Are you a serious fan of any of the sci-fi, horror, or fantasy shows out right now? Then show 'em the love AND upcycle discarded products in the process!
I made this TWD Fan Art "Lucille" Bat & Display Shelf from discarded pallets that were leaning against a trash can in my neighborhood. I wood-turned one of the support boards (the stringer boards) that happened to be 4x4 x 36", and then found two boards with a lot of character to make most of the display shelf. Scraps of pine were used for the supports, and then Pure Color Sustainable, NON-VOC stains were used (leftover from other projects) to first color the bat, and then to add the . . uh . . "character".
Step 1: Hunt Down a Pallet or Two & Get Started.
This is me - finding some discarded pallets (and Lucille is in this batch)! When you get home, use your safety equipment and follow the manufacturer's directions on your power tools/hand tools.
1. Dismantle the pallets. I used a reciprocating saw (Sawzall by Milwaukee) to quickly cut through the nails with a wood/metal blade.
2. Separate the pallet stringers (the support boards) the same way. You MUST remove most of the nails from this board - it is CRITICAL, as it will be put on a powerful wood lathe and you could chip blades, or incur serious injuries if you aren't careful! I used a small hole saw and simply drilled down a bit since I knew I'd be removing material. When I exposed the nails enough to grip with a Vice Grips pliers, I gently removed them. I found the centers on each end by drawing a line across the diagonal points - where they intersect is the approximate center.
3. Take the stringer to the table saw and set your angle - cut the excess points off and begin the rounding-off process withe the table. I put it on the lathe and it was still rolling around crookedly so I stopped it, and trimmed with a draw knife and that was faster for me.
Step 2: Wood-turning the Pallet Stringer - Use Your Calipers
4. I installed the bat onto my older, but well maintained Craftsman 36" lathe. Then I secured both ends tightly. I used a youth-sized aluminum bat as my template, and a cheap set of calipers to check measurements from one to the other, turning on the lathe and transferring points to start chiseling and stop chiseling. I measured about 8" at a time because of the tool's rest length.
TAKE YOUR TIME! You're better off taking off thin layers and checking more often than just gouging away! Continue to transfer measurements - from large end of bat, it's actually consistent for several inches, so I turned it first.
5. At the first sight of taper, I measured the start of the taper and then to the thinnest point before the handle and transferred those marks, cutting the materials out slowly and carefully.
6. Finally, I measured the handle portion and the end piece, carefully turning and smoothing over the end of the bat.
7. When the carving was complete, I used sand paper at 80-grit, then 120-grit and then to 330 grit.
8. I cut the ends closely with the chisels and finally sawed it loose from the wood lathe; sanding both ends smooth.
Step 3: Make Your Display Shelf!
9. I used pallet deck boards. Optional: Remove the nails with a punch and hammer - or leave them in for character . I chose to plane mine so I removed the nails and planed the boards to the same thickness. I specifically looked for unusual boards with more defects, spalting (occurs naturally), knotholes, and bark - the "live edge" parts that prove it was once a tree. When I found two I loved - found AFTER I planed - I hand-sanded down to 600 grit. I took a pine board scrap, cut it into two pieces and glued it together. I traced around the fat end of the bat on one piece, and then around the handle end. I cut the larger end to the length I wanted, carefully shaving off very small amounts at a time until I got it centered on the back board. Then I simply took the other set that was glued up and held it up so I knew how far to cut down to keep the bat level. I carved these with a band saw, then sanded progressively to 600-grit.
10. I attached them together with good quality stainless steel screws and simple butt joints that I also used Titebond Glue on.
11. While they dried, I applied the first coat of polyurethane to the sides facing up.
Step 4: Burn, Baby...burn! Woodburn, That Is...
12. Next - PYROGRAPHY! You can use a fancy wood-burning kit, but I had an old soldering iron that's just too heavy for fine soldering work. I hand-designed a drawing for the logo, and then used old-school carbon tracing paper to transfer it onto the bat, approximately where I remember they put them. I woodburned it in, and then freehand-drew the barbed wire around the fat end of the bat.
13. After all the pyrography was complete, I gently sanded with 330-grit to knock down any high points.
Step 5: Making Lucille a "Dirty Girl"
14. After pyrography is complete, I sanded down to 600-grit by hand.
15. TIME TO STAIN! I used Pure Color's Sustainable Stains & Finishes because they're NO VOC, they dry to touch in 30 minutes, and they've got a gorgeous array of products in innovative packaging and excellent support. No, they didn't pay me to say that. It's just my review! I made a mixture of stains, starting with French Oak, and added lava, Cherry, and more to create that middle brown tone. I purposely applied it heavy and light, letting it sit for a moment before I wiped it off.
16. Lucille is a THIRSTY GIRL! At least according to Negan... so we had to satisfy her a bit. I mixed their cherry color, lava color, and their blue color to create a blood, and flicked it over the bat. I used the brush and then a syringe to create the drips and purposely put in hand prints as well. I hung it up from the handle to dry.
Step 6: Seal It All!
17. Time to apply PureColorinc's awesome color line. Here's where I had a bit of fun.There were still a few light spots, and I was staining another project at the same time, so I used a bit of glaze from another project to create high- and low lights. To make a glaze, I simply mixed in a bit of color into the polyurethane. It's all water based so I can thin or thicken it at will. It's brilliant stuff! I applied 3 coats to the bat and the shelf, sanding between each with a gentle emery sponge.
18. The final step - and the only one that'll cost you - is to buy some bat tape. It's optional, but I liked it because the bat seems a little delicate to me, and that beefed it up a bit. I started wrapping from the bottom of the bat to about mid-way up until it started getting thicker, and turned back around. I think it went up part way up on the third turn.
19. Allow everything to DRY! Once dry, you can place Lucille in her place of honor!