Sunday, July 14, 2013

Twig Table and Basket

In case you're wondering what I've been doing with my spare time this summer, this post will clue you in about how I spent around twelve hours this weekend.

I wanted to post this because when I decided to make something out of branches from our property, I searched online and found very little inspiration. I plan to pin this, in case anyone happens to be looking for ideas for stick tables. [Part of the problem, I guess, is knowing what to call this project--stick, rustic, twig, ?? I had a hard time choosing the correct search terms, so for the sake of other searchers, I'll use several.

Anyway, I had seen a beautiful chair made from sticks and wanted to make it but felt overwhemed.
Then I saw a beautiful table with a basket of flowers on top of it and thought, "Maybe that's in my league!" Apparently, it was, because about 12 hours later, I have myself a beautiful table and "basket"

First, I used Google Draw to sketch out a basic plan. This is a table and a basket with a handle.

You need sticks, of course. My husband had cleared trees a couple of weeks ago, and he had them piled in the woods, so I doused myself in insect repellent and went out and started selecting materials. I was able to find enough of one kind of tree (wild cherry, I'm told). First, I "cleaned" the branches and sorted them into piles by sizes.  This honestly took about four hours. Then I started laying the sticks out.

Steve is a major fan of sticks, and that's an understatement; at any given time, there are five to ten sticks laying in the yard. It was not easy feat, keeping my project materials away from Steve.

Since I didn't have anyone else's plans, I had to guess what I needed. I decided to cut these sticks to 16 inches and laid them out as I cut them so that I'd know when I had enough. The length is 40 inches.

The next day (I was exhausted, and it was getting dark when I'd finished planning.), I got to work.
I was busy, so I didn't take a lot of photos.
Mr.4444 helped when I needed two hands and with some troubleshooting; I had never used powertools before, and he sweetly showed me how not to take my eye out with a power stapler and cordless drill. Here's what I ended up with.

FYI, I know the sticks on top are not equal lengths; I like assymetry, 
which is why the braces are kind of all over the place, too. 
I love it.

[For you technical types (I know, I'm a technical type.), the four main legs are 36 inches tall. The cross braces were 40 inches long, but I should have cut them longer, since the diagonal distance is longer than I'd figured, so I ended up getting creative with the cross braces.  I used a power stapler to tack things into place before first drilling small holes and then inserting drywall screws into the larger pieces. Mr.4444 explained that if I didn't drill the whole first, the screw would split the wood. Of course, because I have to see things for myself, I asked him to try without making a hole first, and he showed me; right again, Mr.4444 (I hate when that happens.) ] 

Next, in Lincoln-Log fashion, I whipped up a rectangular basket. 
(By the way, if you like things just-so, do not take this project on; to expect crooked sticks to lay all nice for you and be perfectly level is a recipe for insanity. In fact, because I was not up for insanity this weekend, I left the bottom off my basket.)

Finally, I really, really wanted a "handle" for the basket, but I had no idea whether or not wild cherry liked to bend, and I didn't feel like soaking the branches, first, so I just tacked the smallest branches to the side of the basket and gently started coaxing them towards the middle. 

In the end, they mostly cooperated, and with a little help from some zipties, it fits the bill.
(Yes, I plan to replace the zipties when I figure out what to use instead.)
Here's the final product with a couple of props. What I envision for the future is a cascade of flowers from the basket down the front.

I also plan to slather the whole thing in polyurethane to protect it from the elements.

Next project: Who knows? I'll keep you posted.

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