Craftsman Clint Harp, known for the custom furniture he builds for HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,”and star of the DIY Network’s upcoming “Wood Work” creates pieces with sustainability in mind. By using recycled and reclaimed wood, he and his team are able to make environmentally friendly products that last.
What got you started in making sustainable, handmade furniture?
I started this company out of my garage. My wife, Kelly, showed me pictures of people making stuff online out of pallets, but a lot of the furniture clearly looked like a pallet that somebody put legs on to make a table. And that’s not a bad thing — it just is what it is. So, I saw people use these pallets and reclaimed wood and I thought it was interesting. But what about taking all that wood and making something out of it where someone wouldn’t know that was a pallet? That was kind of the idea behind it.
When it comes to wood, do flaws make or break the quality?
There are some flaws that with the right tools, you can correct in a pretty efficient and safe way. But sometimes if you don’t have the right tools and everything, you might want to stay away from some of that because the board is just too crazy and you’re going to waste a ton of time. Or you could figure out something else to do with it. You can always cut a board down shorter and use all the good parts. I say, go for it. Don’t shy away from flaws.
Are there misconceptions surrounding the shelf-life or quality of environmentally-friendly products when it comes to furniture?
For any consumer trying to buy something that’s going to last a long time, you just have to look deep. Take your time and don’t just look at the picture and assume it’s going to be great. Make sure that it’s made out of real wood and look at that. Ultimately, that’s the sustainability. If you want something that’s going to last, go buy a real wood table. If it’s built right, it will last forever.
What advice do you have for people taking on DIY furniture projects?
First of all, be careful. Safety first. Beyond safety, a big thing is to not take on a huge project at first. Start incredibly simple. I mean, the first table that I made way back in the day, I nailed them together with roofing nails. It was the simplest table. Start simple — and those simple projects will lead you to bigger projects.