The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Friday, August 10, 2012

Great Designs in Wood (29) - The Pine Ridge Pallet House

...and the winner of this year's Go Wood Wooden Woodie Award for Pallet Re-Purposing is...

The Pine Ridge Pallet House, built by some inspiring natural builders out on the Pine Ridge Ogalla Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

Pine Ridge is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and it has been the site for some of the most shameful deeds in the history of our country. Custer made his infamous Last Stand there while in the process of violating a treaty in order to take the Black Hills from the Sioux. Fifteen years later, the tragic Wounded Knee Massacre effectively ended the era of the free Native American culture in the country. The subsequent 120 years have clearly illustrated the futility of government-imposed living; the reservation has suffered chronic alcoholism and unemployment ever since.

Which is one of the many reasons I love the following video. Some good folks have banded together to do a good thing for the right reason. The Pallet House is in itself a demonstration of various building techniques that have been used for centuries; the folks at Texas Natural Builders who directed the project utilized techniques that not only provide a great home for its occupants, but do so in a style that is perfect for the surrounding environment. While not possible in every situation, their philosophy is a good one to pursue...
Our philosophy is a very simple one, let go. We believe in letting go of all the excess things in life that normally bust your wallet, and can't we all agree that's what they are intended to do? We use as little power as possible, we are not tied to the electrical or water grids and will not ever be. We reuse as much as possible in every facet of life, from clothing to food scraps. We do use some electronics and believe that technology used in its most efficient way is not a bad thing. We are not some isolationist group that wants nothing to do with society but more of a family with the desire to live in peaceful surroundings, not so close to the pollution, noise and commotion of the big city. Everyone wants a spot where they can feel more relaxed and free and this is what we have!
 Thus, the Pine Ridge Pallet House. Watch the entire video, and enjoy.

This video compilation was done at the end of last summer, and it indicates that the house was to be finished this summer. I haven't been able to find out if it was done...if anyone out there knows, we would be glad to share the final photos and any supporting story.


Texas Natural Builders said...

Thank you Chuck!! My name is David Reed and I am Texas Natural Builders, we had a great exerience building the Pallet House for Walter and Alison Yellow Hair in Pine Ridge. To be honest the experiences we had on the reservation far exceed the experiences of the build itself, it has awakened a long lost side of my heritage that I had not embraced due to very little knowledge of it, and that is my own native ancestry. We spent 5 months building this house and unfortunately we did not finish the home 100%, although the family is currently living in the home, there is much to do to get it finished, we tried without success to raise money to go back to Pine Ridge this year and do just that but we were not successful, we are going to try again for next year. The Lakota are a proud and strong people and their history proves that they can overcome anything, I am very honored to have helped and hope to do so again! our website is and our Facebook is

Chuck Ray said...

There you go, Go Wooders. Chance of a lifetime to help finish the Pine Ridge Pallet House next summer. If he gets the necessary contributions, I'll be there to help and cover the completion.

Contact David and help make it happen.

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