Bent Twig Furniture

Just like the itinerant artisans used to make

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Bent Twig Furniture has been around for a long time, since the time of the depression, when itinerant workers needed to make a few dollars and a meal. 

They would stop at the lodges in the eastern United States, and spend a few weeks creating some fabulous furniture to be enjoyed by those escaping from the cities on a holiday.


Imagine that lifestyle for a moment; you're totally broke, no money at all.  Dependent on hand outs at soup kitchens, and getting chased off by angry farmers and their dogs is a regular experience. 

Finding a way to make a few honest dollars must have been an extraordinary event. 

Their materials were free for the taking, and the tools they used were a simple knife to cut the branches, and a hammer and a few nails.  Some of the most spectacular examples were made without any metal; held together by strips of bark and jute, or pegged to hold the pieces in place.

Beautiful bent twig chair for your porch...

The most important thing when making any type of twig furniture is the selection of the right type of twig.  Some twigs like maple and birch snap, and won't bend unless they are first heated and steamed, then clamped into place in a jig.

Willow is the one kind of wood that will bend, with nothing more than gentle persuasion.

Imagine early morning coffee sitting on these bent twig chairs...

I usually use twist nails to attach the pieces, but some people have had great success with using drywall screws. 

These are black so they blend in with the twigs well, and, as an added bonus, you can take the pieces apart if one breaks.

Twig Arbor SeatThe willow twigs start out green. As they age and dry out, they change to a rust or gold color, depending on the time of year they were harvested, how long they aged before use, and the type or species of Salix. Urethane or some kind of oil (linseed or tung oil) will protect your creation.

As always it's important to drill a pilot hole when working with twigs to prevent them splitting.  You can see more about twig techniques here or buy the book;

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