Reclaimed Christmas Tree




Introduction: Reclaimed Christmas Tree

Being a fan of wood, old things, conservation of the earth, and Christmas; this seemed like the perfect project for a slow Friday night on the cusp of the holiday season. The idea is not unique, but I put my own twist on a couple of the design features. And as all ideas go, it is a work in progress. The addition of some rusted metal ornaments and a topper would make this tree more "festive". On to the build....

Step 1: Deconstruction....

I picked up a couple of pallets that were resting on the back wall of a local retailer's store. They were happy to see them go. One was fairly new and about 4 x 4, the other old and weathered and 6 x 4. I first pried all the slats off using hammer and flat bar. Then all the nails were pulled from the slats and the 2 x 4 braces. I have found that a couple of pieces of 4 x 4 post laid on the workbench allow the nails to be pounded all the way through and makes for easy nail pulling. Of course, your favorite beverage and jazzy holiday tunes being played through the old 40's tube radio via my Kindle Fire and Pandora (okay, so I like some new things too) helps during this first phase. I then stacked the slats to take inventory. I had figured I needed around 30 pieces of various lengths to complete the tree.

Step 2: The Foundation...

The only cost incurred for this project was $3.00 worth of 3/4" round 5' long piece of conduit. This will be our "trunk" from which we will build the "branches" around. As a base, I raided my log pile out back and found the perfect stump, of which already had a hole in the center. I inserted the pole all the way to the bottom, and pounded a wedge of slat in alongside to straighten and hold the conduit pole in place.

Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once....

Next I determined the length of my first layer (lowest on the tree) of "branches". Relative to the height of the tree, which is 5' including the base, I chose the branches to be 20" in length for the bottom layer. This means that the diameter of my tree at the bottom will be around 36", allowing for the portion at the end beyond the mounting hole. I cut and drilled between 5 - 7 boards for each layer of branches. The subsequent layers I made in 18", 15", 12", 9", and 6" lengths to give the tree it's conical shape. In between each layered group, I inserted two cut pieces 4" x 4" of the 2 x 4 bracing from the pallets to give the layers more separation and "air" between the sizes. I found that my 15/16" bit was the perfect size for my 3/4" conduit to slide the wood pieces on without having any "slop" in the boards. Then it was a matter of drilling and sliding the pieces on the conduit and into place to form the tree. The best part of this process is the mixed aromas one gets coming off the drilled wood. Some might be described as "fresh cooked pears", "up north sauna", and "pine forest campfire".

Step 4: Charlie Brown Would Be Proud...

My little tree turned out alright Charlie Brown. Thanks to Vince Guaraldi and his version of "O' Christmas Tree" playing in the background as this project reached completion. Or is it just the beginning....?

Step 5: All Lit Up Like a Christmas Tree...

Picked up some C7 old fashioned 25 count bulb string today and added them to the tree. She looks real nice, Clark.



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    12 Discussions

    Not quite sure how to take that comment....but I'm pretty sure it isn't "positive or constructive" and not befitting of the Instructable policy.

    Wow your tree turned out... AWESOME! Also a great way of recycling wood! Great job

    2 replies

    Thank you for your kind and generous comments Flash67. To show my appreciation, I am giving you my signature patch! Happy holidays...

    Dude, you can make serious money with this stuff. Look what I found in a design brochure we got. Look at the price. Well done, I like it, cheers. ;-)

    1 reply

    Thank you fcfelix! I appreciate your comments and the valuation of my project. For that, I am giving you my signature patch! Happy holidays....


    I can see this project on one of my wife's many pinterest boards. Maybe two or three even.

    1 reply

    Thanks hegure_ryu! For your kind words I am granting you my own signature patch. Happy holidays....


    Thank you dilipaz! For your positive reinforcement, I am granting you my own signature patch. Happy holidays....


    This looks so awesome and woodpunky! Your instructions are great, and the pictures are too. Thanks for including the costs- it's really handy to know how much to bring with you to the hardware store! You are really talented at woodworking, and I'm sure that some rusty metal ornaments "wood" (ha, ha) look AWESOME on this thing. Great job, keep this awesome work up!

    1 reply

    Thanks Fission Chips! (great name btw) It is obvious that when it comes to using aromatic wood in a project, we share the same "scents" of humor! I am granting you my signature patch for your kind and generous comments. Happy holidays...