Holiday time!

Any orders placed after today (11th Dec) will be made up and shipped in the new year. Happy holidays! We’re excited to be launching our first new product for a very long time in the new year… stay tuned.

Holiday time! Read More »

coat rack tool storage

Website revived!

Some of the components in our website dated back to the beginnings of usethings in 2004 so it was well overdue for modernisation! We’ve had expert help to fix it after botching a major update. Looks like everything is working but let us know if you find any glitches. As part of the process we’ve

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Mushroom madness

Part apology for late orders, but Mushroom orders have gone from our usual 3 or 4 a year to over 90 so far. Awesome isolation mending going on, we hope it keeps up! Sorry for all the other late orders, hand turned mushrooms are time consuming. This has been one of our busiest periods —

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wooden pot lid handle

Quick repair

This turning off-cut made a quick repair for a melted pot lid handle. New life for this twenty year old pot which is a favorite for cooking rice because of its great seal. Many more meals out to come of this — another twenty years! Now with a bit more time there are a few

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“Nautical” drying rack

We’ve got to admit there is truth in this, my background in traditional shipbuilding left a fascination for rigging and pulleys that comes through in our drying rack. Dear Tim, belatedly a photo of your lovely rack in place. Thank you. It all feels very nautical in the hallway now. Have you ever read the

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Drying racks back in stock

Apologies for the delay and thanks for your patience. It took us a while to get the sleeves that cover the rods to protect clothes from tannin. We get these extruded and have to do at least a kilometer of them to make the setup worthwhile. We are now taking orders again.    

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Library / theater counter

We’ve just delivered a counter for the foyer of the Castlemaine Library and Phee Broadway Theater. The design includes a hydraulically raised half with shelf for theater ticket sales, locking internal section and a deep fronted lower counter for wheelchair access. The whole thing is on industrial wheels for mobility, flexibility is the key with

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Visible Mending

Visible mending: punk’s not dead, just patching itself up Visible mending places clothing at the centre of a protest movement. Gaye Naismith Emily Brayshaw, University of Technology Sydney Visible mending is a quiet, global protest movement that’s happening at a grass-roots level, challenging the way we consume clothing. “We don’t need to throw our clothes

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  Sometimes it all comes together. Here’s a photo of delivering a repaired Alien stool — an old usethings product sold locally about 9 years ago. First broken one we’ve come across. Delivery by bike, a 25+ year-old steel frame that has had numerous parts renewed in its long life. The Alien is an efficient

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JEST at Blueys Beach in NSW

We love photo’s of our stuff installed, just got these from Jenny in NSW. Hello, This isn’t an order, it’s a thank you. In November we ordered two coat racks for our beach house JEST at Blueys Beach in NSW, which is now finished. I ordered them unfinished as I thought I’d paint them white.

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Brave New Eco

Our friends over at Brave New Eco sent us some fantastic images from one of their  projects that use our coat rack and drying rack. The bungalow up-cycle project is a 1950’s cream brick home in Melbourne’s North with a self contained granny-flat that had been built only 4 meters from the back of the

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Monster mushroom

Our darning mushrooms are always a generous size compared to what is commonly available but this custom order is a monster 95mm diameter. Must be some big holes to mend! We make small items from production off-cuts to get the most out of the timber we use. This one is made from recycled and plantation

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14peg coat rack photo by Purdy Buckle

14 peg coat rack

We made this 14 peg years ago and recently got this beautifully shot and styled photo from the customer with a request for another 14 peg. 12 peg 2m coat racks are the longest we can ship Australia-wide but for Central Victorian locals we can do 3m or over in a single length, depending on

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Sustainable shopping: for eco-friendly jeans, stop washing them so often

There is a pair of jeans for every occasion. Krisana Antharith/Shutterstock Alice Payne, Queensland University of Technology and Susannah Kate Devitt, Queensland University of Technology Denim jeans – whether ripped, straight, flared, vintage or raw – are one of the world’s most-loved garments. But from fibre to wardrobe, they have a considerable ecological footprint. Given

