Industrial Bookends

One day at the store I was updating my booth and the owner gave me a little news. She started interior designing as a side business. She shared with me that one client is looking for industrial and steampunk designs but only wants handmade artisan pieces. I get that. Why would I want to order something mass produced as a conversation piece?

Guest: “That is great! Who made that?”

Owner: “The artist’s name is MADE IN CHINA.”

Naturally I volunteered my services.

One of the items on her list was bookends. The client wanted one pair of bookends for a console table. In my travels I found a cog about 14 inches in diameter. It was nice and rusty. I don’t know what it came from but from the area I live in it is a safe bet it came from an old piece of farm equipment.

The best part of this deal is that since the client only wanted one I got to kelp the other pair for myself. By “myself” I mean for my wife since it is on the bookcase in her office.

The cog was made of a cast metal so it was fairly easy to cut through. I marked my lines with a carpenter square and cut them with a reciprocating saw. If I had a metal cutting blade for my band saw I would have don’t that instead. It would have been a lot easier than putting the cog in a bench vice.

I cleaned of all of the loose rust with a wire wheel. At this point I had thought about clear coating the pieces but I wanted to keep a rough look to it. I believe coating it would have made it look mass produced.

The wood was reclaimed oak from a few projects ago. It was from a queen size headboard and footboard that I had used for the bookcase. I just sanded off the old finish and re-stained them with the lightest stain I had on hand. The wood was sealed with one coast of a gloss wipe-on poly.

To attach the cog pieces I drilled holes slightly size smaller than the bolts I intended on using. I counter sunk the bolts and added a little JB Weld to the threads to make sure the bond was permanent.

The final touch was using felt on the bottom and sides of the bookends. The client was very happy. He also bought one of my fan-lamps while I was working on this so I gave him a better price for being a repeat customer.

Most importantly Carrie is happy because she got to keep a pair. I’m not sure why she wanted them since she pretty much only reads digital downloads.


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