Today, we had the chance to ask some questions to Rich Peirce who build beautiful furniture out of recycled wood 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 Rich Peirce and I live in St. Petersburg, FL. I am originally from Chicago, GO CUBS!
Why do you craft?
I craft because I can and well, I have to. I left the corporate world at the end of last year and while looking for a job I began working more and more with wood. Jobs kept coming in and what I started doing a few years ago as a hobby is now what I do for a living.
How did you learn to do wood crafts?
TV and trial and error. I always loved watching it on TV and finally started doing it.
How long have you been working with pallets?
About 3 years.
Why did you choose to work with pallets instead of purchased wood?
There are gorgeous pieces of wood in pallets waiting to be shown off. I like reclamation projects. That tree didn’t get cut down to be used to store things or tote things around on a forklift.
What are your can’t-live-without essentials?
My miter saw and my planer.
How would you describe your crafting style?
Rustic, with a refined look. I use pallet wood but I plane and joint it and fill in holes with resin.
Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
I used to watch Norm Abram on New Yankee Workshop, he made me want to build furniture.
Where do you do your wood crafts? How would you describe your workspace?
My garage has become my woodshop. I would describe it as dusty, there is sawdust everywhere.
Where do you look for inspiration, or what inspires you for a new wood craft?
I’m not really inspired by anything except to do it “bigger and better” each time. I used to work promotions for radio and a rule we tried to follow was to never do the same thing twice. We always tried to improve each event. I don’t like doing to the same thing twice, so I am always looking to do something different. That usually makes me expand on my skills and knowledge.
When do you feel the most creative (are you a night owl or a morning person? Or weekend warrior as examples)?
No real time. When an idea hits me it hits me.
We live in such a mass-produced, "buy-it-now" society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
I need to have a creative outlet. I take pride in my work and have a sense of accomplishment when a table or piece is finished. When you make something you are connected to it. You literally know every inch and every nook and cranny of the work. It is very satisfying to sit at your table to eat a family meal.
What is your favorite medium to work in (other than pallets)?
Any reclaimed wood is a favorite.
What are your tips for people who'd like to start crafting?
Do it and don’t be afraid to fail. I have always said experience is just a fancy word for failure. Learn from the failures and grow. Make yourself proud.
What are your most important safety tips when woodworking? Have you ever had any injuries or close calls?
Eye and ear protection are a must. Also, I know it sounds silly but know where your fingers are and where they are going to be. It’s easy to lose track when you are watching a piece of wood be split down a line with a blade. Don’t forget about your fingers!
What are some of your other hobbies or favorite things to do (other than crafting)?
I am a dog lover and have 3 rescues. I also love walking (it’s where I do my best thinking) and I walk dogs in my spare time. I’ve thought of a few projects while waiting for a dog to poop!
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.?
A pallet buster is a good tool. Make sure you get all the nails out. I also use a reciprocating saw to cut them down. When I do that I pop out all the nail heads with a hammer and punch. Material prep is the most time-consuming part of a project.
What are some wood working skills you really want to learn?
I want a lathe to turn wood. My girlfriend said I am not allowed to have one because she will never see me again. She is probably right.
What is the one project you’re the proudest of so far?
Because I like to do something different, or bigger and better each time, my last project is always the one I am most proud of. Currently, that is my new butcher block dining table.
What else would you like to share with the pallet community – do you have any of the following social media sites?
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 Rich for this interview :)
To find more on Rich: