/ Halloween

Jack-o'-lantern out of reclaimed wood

Unlike the last time I tried building something ready for Halloween, I'm somewhat proud of the fact that I was able to have an idea for a project on a Thursday, and have it finished by the Sunday.

The idea was inspired by a wooden Jack-o'-lantern I spotted in a shop window while on holiday in Cheddar Gorge - as I saw it, I thought to myself "I can make that", and as soon as we got back to the hotel room, I did some research and found this awesome video, which served as the basis for my own build:

Now, if you was to ask Lucy what the percentage of projects born out of I can make that moments I've actually built, she'd no doubt tell you it's close to 0% - but unlike all the other times I've said this, wherein there'd always be a asterisk stating something like "...if I had a laser cutter", this time I knew I already had everything I needed.

The wood used was reclaimed from a couple of pallets I obtained a few weeks ago via a posting on gumtree. I'd never responded to such an ad before, so didn't really know what I was doing - so there I was, with Lucy for moral support, at a building site in Malvern trying to figure out the best way to fit the pallets into my car.

The hardest part about using pallets for project is they're a bugger to break apart. Even armed with a pallet buster I found it hard work trying to pry them apart without breaking the planks.

Anyway, the build took about an hour and a half, following the Just Make It design closely. Much like in the video, I stuck to using a jigsaw for all the cuts. This resulted in wonky edges and imperfect corners, but as suggested in the video, this just adds to the rustic charm - and I'm honestly really happy with it. I think I even prefer it to the one I saw in the shop window.

There's no finish on it right now, because I really like the burnt look and I'm concerned a shiny varnish might take away from this. I'm going repeat the burning technique on a piece of scrap wood for a varnish test, so if it doesn't look too bad, I can add varnish to it later. That said, I'm not planning on putting it outside, and it's not something that would be actively handled, so I can't see there being any real issues leaving it as is.

The last thing I did was use the Circuit Playground Express I got via my Hackspace magazine subscription, and coded up (aka copy/pasted) a simulated candle. I love this effect, and think it looks much better than the crappy £1 led tea lights I got from Tiger.

Wooden Jack-o'-lantern

Anyway, my next post will be about the 3rd project in the Weekend Woodworker course. I built it last weekend, but need to do a ton more sanding on it before I apply a finish. Expect that post before the start of next week.

Daniel Hollands

Daniel Hollands

Daniel is learning how to survive an undead rising (and along with maker and electronics skills) by working through The Maker's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. These are his adventures.

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