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War on waste: usethings trench

We are very pleased to see a program on waste with broad appeal — ABS’s War on Waste with Craig Reucassel. We watched the episode on plastic bags and packaging last night, it certainly got the kids fired up. #waronwasteau Dealing with waste has been a long experiment for usethings as a manufacturer, working with

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recycled timber coat racks

New coat rack pricing

We’ve just reduced the price of the longer coat racks. The price-per-peg goes up slightly the longer the rack, as a decent long back-board is harder to come by than a shorter one. This pricing makes the shorter racks better value and uses up offcuts — part of our waste minimisation strategy. The pricing for

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timber clothes drying or airing rack from usethings. sheila maid

The rack is back!

We finally have a timber solution and have switched our online store drying rack to in-stock so they are now available to order again. Apologies for the slow resolution of this. Our material selection ideals caused us to persist in a search for plantation sugar gum — our preferred sustainable timber. With no success in finding a supplier we

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Akubra hat rack

Our flat rate shipping makes it affordable to buy our products in remote areas of Australia. We get orders from stations and communities in far flung places. This rack was ordered with extra wide spacing for Akubra hats — it’s got our imagination going, would love to see it in use!

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Saff’s Cafe refit

We’ve begun works at the popular Castlemaine Cafe Saffs in late December and over the Christmas closure. First was the counter area with a new counter top in hoop pine ply. Also rationalising behind the counter with storage, work surface and shelf. Plus a bit of painting and patching. Deb brings her catering experience into the design of

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Coat hooks all wood rack of pegs

Shaker inspired export!

Old friends of usethings will know we’ve talked about the Shaker design ethic and how it is one of our influences. The long lengths of coat racks that line the walls of Shaker meeting rooms were the inspiration for our coat rack design. Actually the Shaker aesthetic is important in all our design. Well we’ve just made a

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Musk Coat Stand

Every now and then we get a beautiful commission. Clients from Musk in Victoria where after a coat stand and hadn’t been happy with anything they’d seen. We got chatting and offered to design one for them. It had to be stable and interesting but they where pretty open to how we resolved that brief.

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Plastic free packaging

In an effort to reduce our single use plastic we’ve got rid of packing tape and started using a kraft paper tape. This is the really nice stuff picture framers use. We already recycle cardboard boxes to pack our coat racks. This one is an awkward pack of  7, 5, and 4 peg racks. It’s

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Wobble board

Here’s usethings stamped under one of our Wobble Boards. These are made with production offcuts — sugar gum and small sections of the plantation Hoop Pine ply we use for other products. The elliptical shape makes them easier to store and the hand turned “wobble” underneath is gentler than most so you can actually balance on

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wooden coat racks

Coat racks shipping out

A big order of 5 peg coat racks going off to Pinetree Lodge on Lord Howe Island. We recently did another big order for Clear Mountain Lodge & Spa in Queensland. Nice for the turnover but they keep clearing out our stock of recycled backboards!  

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The branching of a millet stalk makes it ideal for a broom. No plastic fibre can give this density of finer fibres at the end; branching out of the stem; with good stiffness for sweeping. Millet is a strong and durable fibre and doesn’t leave plastic particles as it degrades with abrasion; millet particles will

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clothes drying rack

Radical clothes drying

An  excerpt from: LOW-­TECH LIVING AS A ‘DEMAND-­SIDE’ RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND PEAK OIL.  SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION Samuel Alexander and Paul Yacoumis Simplicity Institute Report 15d, 2015 3.4 Drying clothes The conventional way to dry clothes is to use an electric clothes dryer, which is very energy-­intensive. A low-­tech alternative is to use

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recycled timber for coat racks

The secrets of a tree

In the mindful processes of the workshop and working with wood, small wonders are revealed. The secrets of trees are exposed by our mechanical disruption of them: felled, milled, dried, machined, then brought into application somewhere. In the case of our coat racks after this first application it is collected and machined again, so whole histories

