Sunday, July 1, 2012

Two Projects Involving Trees

Stair Rails

You might recall how we fashioned a couple of the smaller trees we cut and saved into handrails in the basement stairwell?

We really liked how they came out, and because I can't leave well enough alone, decided that we would replace the railings in the main stairwell with the same. 

Mind you, we already had very nice wood handrails in a traditional styling that my brother Tom had installed, when he finished the stairs for us. 

So when Dean was clearing some more of the land near the side of the garage/barn, we set aside a couple of black birch that we thought would be good for this purpose.

The tree lengths we used in the basement had been set aside after we cut them, and spent a season outdoors which caused the bark to loosen and come off easily.  

This was not the case for these railings.  I made a feeble attempt at removing the bark, but after just a few minutes, realized it was not going to be worth it, so we decided to keep the bark on.

I sanded the whole surface to smooth it, and used a wood plane to take down some of the bigger bumps left from branchs.  I then applied 3 coats of satin finish polyurethane - sanding lightly between each coat.

And here they are awaiting installation.  I like the result with the intact bark.  The polyurethane really brought out the grain and overall darkened the bark.

Here's a not very good close-up...

So yesterday, we installed the rails.

And here it is. Voila!

A Coat Rack Hat Rack Thingy

I had also put aside a few white birch trees that we harvested from our land.  I was intending to use them to build a towel rack in the bathroom, but ultimately decided against it.  And then I came up with this idea...

Attach two sections to the wall vertically.

We used a deep countersink so that the screws are not visible, and the trees kinda-sorta look like they are growing there??

I had these hooks that I had bought from IKEA a while back, and attached them in a sort of random pattern using 3/4 inch wood screws.

And here it is ready to hold your hat when you come for a visit.

It's a little bit rustic, it's a little bit modern!