Some of you may wonder: does this guy have a life? all he does is blog!
These days, my life is real simple and I spend alot of time repurposing, shopping, and finding creative ways to use salvage materials.
This project was inspired a few years back when I first started repurposing. The materials are easily attainable at most salvage yards or even garage sales.
Since my first garden stake, I have made more than I can remember — they seem to be a popular piece for the gardeners and a unique one that you won't find at Target or Home Depot.
The project is rated as "medium skilled" due to the saw I used, however you can obtain the same results with a sharp standard hand saw as well. The primary material used for this project is a spindle from an old stair railing. I also used rusty hardware.
I frequent a store in Oakland called the Reuse People. They specialize in deconstruction of homes. Basically they tear apart a home piece by piece and then organize the materials into departments, doors, windows, cabinets, molding, etc.
The place is open to the public for second-use materials. I purchased the spindles from them, previously stain and used.
MAKING YOUR GARDEN STAKE
The first step is to take the spindles and lightly sand them. I painted them white, and use a paint and primer combined to save time.
Next I cut the top of the spindle with two cuts using my chop saw. The cut is a diagonal cut on one end and finish the other side with another diagonal cut to make a peak. It should look similar to the peak of a house.
After the peak is formed, drill a hole, — I used a 5/8 bit in the middle slightly below the peak — drill just half way through the spindle. It is a personal preference on location of the hole, so don't worry about an exact place to drill — as long as it is in the middle of the stake towards the top somewhere.
Once the hole is done, sand the entire piece paying close attention to corners and edges. You can over-sand if you have the energy and show off the wood beneath. The more you sand, the better it looks.
Next cut two pieces of recycled wood. The wood should be slightly larger than the spindle and preferable already previously painted either by you or as found.
Remember, contrasting colors work best. I have used red, blue, and brown in the past, contrasting to the white of the spindle. Cut the wood about 2.5 inches and the other piece should be cut just slighly larger than the first piece.
One trick I learned was to take the original cut piece and place it at the edge of the uncut wood, fold it upwards and measure it with a pencil. This will give the roof of the stake a more balanced look.
Now that you have your pieces cut, attach the two with nails. Pay attention to the sizes of the wood — larger cut wood will get nailed to smaller piece.
Now that you have the roof you can attach it to the spindle. You can use wood glue however, if you want your piece to last through the outdoor seasons, better to screw it in (which is what I do).
Start a hole with a drill bit and then use a screw on each end and attach the roof. Once the roof is in place select a recycled metal piece to attach to the stake at or below the hole you have previously drilled. Rusty hardware smaller in size is preferable.
As you can see, I have boxes of the stuff — door hinges look great. Attach them using screws, paying attention to the symmetry of the piece and predrilling the holes really helps.
After you are done, apply a protective coating of polyurethane so that your piece will survive the elements.
Look what you have created! A garden stake using recycled materials. Most of my customers place them outdoors in a planter. It gives the plant some depth and interest, especially in the non-flowering seasons.
Good luck and happy building!