I used some 1/8" hardboard as my backing board, as I figured it would be easier to work with if the pieces were glued to something. I tried to arrange the wood in an interesting manner on the board so that each piece was unique. Unfortunately, I was short sighted here and did not use enough glue. You'll see that later.
Since the planks I used were varying sizes, and I wanted something uniform, I set up a straight edge so that I could use my circular saw to get a nice, clean edge.
I used one of the pieces of hardboard to make a stencil so that I could just easily trace the map onto the pieces, since I was making multiples of this. I borrowed the projector from work and just traced it by hand very carefully.
Here's the completed tracing. I don't have a picture of the cut-out version. Also, the stencil broke at the left side of Lake Superior and right side of Lake Ontario because this type of board is very flimsy, and I dropped it. The tip of the UP and tip of Ontario also broke off, so that's why you'll see some discrepancies between those areas in the final pieces.
This one had a lot of issues. The corners of Lake Superior and Lake Ontario, the weakest points in the piece, were in between boards, meaning the overall piece was VERY wobbly. That caused a lot of vibrations while cutting, and quite a few pieces popped off or came separated. Luckily, I have enough wood glue and clamps to solve that problem.
I didn't get any pictures of the cutting process, but basically I drilled a few large holes (using the pictured 1" bit) in the middle of each lake, and then used a scroll saw to cut out the lakes. The Great Lakes are a bitch to cut.
As mentioned earlier, I didn't use enough glue, and as a result, some pieces broke off since they got cut but did not have any glue behind it. So, thanks to plenty of clamps, I am able to rectify this situation.
All aboard the stain train! I set up shop staining in the basement where I had some temperature control and an exhaust fan. Upside: Got to have some TV and warmth while staining (a big plus in November). Downside: My basement smelled like stain for about 72 hours.
This stain was called Mission Oak or something like that. I like how this one turned out. Not a huge fan of the dark areas on the right hand side, but the character on the left hand side makes up for it.
Same stain as the last. This one may be my favorite of them all, because it had some imperfections in the wood that looked really nice once they got stained. Unfortunately, a bit of the lower peninsula's West coast was lost in the cutting process.
Again, same stain. Glad this one turned out well, because there were a few issues when it was coming together.
This one is the miracle piece with the weak joints I mentioned before. I ended up reinforcing it with some staples in the back and sides. This is stained with an Espresso stain. Here's how it looks after the first coat.
Here's the final piece, which I kept for myself, hanging on the wall. I'm now really glad my wife chose this particular color for the wall, since it makes this piece look outstanding while hanging.
These pieces originally came from three pallets I came across. I cut the wood out of the pallet because it was way easier than trying to pry it apart. There's no shots of the pallets because you know what a pallet looks like. I sorted the pieces I definitely wanted to use from the pieces that needed a lot of work. I may use them for later versions, because some have really cool markings on them.
Here's how it looks after the second coat, on my table for color comparison. Should have gone with a blacker stain, but I still like how it turned out, especially considering...
Here’s the process album of my first foray into woodworking to make Christmas presents for my father, father-in-law and godfather. I was inspired by a Reddit post wherein someone made a similar project.