Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lucky break: cedar chargers.

I apologize for all of the wedding crafting that I'll be inundating you with for the next several months. Wedding crafting is a weird world - crafts must be simple because you're probably not making just one, but impactful, because you also probably don't have the time and money to make everything look as detailed and perfect as a celebrity wedding. That doesn't mean you won't try, as pinterest both pushes and consoles you toward the brink of sanity. All of my time is spent on wedding crafting - whether it be making the invites, designing earrings, making a veil/headpiece/something-yet-to-be-determined, favors, seating tags, the list goes on and on. I realize that I'm ambitious in some of those areas, but I love creating so it's a fun experience for me. That doesn't mean printing and cutting 200 single cards of a three-piece invite isn't monotonous. 

Wedding crafting is also expensive. When you need things in multiples, it adds up fast. It's no wonder there's a multi-billion industry devoted to this one-day celebration. 

I wanted 40 tree slices.  A quick search told me that it would be anywhere from $378 to $960.  My plans were for it to be a part of the centerpiece, so that price range was impossible.  

To prove I'm not faking, here's my low-ball and high-ball prices.

I love playing American Pickers at my Grandpa's house. He's got a massive barn filled with tractors, old refrigerators filled with paint (which is just ingenious repurposing to me), and tons of crafty supplies.  I found the item I came for quickly (but it's a part of a secret detail of the wedding), and then continued to browse. Behind the barn, Gramps had tons of chopped wood.  That's logical, because they have a wood-burning fireplace.  Though my aunt had told me that I'd have to know someone at a lumber yard or mill to even have a shot at getting uniform slices of log, I wasn't convinced Gramps couldn't do it. Why does the double-negative seem fine there? I asked, and he did me one better - he offered the cedar logs, which he's had for ten years (unbeknownst to the entire family).  Jackpot! 


Gramps fired up the chainsaw, sliced off twenty slabs, then called for a beer break while we tested some different oils on the overly-dried wood.  His go-to is motor oil. He has a paintbrush dedicated to painting things with motor oil. I wouldn't imagine there were that many things to paint with motor oil, but Gramps isn't frivolous. 



I was skeptical, and after a few hours, the motor oil wasn't sinking in and letting the natural color shine nearly as nicely as the vegetable oil. We decided on the vegetable oil, then set up an assembly line. I chipped the bark off the sides (it was rotting, or else we would have tried to keep it) before Gramps sanded the sides with what I can only describe as a sanding belt.



Zach used the palm sander to give the top and bottom a smooth finish. 


I then brushed the slab to get as much of the dust off as possible before coating both sides with vegetable oil.  I laid them out to dry on cardboard to soak up all the excess.


Gram was anxious to see what we were doing, so I took an un-oiled slab up to house. 


I think they look pretty darn good, and at the low price of $8 for a giant tub of vegetable oil, the price couldn't be better.

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