I needed a brush and dustpan to clean up all my shavings in the shed and thought I'd rather use one I made myself than go out and buy a plastic one. So using some pallet wood, a scrap piece of oak, a cherry branch and some birch twigs I did just that.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Pencil and rule
- Combination square
- Hand Plane
- Saw (crosscut, tenon or table saw)
- Mallet and Chisel (20mm chisel at least)
- Carving knife
- Flush cut saw
- Dowel plate (or pre made dowels)
- Band clamp (ratchet strap)
- Brace with a 6mm and 8mm bit (or a drill)
- Pliers & Snips
- A couple of lengths of pallet wood
- A tree branch with a natural crook/angle
- Birch twigs (willow would possibly be fine also)
- Wood glue
- Oak offcut for dowels (or just dowels from a hardware shop)
- Hard wearing wood finish
- Bendable wire or strong string
Step 2: Preparing and Making the Bottom Board
I cut a piece of pallet wood into 3 pieces measuring around 30cm long each, after clamping a board on my bench to work as a plane stop I smoothed out each board. I then put the boards into my vice and planed the edges square to make sure I got a good glue up. Getting the clamps ready and in the right position prior to glue up is always a good idea, you never know how well a glue up will go until you start doing it!
Step 3: Making the Slope
Every dustpan needs a slope at the front to aid the retrieval of whatever your sweeping up of course, the way I did it was very simple really. All I did was marked how far I wanted the slope to go into the board, after clamping it down I planed an angle from the line to the bottom of the board at the front.
Step 4: Making the Sides
I cut the sides from another pallet board and then held them up to the edge of the bottom board, this meant I could mark up where the slope came in relation to the sides. After that I just freehand drew a line where I thought the pan should slope upwards.
There are many ways to do the following step; a coping saw, a saw with a chisel, a bandsaw, lots of cuts with a table saw, a power sander. I decided however to do it with a saw and chisel. I cut most of the material off with a saw, clamped the piece into the vice and then finished off with a chisel. If you've never pared wood away with a sharp chisel I strongly suggest you try it! It is a very satisfying process.
When the curve on the first side was done I just traced the shape onto the other side and repeated the process.
Step 5: Making the Back and Handle
After measuring the back piece up and cutting it to length I started to work on the handle. I thought having it come over the top of the dustpan would not only not make it shorter and easier to store but also be easier to control when picking it up. I saw a branch with a natural crook in it which looked perfect and so stripped it of its bark and sanded it down.
This was a cherry branch but you could probably use pretty much any wood. I sawed a flat portion off the back of the branch so it would sit nicely on top of the back board and clamped it down. This made it easy to drill into with a brace and 8mm bit. I drilled all the way through at two points then tapped and glued in two dowels to attach the handle to the backboard. I cut the excess off with a flush cut saw.
Step 6: Making a Space for the Handle and Final Glue Up
Instead of sitting the bottom of the handle on top of the bottom board I decided to make it slot into the back, I thought this might make it more solid in the long run.
I just traced a line around the bottom of the handle onto the bottom board and cut it out with a coping saw. I had to do the glue up in two parts .First of all I glued the two sides on and when they were dry I made sure the back was all flat and ready to receive the back board, I then glued the back board on and clamped it up. This wasn't really enough to make it strong so I made it stronger with the next step.
Step 7: Inserting Dowels and Finishing the Dustpan
I used a combination square to find the centre of the thickness of the boards and drew a line on the outer edge where dowels would be drilled in. I drilled three holes down each side, four at the back on the bottom and two at the back connecting the back board to the sides.
Using a dowel plate and a small hammer I made my own dowels from an oak offcut, you could of course just buy your own dowels or even just use screws. Once the dowels were glued in I cut off the excess, sanded down the whole dustpan with 240 grit sandpaper and applied a hard wearing wood varnish.
At this point the dustpan was complete but afterwards I decided to make a very simple brush not too dissimilar from a besom broom.
Step 8: Making the Brush
Rather simply I started by gathering some birch twigs and then pulling them apart to make a lot of straight twigs, making sure to pull off all the pieces which shot out sideways. I clamped them all together at one end as tightly as possible and then wrapped some wire around them and twisted it. I used some pliers to twist the wire even more tightly at the base of the twist and then cut the excess off.
I did another wire tie about 5 or 6 centimetres further down the brush. After that I cut the top of the brush flush with some secateurs. The handle is simply another piece of cherry branch with one end cut to a point with a spokeshave. Once the point is cut I then pushed the branch into the middle of all the birch twigs at the end of the brush where the wire ties were. This really tightens up the brush.
I also snipped the bottom of the brush a little to get rid of some of the more fragile pieces of twigs to make it more of a brush than a broom.
Step 9: Use Your New Brush and Dustpan!
Once its all done and dusted you can use your new tools to clean up your workspace or even just hang on the wall to give your area a more rustic look if you wish! You can check out the video on my YouTube channel to see the build process and also how well the brush and dustpan works. I cant vouch for how long the brush will last as this is the first time I've made one.
As well as being live on YouTube every Sunday I'm also live on Twitch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5pm GMT. Come along if you'd like to chat or have a look at what I'm up to.
Thank you for looking at this Instructable, all comments, criticisms and general thoughts are fully welcome!