Twig, or bent willow, furniture was popular in the United States and England during the 19th century. With a few tools and some twigs and branches, you can make this durable rustic table today.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Pruning shears
- Pruning saw
- Tape measure
- 2 sizes of ribbed paneling nails. The large nails are for the frame; the small nails for the flexible pieces you’ll bend.
- 4 legs, 2 inches in diameter and 24 inches long
- 12 cross pieces, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, 16 inches long
- 8 flexible pieces, 1/2 inch in diameter, 36 inches long
- 2 flexible pieces, 1/2 inch in diameter, 72 inches long
Willow is still commonly used to make rustic furniture, but almost any wood will work. Birch, ash, maple and alder bend just fine. As wood dries out, it becomes less flexible, so it’s important to build your table soon after cutting materials. Stay away from conifers like spruce and pine (unless you don’t mind sticky sap everywhere).
WHAT YOU’LL DO
1. Cut your materials to size. The material diameters suggested are approximate. Use a sharp knife to take off any unwanted rough spots or bumps.
2. Attach three cross pieces to the legs by first drilling holes slightly smaller in diameter than the nails. Drilling a hole for each nail will prevent the wood from splitting when it dries.
3. Work your way around using two nails at each contact point. Make two identical frames. These two frames will be the front and back of your table.
4. Drill and nail four 1/2-inch twigs onto the bottom and center cross pieces.
5. Carefully bend each piece into position, then drill and nail them into place.
6. After each twig is attached, use the pruning shears to trim to length. Complete both the front and back frames.
7. Drill and nail the front and back frames together using the remaining six cross pieces.
8. Carefully bend and attach an inside arch as shown. Drill and nail it into place. When the table dries, the wood will shrink and grip the nails tightly.
9. You can make an 18-by-18-inch square top from boards as shown. You can also use a standard 18-inch square tile or enough straight twigs attached side by side to cover the entire top.
While hunting for materials, strive to Leave No Trace by reducing your impact on natural areas. Find saplings that need to be pruned or get materials from a tree-trimming crew. Be sure to get permission from land owners before going onto private property.
PHOTOS OF COMPLETED PROJECT
Check out these photos of completed twig tables by Gunnar and Eric Johansson, two Scouts from Smithtown, N.Y.
If you have a photos of a BL Workshop project, please click here to send them to us.