Reclaimed Norway Spruce

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary. When I looked up the traditional gift I said, “sweet!” It’s wood! I knew I had to make something special for my wonderful and loving wife, Jen, who allows me to take time away from her and our two kids to do woodworking. At the time I had no idea what I would make, but I knew I wanted to make something like the “Tree of life” that I made earlier this year. When thinking about it and our wedding, I remembered the Norway spruce trees that we gave away to guests at our reception. We have some of those same trees growing in our backyard. I thought it was only fitting to make a tree, like the spruces that we gave to friends and family who joined us to celebrate our union on December 6th, 2008.

Creating my own art is a lot of fun and I often don’t get much time to do it. For this I luckily had a break in other custom work to get a chance to make this. I first selected a reclaimed Western red-cedar to make the frame from. I cut a ½” rabbet in the frame to hold really nice Atlantic white-cedar tongue and groove boards in the back. After making the frame, it was sanded, stained then finished with a coat of boiled linseed oil & beeswax protective finish, which adds a really nice feel to the finished frame. I then attached the tongue & groove cedar to the inside of the frame with glue and nails. After that, I freehand drew a conifer tree on a piece of paper I had in my workshop. I used that to lay out my design in the frame. I chose a green painted wood to make the tree from, which are from old game bird crates that I salvaged years ago after I found pieces in a dumpster. The old crates were getting rehabbed and the old wood was getting trashed! I then started cutting out pieces to make the form of the tree. Conifers, especially Norway spruces, have such a beautiful natural form to them, with their drooping branches and large cones, they’re such a nice tree to look at and study. I glued and nailed each piece onto the backer board. As I worked my way down I chose difference pieces in odd sizes to complete the form of the tree. The trunk was the last piece that I installed.

My wife was totally surprised and loved it! Happy Anniversary Jen! I love you!!