SA Stories: Woodworker builds custom treasures out of trash

Darryl Dunn, part-time woodworker, constructs pallet furniture from his garage

SAN ANTONIO - With more than 100 million active members on the popular photo-sharing website Pinterest, one San Antonio man shares his creations made out of discarded material: wooden pallets.

“A lot of the wood I use is just recycled material,” said Darryl Dunn, a part-time woodworker. “(Like at) construction sites, if they’re thrown away and there’s wood in the dumpster, I might scale the dumpster and grab their wood.”  

As morning commuters head to work, Dunn walks to his homemade woodshop inside of his garage for clock-in time at 8 a.m. With social media being one of the key factors in sharing his work, word-of-mouth has been a main influence on his custom-order service. Neighbors who pass by his home have taken notice of his woodwork and are quick to stop by in request for a homemade build.

“Mainly it started off with neighbors and when their friends would come over and say, ‘Hey, where did you get this at?’ and (the answer was), ‘Well, the guy down the street on the corner, he made that,’” Dunn said. “They would stop by and then they will get something.”

Upcycling, a process to reuse objects or materials to create a product of a higher quality, has become a growing trend for those who are interested in do-it-yourself projects, especially with pallets.

But there are some concerns in reusing pallets, as they can sometimes hold harmful products or be treated with harsh chemicals that can seep in the wood when in use.

“It’s kind of hard to distinguish what kind of wood is what,” Dunn said. “But some of the treatments that I put on it -- stains, oils -- they are just like if you were to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot.”

With growth in social media followers everyday and new clients by word-of-mouth, Dunn said he has realized he may need a larger space sooner than expected – quitting his current full-time job and make his part-time hobby into a lifelong full-time dream.

“My business, I want ownership in something that I built from the ground up and ultimately my driving factor are my daughters,” Dunn said. “Just to keep that tradition and have something for them when I’m not here.”




About the Author: