One way to avoid the the 'one break and it all falls apart' problem would be to knot the twine between each piece, like they do pearls on a strand to prevent the same thing; everything falling apart. The construction method would have to be different, though to allow this, and I'm not entirely sure how to go about it; I'm just spitballing here..

Another thing that would help (and make it more difficult to make!) is to cut a small kerf from the hole to the end of each piece for the exposed twine to set in on the outside edge pieces; that way it will be protected from wear somewhat. This is how leather stitching is done: you make a groove in the leather for the thread to rest in and it isn't worn down by things rubbing against the leather. This would also make the edges a little neater in appearance on the finished project. Now I just have to find some hardwood scraps that seem to proliferate in everyone's shop but mine :-)

I've got almost 3 5 gallon buckets full of little scrap pieces. Anytime I have a waste piece of wood that's too small for anything obvious, I throw them in a bucket. It take time to build a good collection.

If you want to cheat a bit, find a woodworking store and see if they sell scraps.

My local woodworking store has a few bargain barrels full of scraps they sell by the pound. The pieces are too small to be used for larger projects, but would be perfect for this. I'm planning on picking up some pieces to add some additional "color" to my rug.

Thanks so much for the comment and the great ideas. It has taken years to accumulate all of those beautiful scraps and I'm glad I have them.

I thought the same thing on the end pieces, and the one continuous twine. I was thinking maybe every other row. (?) Maybe use leather instead of twine. Might be a little tougher, and I think I might like the look of leather better.

Also like your idea of routing the edges.

I think about the twine breaking every time I move it. So far it has held up well but I'm sure the day is coming. Please let me know if you decide to make one. I would love to see a pic.

I'd probably use this nylon-coated steel fishing wire instead: http://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_10051_1061711_-1

Great idea! Thanks

Nonnie1205 (author)2016-12-01

When I first saw this, I thought it was an 'ible for a kitchen backsplash. This is way nicer than anything on the market! Our kitchen has LOTS of wood and this would be perfect. Just might have to try this! Voted!

monicaplacidi (author)2016-12-01

Qué hermoso proyecto! Estoy pensándolo para el baño.

Muchas gracias por el comentario!!

TLJamesA (author)2016-12-01

Nice! I really like this

Thanks for the kind words

allisonbates (author)2016-12-01

Nice job! A similar project for wood flooring has been shown on Pinterest. They used one color for the hallway and glued them down. I "believe" a grout was made with the dust from the wood and varnish.

I would love to see that. I think it would look absolutely fantastic. A lot of work but well worth it I'm sure.

pmono7690 (author)2016-12-01

Beautiful!

Is it slippery on floors? Another way to join might be to use an anti slip matt and attach the piece (glue) to it.

Love it!

It doesn't slip at all. I did glue some anti slip pieces to the bottom and it seemed to do the trick.

Suzanbouchard19 (author)2016-12-01

Very nice work, you have lots of patience.

So glad you like it. Thank you

RastaWife (author)2016-12-01

Definitely worth the work . . . your end result is really beautiful and unique.

Thank you!

manattweb (author)2016-12-01

This is great looking and involves some basic woodworking skills. I think there are some techniques that have been mentioned that been mentioned that might reduce the labor involved. One idea I had was to make your back rail for the drill press taller and the flat edge of the block would be a way to keep it aligned properly. That way, you could route the longer strips before cutting and drilling.

At any rate, great project and am definitely going to try this one - perhaps with palette wood - just to get the "reclaimed" or "up-cycled" vibe going.

I almost used pallets in this project. I think that would look really fantastic as well. Please send me a picture if you give it a go. I really like the groove idea for the twine to rest in. Thanks for the great ideas

manattweb (author)manattweb2016-12-01

I just had another idea - use the table saw to add a groove along the edge for the twine to run in on the outside of the mat. It might give it a cleaner look. Also, a nylon colored cord (black or brown) might hold up better.

sgbotsford (author)2016-12-01

I would expect that the slack in the twine would not stay uniformly distributed, and spaces would open up.

How has it worn?

The first picture adequately represents what the spaces look like. The twine has not seemed to stretch so far but I haven't moved it around a ton. Thanks for the comment.

coolcrafter101 (author)2016-11-30

Man, this is cool.

bcaldoc (author)2016-11-29

Thanks so much for putting so much time and hard work into making this gorgeous rug. I am so impressed with your work.

ClenseYourPallet (author)bcaldoc2016-11-30

Thank you for the wonderful comment.

jlehm005 (author)2016-11-29

This is beautiful, wish I had a place to put it in my house because I would be doing it, thank you for posting it.

I say do it anyway. If you don't have a place in your house, it would make a great gift.

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Bio: My Grandpa got me into wood working when I was five years old. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love creating something out ... More »
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