Planter Process Video

"Why is this so expensive?  It's just a hunk of wood with a hole in it." No, it's not.  I swear.

I don't blame people for thinking this, or even asking me this question.  If you're not a woodworker or a maker, of course you don't know the process and all the steps that go into making a product.   So I decided to make a short video that illustrates just how much goes into the making of one Few Bits planter, from getting the wood to putting on the finish.  I asked a couple talented women to help me create this, and they obliged.  Rita Baghdadi from Endless Eye shot and edited the video, and Sofia Hultquist from Drum & Lace composed the music.

The video starts off at the lumberyard, I buy wood from there for my custom furniture jobs and big orders.  But a lot of my goods are also made from my scraps and from other woodworkers' and lumberyards scraps.  Every couple weeks, I drive around to my sources and load up the MINI with trash picked wood.  You may think that this should make my goods cheaper, but it does take up a lot of time to drive around LA and beyond, and go through various scrap piles.  So what I save in money, I spend in time.  But I like to do it, and the people whose scraps I take like it too.  No one likes to throw away beautiful hardwood, and most people are glad that I can make use of it.

Most of the wood I get is "in the rough", which means that it needs to be cleaned up, made flat and square.  This usually involves using the miter saw, the table saw, jointer and planer.  Depending on what state the wood is in, this can also be time consuming.

Next I determine which planter would best suit the wood I have, and where I want to place my template.  If you wandered into my shop at this point in the process, you might think I was taking a break, because you'd see me just standing there, staring at the wood. Rest assured I am not in some sort of fugue state, it is part of the design process; deciding what side of the wood to use, what part will look good with which planter, how I want to glue it up, etc.  I try to make sure that the pattern on the side of the planter is just as beautiful as the front, so it will look good from all angles.

After gluing and clamping, I cut out the pattern that I have drawn on the wood with the band saw, and then sand out all the saw marks and do the final shaping on the belt sander.   Next I drill a hole big enough for the glass plant holder using a large forstner bit in the drill press.

Next comes a whole lot of sanding, with progressively finer and finer grit sandpaper until  the planter has a nice smooth feel to it.  I hand sand the corners and edges so they are not sharp, and then wet the planter down to raise the grain.  When the water dries, I sand again with fine grit to smooth the wood again, and then I apply a few coats of Danish Oil.  This oil is nourishing but also protective, and I like that it dries to a matte finish while still allowing the chatoyance of the wood to come through.  After it soaks in a while, I buff off the finish and let it dry for at least 24 hours.  When the finish is dry, I apply my homemade wood butter which contains beeswax for another layer of sheen and protection.

TL;DR Watch the video.