Creating Rustic Twig Furniture From Natural Wood

Twig furniture blends the natural grace of the growing tree with the personality of the builder, including choosing the wood, planning and making rustic furniture, alternative tenon, and wood finishing.



Peeled maple twig chair
Daniel Mack with a peeled maple chair he designed and built.
PHOTO: BROWNIE HARRIS
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Seating options include (from left to right) oak, hickory, and a variety of fabrics.
BROWNIE HARRIS
Building twig furniture 1
STEP 1(a): TAPERING THE TENON. Use a taper bit (or a knife) to bevel the end of the piece to be cut into a tenon.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Sugar maple twig chair
Daniel Mack's sugar maple chair he designed and built.
BROWNIE HARRIS
103-042-01i3
Hollow auger and taper bit tools.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Building twig furniture 5
STEP 2(c): Proceed down the tenon until you reach the end of the taper. Don't go farther or the bark may tear away in advance of the auger.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Alternative tenon 1
THE ALTERNATIVE TENON, STEP 1: SCORE THE END OF THE TENON. Use a backsaw to cut around the circumference to the depth of the tenon you're planning.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Building twig furniture 2
STEP 1(b): Bevel far enough to reach the depth of the tenon you're planning. Don't completely sharpen the end, or it might split the mortise.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Building twig furniture 4
STEP 2(b): Start the tenon on the bevel you made with the taper bit. Be careful to keep the auger properly aligned with the work.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Building twig furniture 3
STEP 2(a): CUTTING THE TENON. A hollow auger in a hand brace makes a quick and very precise tenon.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Alternative tenon 3
STEP 3(a): FILE TO SIZE. Use a wood rasp to file the tenon down to the final size. Then smooth it with a finer file.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Alternative tenon 4
STEP 3(b): BORING THE MORTISE. Use an auger or spur bit to bore the mortise. Stop the hole a little deeper than the tenon.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
Alternative tenon 2
STEP 2: CHISEL AWAY THE WASTE. Use a chisel to trim the tenon down close to the right diameter. Don't use too much force.
KAY HOLMES STAFFORD

















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