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A few weeks ago one of my favorite backyard trees fell over. Sadly, it had to be cut down. I gathered as many branches as I could knowing that I would want to find a few ways to keep the tree with me. This Instructable shows my process of making a rack to hang frequently used items, with minimal supplies and tools. 

Step 1: Gather Branches & Tools

Branches:
  • I used 178 inches of very straight branches ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.
Tools
  • saw
  • full spool of jute rope
  • scissors
  • pen
  • 10 2-inch cup hooks (purchased at Home Depot)

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Wood

I used a pen to mark off the cutting locations. My project called for:
  • 3 branches cut to 26 inches
  • 1 branch cut to 22 inches
  • 3 branches cut to 18 inches
  • 2 branches cut to 12 inches

Step 3: Begin Tying 26 Inch Peices

Cut a very long length of jute. Lay it behind the three 26 inch pieces near the end. Pull the tails in and weave them over and under the branches as shown. Do this several times before tying 2 or three firm knots. Repeat for the bottom.

Step 4: Tie the First Cross Limb

Lay the 22 inch piece across the three 26 inch pieces where they are tied. Lay another very long cut of jute behind the 26 inch pieces and use the tails to encircle the 22 inch piece several times. Weave between the three 26 inch pieces, making figure 8 patterns. Tie as tightly as you can.

Repeat for the second 18 inch cross limb.

Step 5: Create the Base

Move the structure to the edge of your work surface. Sandwich the three 26 inch pieces between two 18 inch pieces, center. Use jute to tie several tight loops and repeat on the other side. It won't be very tight or stable at this point but it will allow you to get the structure vertical to continue the work. 

Step 6: Continue the Base

You should now be able to stand the structure vertically. Lay the two 12 inch pieces across the exposed 18 inch pieces. Use long lengths of jute to make figure 8 patterns between first the 18 inch pieces and the 12 inch pieces, then between the 12 inch pieces and the 26 inch pieces. Tie down diagonally opposing sides first, then tie the remaining sides. 

Step 7: Hook Placement & Break

Before further securing the tie points, place the hooks. I was able to place the hooks using only my hands since the wood is fairly soft. I chose to space them somewhat evenly, but you can space them according to the items you plan to hang on them.

Time for a snack break. A fitting sack would be ants on a log. No need to measure the logs carefully ;)
 

Step 8: Tie It Down Tight!

Use the remaining jute to continue tying down the cross limbs and base. Weave and tie vertically around horizontal loops to tighten the structure. Use figure 8 patterns to bind opposing limbs. Finally, encircle the 26 inch pieces and use figure 8 ties to secure them to the 12 inch pieces.

Step 9: Test & Implement

When the structure is as tight as you can possibly make it, and you've double or triple knotted all knots, it's time to trim the excess jute and figure out what to put on your new kick knack rack :)

Notes:
  • Because this rack is made using very minimal tools and hardware, it's not going to be able to hold heavy items. With a decent drill, some 8 x 3 wood screws, and a firm base you could adapt this for hanging heavier items.
  • The branch sizes I used are just guidelines, feel free to scale up or down depending on your needs. Mostly, just have fun making something out of a tree you once loved (or liked as a friend).
  • For a simpler project using tree limbs check out my incense burner project.
Cool!
Thanks :)

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