Summer Challenge 2008 #1: In the Beginning was Ugly

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Blog entry by Russel posted 07-12-2008 06:24 PM 1150 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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It has been said that it is a valuable exercise to blog a project from beginning to end. That seems reasonable to me, though I often forget to keep track of what I’m doing while I’m doing it so I don’t get a lot of progress pictures. With the summer challenge, I am going to attempt to document what I’m doing as I’m doing it. I’m expecting there to be gaps in the timeline (just like the gaps in my memory), but I’ll do my best to make them small.

There was a gate in our backyard that had seen better days.

It was kinda standing when we bought the house, but has since gotten lazy. The Mrs. proclaimed, “It’s ugly, can’t you do something about it?” Eventually, I built the new gate you see below and the Mrs. was happy for a time (That’s the way things work).

Well, the old gate sat hidden behind the new gate while I decided what to do with it. Then along came the LumberJocks Summer Challenge 2008 and there was hope. All I needed to do was come up with something to make. So, I carried the old gate into my shop and just looked at it for a while. (You can look too.)

Pretty ugly, right? So I tore it apart, which was a relatively new experience. It was nailed together and I had to find my hammer which I don’t use a whole lot these days. Then I had to remove all the nails, ain’t that fun! Of course, some nails had the head rusted off and they just weren’t coming out. I’m not using that wood. But I got it torn apart and started cleaning it up and this is what I’ve got to work with.

The challenge is about repurposing junk, or something percieved as junk. I do believe this gate is not only percieved as junk, but truly is junk, so I figuring this will cover one side of the challenge. Now, I need to make some serving thing for outdoors to cover the other side of the challenge. That will be the trick since I’m an indoor kinda guy.

I’m now off to the races. Gotta clean that wood up a bit more and figure out what it’s gonna be when I’m done. With any luck, it might just make it in time for the challenge.

-- Working at Woodworking

11 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 07-12-2008 06:30 PM

Looks like you are off to a good start. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3894 days

#2 posted 07-12-2008 07:13 PM

From junk come jewels. Can’t wait to see your progress.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#3 posted 07-12-2008 08:06 PM


You are doing well so far. You managed to salvage some pretty good looking lumber from going into the dumpster. Keep us posted on your progress.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4297 days

#4 posted 07-12-2008 08:16 PM

Just think! You’re helping to save our forests.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View eklectic's profile


26 posts in 3767 days

#5 posted 07-12-2008 08:23 PM

Should be interesting to follow!!!:-)

-- Eklectic, Follow my Bliss!

View steveosshop's profile


230 posts in 3624 days

#6 posted 07-13-2008 12:48 AM

Good luck. The lumber seems to be in descent shape from the pics. Do you know what kind it is? Keep us posted.

-- Steve-o

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4075 days

#7 posted 07-13-2008 12:50 AM

Great start to the project Russel.

I chuckled when you said you had to go find your hammer. I’m the same way . . . it collects more dust than the shop vac.

-- BLOG -

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3770 days

#8 posted 07-13-2008 08:00 PM

It may start ugly, but I bet it’s going to end up great.

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View JasonH's profile


136 posts in 3826 days

#9 posted 07-14-2008 01:03 PM

Lookin’ great, Russel! I wondered what happened to the old gate…very nice that you got a lot of usable wood from it!

-- Living on the square...

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#10 posted 07-14-2008 07:49 PM

I think you’ve already proven why this challenge is so important. The ugly gate didn’t look like much at all but with a little vision and lot of effort (I’m sure) hidden in that junk was beautiful wood just waiting to be rediscovered!!
Whatever you end up making with it is going to be gorgeous.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3838 days

#11 posted 07-14-2008 08:08 PM

It looks like there was some nice wood hiding behind all that patina

It should make a nice project.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

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