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Coat rack factory

Our coat rack sales have been growing over the last three years; they’ve now become our leading product. So I spend a lot of time hammering pegs into their deep and close fitting sockets. Heaps strong even without the glue. Small detail — the grain on the pegs is always vertical which is the strongest axis

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Turning a darning mushroom

We are getting so many orders for darning mushrooms at the moment I’m having to work this fast. Some pieces of wood are stunning when you machine them, this wavy-grained sugar gum is just burnished on the lathe with no waxes or oil finishes, keeping it dry and smooth to run a needle over (sugar gum

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plantation sugar gum drying rack end frames in production

Stock Vs Repertoire

I’ve come to the realisation that as a maker and a small business we tend not to carry much stock so the things we make are more like a repertoire: the designs are resolved along with the supply, production, and distribution so we make things up on demand. Making it up as we go along kind of

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Darning season 

Selling a lot of our darning mushrooms at the moment. One thing about repetition — if you pay attention there are things to learn. After making these for years I just came up with a new process for finishing the underside. This last one was the best I’ve made.

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Installation of a coat rack

Finally got around to making this installation guide for our coat racks. This clip shows how to install on a stud wall.   There is also detail on timber plugs to cover the screw heads: how to setup for them, finish them, and how to get them out if anything goes wrong. Our racks can

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The Regenerates

A film about the future, Deb heard about this film as she is working with Dominique Hess on the Bull St Terraces — Crosby Architects. The Regenerates from Phlogiston Creative Industries on Vimeo.

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sustainable packaging

Shipping changes

If you are having problems with the shipping part of our checkout  just email and we can process your order. We are in the process of reseting our online store for customer location based shipping rates. This will incorporate an Australia Post calculator for local and international deliveries of small items. The big stuff will still go by courier and

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Screen door for Redbeard

We are down at our favourite bakery RedBeard again. February is their time-out / maintenance period, and usehtings is assisting with a rejig and freshen up. Great to see how the major refit we did a couple of years ago is standing up. Part of this years work was designing and making a fly screen door for the high-traffic

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healthy sitting

Work stool at usethings store

Drop by our showroom in Castlemaine to see our workstool. This design is the result of a years long research and prototyping process aimed at addressing the effects on our bodies of seated work. We explain more in the article “how to sit”. We’ve got one in the store now so try it out and we’ll

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millet broom hand made in Australia

Millet brooms, new usething

usethings friends will know how seldom we introduce a new product. It’s our selection criteria, there aren’t many things out there that meet our expectations. We are excited today to receive our first order of hand made millet brooms from the Tumut Broom Factory, who have been making brooms in Australia since 1946. We love

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Killed the mobile site

Just found out our shopping cart hasn’t been working in the mobile version of our website (thanks Cathy). The whole mobile thing was all very exciting a couple of years ago when we set it up. We used a third party service that re-rendered our desktop site and it kind of worked but struggled with tricky stuff

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8 x 10 cutting / serving board

We made up some special bamboo cutting boards for a long table meal featuring local food at The Village in Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy Melbourne recently. They where used to serve the lamb and impressed people at the meal so we thought we’d offer them up as a product; a handy compliment to our large round

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Green power

We are pleased to see our electricity provider ranked best in this green power guide from the Total Environment Centre and Greenpeace. Have a look at: We think Powershop are cool because of their position on the RET, and the neat energy usage graphing they supply, shows when your peak usage during the day. You can

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Reusing carpet through rEcover: fit-out waste management

Environmentally savvy Australian carpet company Above Left  recently redirected over 3000 square meters of carpet tile away from landfill with their rEcover program, which is designed to deal with carpet waste from office re-fits. This is a Product Stewardship program that they also apply to other makers products, i.e. taking back all brands of carpet not just their own. See

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Commissioned bed-base

We recently completed a commissioned bed-base featuring Blackwood and recycled timbers. The bed was designed with the clients and has a neat base setup that gives it a floating look; handy for a big bed as it doesn’t overcrowd the room. The wing shelves attach to the base which further minimises the impact on floorspace. It’s designed in three parts which

