Cutting open a log or thick board is one of the most rewarding feelings a DIYer or woodworker can experience. Who knows what the grain will look like? Who knows if you'll find a burl, a beautiful sapwood/heartwood transition, or a knot you'll be proud to feature, not hide? Beneath all that bark lies a world to be discovered, a geode of cellulose waiting to be explored.
Right? Well...sometimes. Or, you can split something open only to find punky, foamy wood, damage from bugs, or just boring, boring grain.
During spring time, pine, fir, and other evergreen trees grow by producing new tips at the end of each branch. The new growth is a lighter, vibrant green, and you can (and should) eat it. The tips have a wonderful citrus-y, woodsy flavor that tastes awesome in all kinds of sautes, seafood, and roasted dishes. But the easiest way to preserve their flavor is steep them gently in a syrup, which will last in your fridge for weeks.
Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.
Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.
"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.
The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.
My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
A significant number of my childhood fantasies revolved around tree houses - but this design by Kazakh architect Aibek Almassov just flips the whole idea on its head. Almassov originally designed the cylindrical glass house that entirely surrounds a fir tree in 2013, but his financial backers pulled out leaving the project in suspended animation. But everything is changing now that glass and solar companies are starting the conversation up again...
Elora Hardy grew up in the world of imaginative actualization, and when her architect parents built a home off of the "fairy mushroom house" drawn by their nine-year-old daughter, Hardy didn't realize that it was unusual. Now a innovative architect herself, Hardy is building beautiful and immersive living spaces most people couldn't dream up, out of bamboo with Bali locals in a desire to increase infrastructure with sustainable resources.
A tree branch slice coaster is a wonder of simplicity: it's rustic, it's organic, it's functional, and adds some outdoor style to your coffee table. And they're easy to make, costing you much less than buying a set; you just gotta know what you're doing.
I'm digging this rustic, cabin-look wall hanger DIY project, which adds some vibe, visual interest, and plenty of storage. The how-to comes from The Effortless Chic
With winter finally making its way out of our lives (for now), there's a whole lotta cleaning to do. Inside? Sure, but this also includes trimming all of those "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows"-looking branches and debris from your yard from all those record setting wind storms this year (yes, that happened too.)
No space (or patience) for an actual Christmas tree? This DIY idea looks plenty festive, plus it leaves no mess at all. Bu-bye pine needles!
ManMade readers and filmaker Josh Brine created this cool video featuring Jacob and Luke Cowdin, two brothers who turned a tree that fell in their backyard into something they could skate.
The wood appears to be a a trunk of spalted
If you've been around the design and craft blogosphere in the last five years, you've probably seen Bryan Nash Gill's "Woodcut" series, where the artist makes large-scale relief prints from crosscut sections of actual tree trunks and limbs.
Gill is about to release his first book of prints,
Even with the 100° temperatures, the unrelenting scorch of the sun and frightful humidity, I've still got a case of cabin fever. Like, the kind of fever where the only solution is an escape to an actual cabin, preferably one built in a tree.
8-Tracks never made it, cassettes are harder and harder to find, and CDs are certainly on their way out, but the vinyl record? Here. To. Stay.
If you head to any flea market, thrift store, or charity shop, you'll find plenty of functional, yet ugly and worn out, turntables and record players. What to do? Take them home, rip out the guts, and install on a nice slice of wood.