My main drive for the upcycle project was to turn a log into something useful. At first I was uncertain on the route to take with my piece. A few initial ideas were a chair, coffee table, and chandelier. The coffee table was automatically ruled out due to its comical role in the class room. Also the chair did not seem too practical because we already have so much furniture in my house. I spent a substantial amount of time researching and narrowing down other ideas through searching the web, but I was left unsure on what to create out of this canvas log. Then, after taking a good look around the upstairs of my house, I noticed that the main room could use some decorative lighting. Finally I came to the conclusion that this log was destined to be a chandelier.
My first step in creating the chandelier was to debark and remove the outer layer of material since it has been drastically weathered. Since the material was so dry, I had no problem cutting into it or damaging shop equipment. After stripping the log of flaws, I had to find a way to hollow out the inside to install a lighting fixture. This was probably the biggest challenge since the wood lathe could not be used due to the log’s large diameter.
Fortunately I was able to convince Mark, the head machinist at the shop in the ITLL to let me safely mount the log to a machine mill. He was hesitant because saw dust can get caught up deep inside of the components of a mill due to how fine the dust is, but his interest in the result overpowered the potential issues. Mounting the log to the mill presented quite a few issues due to the grain of the wood, and the natural cracks that were present. As I clamped the precut flat faces of the log between the vice, spontaneous loud cracking noises jumped out and had me worried that the log would collapse.
After a few attempts of different mount positions, I was able to safely grab the piece and hollow out the inside. But, there was still more work to be done. Since the goal was to create a chandelier, channels had to be cut to allow light passage. I decided that 5 channels would be a conservative option, leaving 6 braces for stability.
After finishing the machining of the log, I was discontent with the way it looked from the bottom (if you’re standing in the room and looking up). I thought a stone finish would add a great aesthetic to the piece and would stay in bounds of keeping all natural. So I took a walk down to Boulder Creek to collect a variety of color and textured stones to attach to the frame of the chandelier. They covered up the dull frame by adding a warm natural finish to the base of the chandelier.
Now the piece is ready for it’s final touches. I begun experimenting with different materials to wrap the outer frame of the chandelier with in order to leave a textured pattern on the surrounding walls and ceiling. I started with a variety of small, ductile twigs that could bend a full 360 degrees around the frame. The resulting effect was a striped pattern on the walls, which was rather boring. Then the idea struck me that if it was wrapped with leaves, another aspect of nature would be contributing. Unfortunately, real leaves could not be used for they shrivel up and crumble once dehydrated. Luckily I had some fake vine laying around the house that could be used to create the same effect.
Though I am satisfied with the way this project turned out, if I were to do it again I would add branch like structures protruding from the frame of the fixture. The overall piece is a tight package currently and could use some more 3D effects. After light gets delivered, the fixture will be installed in the living room of my house.