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New in store from Greg Stirling

We’ve just got in a couple of new pieces from local maker Greg Stirling. A Windsor carver chair and another cricket table. Beautiful structures both, and the chair is surprisingly comfortable — upholstery looks inviting but we are into firm seats after our research on sitting and the body. The long design heritage / evolution of the Windsor

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recycled timber coat racks

Coat rack recycled timbers

We use recycled building timbers for our coat rack, usually Vic Ash or Messmate, but we take any sound hardwood and reveal its beauty by machining it for the coat racks. Here are some of the colours and features in a recent batch of orders. These have been oiled and are photographed in shaded daylight;

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usethings stools in interior design

usethings stools at bluebottle interior

Another project with our friends at bluebottle; they used our updated Work-stool and Aliens in this recent interior: bluebottle is a Melbourne based design company with expertise in combining light and form in inventive ways. The bluebottle team is accomplished in managing all aspects of a project to achieve an excellent outcome. Company members work across various

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We’ve just signed the Castlemaine Divestment Action pledge, a charter focusing action on investment in carbon intensive industries. We have recently changed our electricity supplier to Powershop, the only retailer that doesn’t want the RET reduced or scrapped. For many years we’ve chosen banks based on their ethical position and currently bank with MECU. Supper is

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Tenth birthday drinks

The last rays of a beautiful day in Castlemaine. Thanks to all those who dropped by for drinks or sent messages. It was a lovely gathering: chilled Champaign, good conversation with our friends in the beautiful garden at No 8, even the kids found a ball and disappeared to play street soccer.

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Coat rack install

Simon in Melbourne installed a couple of our racks; he had a hard time fixing to a hard plastered masonry wall which is pretty tricky. Simon sent us this great image. “ …I put them up on the weekend – look great, extremely happy with outcome but had to use some additional fixings as the hard plastered

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Darning mushrooms

New images for our darning mushroom, get those repairs done now while the winter inspiration is there! Hand turned in Castlemaine and made from plantation Sugar-gum. Features a needle store in the hollow handle.

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Alien flat-pack stool

We’ve been getting a lot of social media interest in our laser cut plywood flat-pack stool so we thought we’d repost about them. Our Alien stool is designed for efficient use of materials; ten Aliens come from one standard sheet of plywood. This is achieved by the careful geometry of the ‘nested’ parts—leg sections sit

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usethings on Instagram

Our patience for social media fluctuates, but this one looks like it might be a fun and a creative output. To be honest as designers and visual people we both often only look at the pictures! Click on this icon to go to our Instagram page and watch us flail with yet another new media!

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Drying rack…

“Just a word of thanks for the clothes rack which Tim installed for us in Maldon recently. During these cold wet days it must have saved us many dollars, and the country a small amount of carbon emmissions in power not used on a dryer. It truly works brilliantly using all that spare heat near

Drying rack… Read More »

Green your laundry

“By cutting the dryer out of the equation–even if it’s only part of the time–you’ll save even more money. Your dryer checks in at number two on the list of household energy hogs (right after your fridge), costing the average household more than $96 per year in energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. So

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Four metre coat rack

In the workshop today: images of a 4m / 24 peg coat rack (pictured un-oiled), this one is Vic Ash. It’s made from two 2m lengths as it is going to Sydney and 2m is the maximum our courier will carry. The close-up below shows the butt join and we’ve carefully matched the grain in the two

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castlemaine store sign

Winter at the store

Despite the grey weather we had quite a few visitors to our castlemaine store today. After many requests we’ll be offering our hanging jar displays for sale, made from an old Fowlers jar, hemp rope and a plywood hook. We finally found a supply of good hemp rope which is not easy to come by.

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pencil extender lengthener

Don’t throw out short pencils

We don’t add a new product from other makers very often, there are few things that resonate with usethings ideals — beautiful and useful things. So this one caught or attention recently, a simple device to extend worn-down pencils so you can keep using them till the last, much much better than throwing them out

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