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Binding wood

  1. Jun 22, 2006 #1

    DaveC426913

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    OK. DaveC426913's Project 437b.211 - Driftwood Arbour.

    I plan to make an arbour (i.e. archway) out of driftwood branches I collected from the shore.

    Think of it as the love child of this and this. (Note that there is no internal or external bracing in an arbour.)

    The trouble I'm having is figuring out how to bind the sticks together. Nails or screws (with pilot holes) I fear will weaken the wood so that it will split. Some is split already. The driftwood lumber is between 1/2" and 2 inches in diameter.


    I was thinking of catgut or leather thongs, but will they slip? It needs to be secure enough for a 7'x3'x3' structure to be rigid.

    I want a binding material that:
    - is strong enough to last outdoors year round
    - will hold well enough to ensure the arbour is rigid
    - will minimize weakening of the wood
    - won't look hideous (metal strapping, cables or bolted metal bands would meet all the other criteria, but would look hideous)
     
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  3. Jun 22, 2006 #2

    wolram

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    Black cable ties, they are strong will not rot and should blend in.
     
  4. Jun 22, 2006 #3

    Danger

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    Yeah, ties would maybe work, but there's a lot of flexibility to them. I'm also not too sure how well they'd blend, but with so many colours available it shouldn't be a problem. I just wonder how much of a pounding this thing will have to take (I'm thinking Ontario snow-loading as well as the normal wind and riotous kids).
    If the wood is thick enough, I'd be very inclined to drill holes in adjacent pieces and epoxy rebar in so the pieces are 'pinned' together like a broken leg.
    That being said, the leather lacing would work pretty well (better than plastic) if you apply it soaking wet and then let it dry. It'll cinch down just as if you use a come-along on it.
     
  5. Jun 22, 2006 #4

    Moonbear

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    If you want to avoid having too many fasteners showing, you might want to try creating joints that don't need as much of those wherever you can. Mortise and tenon joints might work best for most of the cross pieces to attach to your side supports. Then use other fasteners for either the pieces that are too split to cut into those sorts of joints and use screws in the strongest pieces to hold it all together.

    Depending on whether it fits with the look you're going for, you might be able to use something like grapevine to wrap around and disguise some of the fasteners. That would still keep the rustic look of driftwood.
     
  6. Jun 22, 2006 #5

    DaveC426913

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    I can't see how they'd blend. If they're visible at all, they should be of ... theme-compatible materials - anything organic. But even metal is more compatible than plastic.
    Definitely a concern wit da kiddies.
    That is a great idea - like good carpentry. (But it is likely a whole lot of work...) I'll seriously consider it.
    Yeah. Do you know any tips about doing this? Is it just wet, apply, let dry?

    The hits I got from Googling "leather thong binding" were ... um let's say ... not applicable.
     
  7. Jun 22, 2006 #6

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: You better turn "safe search" on. :rofl:

    I don't know if you'd need to dry with heat, or just let the leather naturally dry. I'd think heat would help it shrink tighter.
     
  8. Jun 22, 2006 #7

    Danger

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    Links, please. :biggrin:
    I'd probably soak the leather in a tub of water for a day or two anyhow. I don't really know an awful lot about it. I do know, however, that at least one native North American culture used to bind wet thongs around the heads of the their victims and leave them out in the sun until their skulls cracked open. That takes a lot of force.
     
  9. Jun 22, 2006 #8

    wolram

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  10. Jun 22, 2006 #9

    Danger

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    That's an awesome site, Woolie. Love the 'firepiston' article.
     
  11. Jun 22, 2006 #10

    wolram

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    One does ones best old chap, there is an art in googling dontcha know
    :rofl: :rofl:
     
  12. Jun 22, 2006 #11

    DaveC426913

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    What kind of ... establishment ... would one approach to ask questions about tying with rawhide or leather?
     
  13. Jun 22, 2006 #12

    Danger

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    One of my friends was (until an injury) an exceptional saddlemaker. He made the holsters, chaps, etc. for several movie productions, including 'Tombstone'. If anyone would know, he probably will. I've misplaced his number, but see him every couple of weeks. I'll ask him.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    C'mon over to the Turbo RV! When one of the sisters answers the door, just let her know you're there for the leather workshop. :biggrin: :devil:

    :uhh:

    :uhh:

    o:)
     
  15. Jun 22, 2006 #14

    NoTime

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    :rofl: You can eat wet leather thongs :eek: :rofl:

    You could try sticking a couple pieces of rebar (coated to minimize rusting) in the ground or holes in a concrete pad, bend to join at the top and clamp.
    Drill holes in the pieces and just stack them on the rebar supports.
    You could assemble it then plug it into the pad holes.

    Waterproof exterior construction adhesive (or epoxy) would help lock the pieces in place.
    Or perhaps two parallel pieces of rebar could give more depth and be self locking.

    You (or kids) might break individual pieces but you wouldn't have the whole thing come down.
     
  16. Jun 22, 2006 #15
    I'd use copper wire, cause it strong enough and also looks great when it weathers.
     
  17. Jun 23, 2006 #16

    DocToxyn

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    Yes, I would agree with hypatia, or try copper bands or possibly pipe. Very nice patina after it ages. Copper has gotten pretty expensive around here recently though.....
     
  18. Jun 24, 2006 #17
    Wet leather doesn't shrink much when dried. It's rawhide that does that. Unfortunately it will loosen back up when it's rewet by fog, rain and melting snow.

    The pieces you're using sound too small to create enough overall structural integrity unless each and every join is perfectly rigid and secure. Therefore I think the driftwood over some more solid framework is the only way to go.
     
  19. Jun 24, 2006 #18

    Astronuc

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    Depending on the pieces of drift wood, perhaps one could interweave the wood, and perhaps use fishing line. However, the nylon will embrittle with exposure to sunlight. Perhaps copper wire (from hardware store), as hypatia suggests, is the way to go.

    Cool idea. It reminds me of arbors of deer antlers, which I have seen, IIRC Colorado or Wyoming.
     
  20. Jun 25, 2006 #19

    DaveC426913

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    And I'll notch the wood.


    A growing part of me is thinking that I'm going to go to all this effort and then some kid will come and apply a boot to it...
     
  21. Jun 25, 2006 #20

    NoTime

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    Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
    Just down the street from Ripley's believe it or not.
    Didn't quite feel like looking to see how they did it, after visiting the Cowboy Bar acrost the street with my friends, apres ski. :wink:
     
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