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Q & A with an Upcyclist: Repurposed Oak Bar Cart

Q & A with an Upcyclist: Repurposed Oak Bar Cart

Posted by Katie Deska on Feb 24th 2021

Upcyclist: Dave Smith, Recycling Coordinator at the Surplus Store & Recycling Center

Project: Dave reimagined a mid-century typewriter table and wood slabs into an upcycled bar cart. Currently for sale through Spartan Upcycle, part of the MSU Surplus Store.

Components: Vintage metal typewriter table, wood from felled trees on MSU's campus, wine glass rack.

Where did you get the idea to transform a typewriter table?

Working at the Surplus Store and Recycling Center I get to see a lot of the furniture that comes in. I like the industrial look of the older metal furniture pieces. The base of the typewriter table is interesting to look at with its moving parts and curved lines. Seeing that base made me think that removing the laminate top and replacing it with a natural material, like wood, would make it a very interesting and appealing piece. From there, I got the idea to turn it into a bar cart because of its size and functionality (rolling cart). It would be great for someone with limited space like an apartment.

What was the most difficult aspect of this upcycle project?

Sanding the top. The wood was rough cut so it took careful sanding with several different grits of sandpaper to take it from a very rough surface to one that was smooth and even.

What aspect did you find most rewarding?

Working with the wood to create the top. Joining two pieces of oak together, sanding it down and finishing it to highlight the beauty in the grain of the wood. I just like the look of wood, the coloration, the grain and pattern is unique in every piece.

What tools and supplies were used to make the bar cart?

I don’t have some of the tools that would make the job a little easier like a wood jointer, so I improvised and used my table saw to form a straight edge on two pieces of wood and then glued those together with wood glue for the top. I also used a jigsaw to cut the round edges. For the lower shelf, I used the table saw to cut the wood to size and a hole saw drillbit to cut the half circles for holding wine bottles. A cordless drill and screws were used to affix the top to the base. For sanding, I used a portable belt sander as well as a palm sander.

The MSU Spartan Upcycle Store sells unique handcrafted and repurposed items made from materials collected by the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. Spartan Upcycle Store also sells materials to make your own Upcycle projects. We seek to reduce waste by inspiring and promoting creativity, resource conservation and community engagement through art, education and imagination.