Today, we had the chance to ask some questions to David Prates who make all kind of originals objects from recycled pallets. If you think you deserve to be featured in the next interview, please, drop us an email.
Tell us a little more about you. Who you are? Where are you from?
My name is David Prates and I’m happily married to my wife Penni. We have a beautiful daughter named Emily who is nearly 6. I grew up in Tennessee and I currently live in Kentucky.
Why do you craft?
Apart from my career of construction project engineering, I love woodworking and have been crafting on and off for about 10 years. It’s a hobby that I love and enjoy thoroughly.
How did you learn to do wood crafts?
I suppose woodworking sparked an interest with me since I naturally like to be creative through design. I picked up the basics by working as a carpenter early on while I attended college.
How long have you been working with pallets?
To be honest, not long. I traditionally always purchased wood via the local hardware store, but I noticed the potential of repurposed wood by way of pallets through YouTube and was intrigued.
Why did you choose to work with pallets instead of purchased wood?
It may sound silly, but I think repurposed wood has an organic history and character that just can’t be bought.
What are your can’t-live-without essentials?
Easy, my table saw! Most of the basic shaping of what I do is done with it. (Editor’s note: watch his videos – he knows how to get the most out of his table saw!)
Are there any brands or products you use that are your favorites? Why?
I like Dewalt and Porter Cable products since they are entry level woodworking tools and most are reasonably priced. However, that’s not to say there aren’t many other brands that are equally as good.
How would you describe your crafting style?
Probably rustic, if I had to put a label on it.
Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
I think having a YouTube channel and sharing with others has opened all kinds of doors to ordinary DIY folks that are very creative and innovative. It’s easy to woodwork when you have all the expensive toys but the real creativity reflects though those who use the limited tools they have and still produce extraordinary things.
Where do you do your wood crafts? How would you describe your workspace?
I just work out of my garage. lol It’s a perfect space for me. I live in a very friendly neighborhood and it’s not uncommon for someone to step inside my garage and ask, “What are you working on?”.
Where do you look for inspiration, or what inspires you for a new wood craft?
Others! The internet with sites like 1001Pallets has loads of people with unlimited potential.
When do you feel the most creative (are you a night owl or a morning person? Or weekend warrior as examples)?
I usually feel most creative in the morning. I get a cup of coffee in me and I’m ready!
We live in such a mass-produced, “buy-it-now” society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
There is just something awesome about making it yourself. You can’t buy that feeling. Woodworking is a craft anyone can do and it’s an art that should be cherished.
What is your favorite medium to work in (other than pallets)?
I just love working with wood, any kind of wood. To me it’s almost like clay or metal or any other malleable material. It can be shaped into nearly anything!
What are your tips for people who’d like to start crafting?
Build something you like, not what you think someone else may like. In turn, chances are most people will like the same thing. Use what tools you have. Great things can be made with the most basic of tools. Most importantly, learn from watching others.
What are your most important safety tips when woodworking? Have you ever had any injuries or close calls?
I like my hearing and my sight, so I protect both with PPE.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Buying tools! lol I can never have enough. Ask my wife, as she will attest that you will find me in a hardware store every weekend. If I’m not buying something, I’m at least looking for what I want to buy in the future.
What are some of your other hobbies or favorite things to do (other than crafting)?
I design and engineer for a career so I love to mess with AutoCAD and other designing programs like Sketchup.
What are some of your best tips for breaking down, prepping, and cleaning pallets before you build with them? Do you have a specific tool you use, or a technique for cleaning the boards/removing nails, etc.?
I have found that a Sawzall works best to cut between the slats and the cross bracing. The nails can be then backed out from the slats with a hammer and a punch.
Have you designed any special tools or jigs for wood crafts?
Really the only jig I use at this point is a table saw sled. It is great for cross cuts and prevents kick back.
What are some wood working skills you really want to learn?
Where to start! Scrolling, laths, inlays, dovetail joints and the list goes on.
What is the one project you’re the proudest of so far?
My daughter, but that is an ongoing project! J In all seriousness, I would say I am most proud of an old-style gas pump I made entirely of wood, with a lit-up display and light globe at the top. I love to have it on in my garage while I work.
Editor’s Note: Thank you for your time and for sharing your story with us, and with our fellow Crafters. Your work is beautiful and inspiring to all of us, and we truly look forward to more from you in the future! Keep those gorgeous pieces coming!
Thanks David for this interview :)
To find more on David: