Did you know you could burn awesome-smelling incense and be green at the same time? Neither did I until I built the all-natural incense burner. Made from nothing but recycled materials gathered from nature, this rustic burner is both pleasing to the eye, and made from the best stuff nature has to offer. (That and some miscellaneous hardware =P)
This burner is great to have in your own home or to be given as a gift.
Step 1: Gather What Nature Gave You (and Some Other Parts)
In order to build this burner, we'll have to harvest several branches from a tree. Now I imagine all you hippies flipping out right about now about me killing trees for incense, so before you write angry comments, rest assured that the branches I used were from an already felled willow tree that would only be turned to mulch anyway. This is completely 100% recycled wood, I'm pretty sure hippies like that stuff, so hopefully we'll keep them at bay for now.
A large branch - I used a 2 1/2" - 3" around piece of green willow
A smaller branch - About 3/4" is perfect
Dremel (alternatively you could just use big power tools, but where's the fun in that?)
Tiny (3/4" - 1") nails
Sod shovel (flat one)
Step 2: Split the Wood
The first thing we will be doing is splitting the larger log (which I cut to about 7") down the middle so we can have a flat surface for the incense to burn on. I started by using my knife to slice a small groove in one side of the wood - roughly in half, remembering to slice with the grain of the wood.
I then took my sod shovel and stuck the end of it into the groove I created. After that I simply gave it a good shove into the pavement to split it in two. You could use a wood wedge for this, but i didn't have one handy at the moment and it would've been a bit cumbersome.
The smaller bits of wood were easier to split, all I needed to do was use my knife.
Once you split the smaller bits of wood simply cut them down to an appropriate size (about 2 1/2" - 3"). If you want, it looks nice to cut little bits off the edges of the wood. It gives it a more finished look. See the fourth picture if you don't understand.
Step 3: Preperation and Assembally
I used my knife to slice off the mud that got on my wood when I split it. At this point you may want to do the same or use your knife to tidy up the wood a bit before assembling. Next I cut off some of the bigger knots on the outside of the large log. It is also important to make sure the tops of the shorter branches are smooth before you assemble it.
In order to provide the legs of the burner with a snug fit, I took my Dremel with a sanding drum bit and sanded grooves in the wood where the legs would sit. Once the legs fit securely I used my small nails to secure them in place. I didn't sand the grooves deep enough for two nails on each leg, but one works just fine.
Chances are it will be unbalanced when you're complete. Simply shave down one side of one leg with your knife to make it sit flat.
Step 4: Drilling and Use
Now that the burner sits flat and has stable fit the only step left is to drill the hole that will hold the incense. I just stuck a bit on the Dremel and marked out the best angle to drill with a pencil and drilled strait through the log.
It sounds more complicated than it actually is, just shove the thing right down the middle of the log on about a 45 degree angle.
All that's left to do now is stick in some incense and burn it.
The log will collect the ashes without danger, and your room will smell excellent. My favorite type of incense is peach, experiment to find what you like and good luck!