Lyn Ng, carpenter, Triple Eyelid Studio.
Lyn Ng is an “upcycler” who converts unwanted wood into new products. That’s because everything she makes – from tables and chairs to other household items like table lamps – is constructed from planks of pallet wood, the kind typically used to transport goods.
The 26-year-old is a carpenter, and she makes bespoke, customised furniture out of these discarded pieces of wood. Her pieces go for between $15 (for a name-card holder) and $2,000 (for larger home pieces). She also regularly conducts two-hour workshops to teach others how to upcycle wood, so that they can make their own home decor. Triple Eyelid Studio – where she’s honing her skills as a carpenter and product designer under its founder Jackie Tan – gets most of its used pallet wood from a local company, though people do bring certain types of wood over so that they can get a beautiful piece of furniture made from it.
Working with discarded wood, in particular, is tedious. First, she has to remove the nails from the pallets. Then, she sends the planks for heat treatment to remove moisture and chemicals, as well as to kill pests. After that, she planes the wood and puts it through a machine to be trimmed to a consistent thickness. Only then is it ready for use. Sounds like a lot of work? It is. But Lyn enjoys the process. “There’s something therapeutic about working with tools and machines,” she says.
For all the buzz that Lyn gets as one of the few women carpenters in Singapore, she’s actually new to the game. Her interest in wood work was sparked last year, when she and her family moved into a new home. “I wanted to design my own furniture. So I bought planks from Ikea and tried my hand at it.” She enjoyed the process so much, she decided to quit her marketing job. With just a few thousand dollars in her bank account, she flew to Taiwan to be an apprentice to an experienced carpenter for six months. There, she learnt to use small hand tools such as drills, before moving on to power tools and machines. “With woodwork, I get to hold the finished product, and it’s satisfying,” she says.
What started out as a break from corporate life grew into a personal mission. The more time Lyn spent working with wood, the more she felt furniture making generated a lot of wood waste. It’s why she prefers to seek alternative sources for her products. Triple Eyelid’s philosophy of working with used wood ties in with her belief.
“A lot of women sign up for our workshops. We have those in their 20s and 30s, as well as stayathome mothers,” Lyn says. “Upcycling prolongs the life of the discarded items, and reduces the burning of wood (to dispose of it), which harms the environment. If more people upcycle, fewer trees get cut down.”
Make this cool pour-over coffee stand (with a recycled bottle dripper) at the workshops Lyn conducts.
Lyn loves experimenting with what wood can do. This bag – which is a lot lighter than it looks – is an example of her playful approach to wood products.