Branches

The other day, we had a young birch that we had to take out because it was too close to our septic field. Birches are lovely, and we are lucky to have them scattered throughout our property.

  • A view through the branches of a young birch tree, one of the sustainably harvested woods @rivenjoiner.com
  • A view through the branches of a young birch tree, one of the sustainably harvested woods @rivenjoiner.com
  • A view through the branches of a young birch tree, one of the sustainably harvested woods @rivenjoiner.com
  • A view through the branches of a young birch tree, one of the sustainably harvested woods @rivenjoiner.com
  • A view through the branches of a young birch tree, one of the sustainably harvested woods @rivenjoiner.com

The bark, for which they are so well-known, catches the light so beautifully, and the leaves rustle peacefully in the summer breezes.

Still, as with all trees, even the lovely birches are sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time, or sometimes become unhealthy, or sometimes need trimming, or at some point, become ready to harvest…And then, they make the transition from beautiful forest tree to useful harvested wood!

A sapling like this doesn’t yield much in terms of woodworking. It’s only a few inches thick to begin with, and once you remove the pith from the center, you don’t have enough room to get very much out of what’s left. I suppose it could have just been firewood.

Buuuut, Joe finds inspiration in even the little things. And so it turns out that there are a lot of small, creative options for using this beautiful wood.

a large, traditional auger is partially drilled into a birch branch in a hand-craft woodworking workshop
One option is to hollow out sections, which then become handy round boxes complete with natural bark detail.
a birch branch is held in a vise and hand-planed to make a small bowl
Or, slice them in half, plane them smoothe, and carve small bowls for dipping sauces or desktop organization.
a close-up of a pair of birch bark napkin rings sitting on a piece of driftwood
And when the branch becomes really narrow, why not bore and slice a set of birch-bark napkin rings?

We could have had a stack of firewood. Instead, we have a variety of useful home goods, all showcasing that beautiful birch bark.

an assortment of napkin rings, dipping bowls, and hollowed storage-and-organization boxes made hand-crafted from birch branches

Hand-crafted, from the homestead!

by Sydney Michalski

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