From Scraps to Crafts

Jason Pengelly upcycles castaway wood into one-of-a-kind, stylish home decor

By Dianna Troyer

Jason Pengelly did not explore his woodworking skills until just a few months ago. Since then, he has discovered where to find useful weathered wood for his many projects. Photos by Sarah Spratling

With minimal tools and maximum imagination, Jason Pengelly crafts castoff scrap wood into creative home décor.

After he gets off work as the city of Wells public works director, Jason retreats to his garage woodshop to make book- shelves, mirror frames, picture frames or wine racks.

“I just started doing it a couple of months ago,” he says. “It’s relaxing for me, and something to do in winter to keep busy. I give away a lot of what I make to friends and family for birth- day or wedding presents.”

Jason finds wood and gray-weathered pallets at random places: old home sites that have been torn down, yards, barns and sheds.

“Most people are glad to get rid of it,” he says. People appreciate his artistry. At a fall Christmas bazaar, his wine racks sold quickly.

“I should have had more to sell,” he says. Jason says he has taught himself woodworking.

“I’ve just learned with trial and error,” he says. “I’ve messed up a lot, but that’s OK. Some pieces have become fuel for back- yard fires.”

Even though some projects make the burn pile, Jason says he is not discouraged when projects do not turn out as expected.

Jason made these custom wine racks from reclaimed pallets.

“I keep learning,” he says. “I don’t have a lot of fancy tools, just the basic ones. I use a Skilsaw, a scroll saw to cut small designs, and a palm power sander to give the wood a smooth finish. Sometimes I’ll stain the wood, too.”

Jason often starts without a plan.

“I just see what happens,” he says. “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m making until it’s done.”

To give a light-brown or amber burnished hue to his pieces, Jason passes a propane blow torch over the wood.

“It makes the wood really beautiful,” says Heather Iveson, who has some of his pieces. “He really lets the character of the wood come through, too. Everything he makes is unique and looks like an antique. His work is great because you have something customized that you can’t find in a store.”

Jason tailors pieces to fit certain spaces.

“I’m making a frame for a bathroom mirror and putting a shelf at the top, so there’s more room to put things,” he says. Jason encourages other wannabe woodworkers.

“Just go for it and let your imagination run,” he says. “You can make just about anything.”