It’s our pleasure to spotlight Chris Boehm this month. Chris runs the Etsy shop Upcycled Marketplace, where he makes functional and attractive furniture from unused and unwanted materials. He works as an energy efficiency engineer and is active in the American Ninja Warrior world. We encourage you to check out his merchandise on www.facebook.com/UpcycledMarketplace!
Rev Pub: What are the basic materials/tools you use?
The materials I use to build my projects are any unused, unwanted or scrap materials. My most popular materials are old pallets, cabinet doors, windows and old shelving.
I use a miter saw, table saw, circular saw, jig saw, random orbit sander, and a drill. I am slowly building my tool selection as I go. I started making my first piece with just a circular saw, and I’m lucky to say I still have all 10 fingers! Future additions will be a drill press, bench sander, impact drill and a scroll saw.
Rev Pub: What inspired you to start Upcycled Marketplace?
I grew up being good at making things with my dad. He taught me construction, furniture making, electrical skills – anything a modern-day Renaissance Man should know how to do. I have also always been interested in reusing materials when I can, and when my wife and I moved into our house, we needed some furniture. So instead of spending a lot of money on decorations and furniture, I decided to use free materials (pallets and discarded wood from my dad’s workshop) to make a bar cart, coat rack and platter centerpiece.
Rev Pub: If you could make anything, what would it be?
I have always wanted to make something that incorporates solar photovoltaic cells such as a coffee table or wall hanging that does something functional like charge your cellphone or power a clock.
Rev Pub: What are the challenges working with recycled materials and wood?
The challenges with using upcycled or recycled materials are making the material look good enough to go in a house but still retain its recycled nature. Keeping the rustic nature of the material while still passing my wife’s inspection. It’s also challenging to maintain the recycled idea of project because it would always be easier to go to the store and buy what you need instead of finding it in a junk yard or the free section of Craigslist.
Rev Pub: Do you have any tips or advice for someone wanting to start a similar hobby/business?
Have a game plan for what makes your projects different (in my case, the upcycled aspect helps me stand out). Stay true to your game plan, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you work full-time like I do, don’t try to complete too many projects at the same time – take it slow and do one project at a time if you have to.
And be sure to check out this awesome video about Chris’ main project last year — a dining room table and chairs!