The tree was built on a slab cut from a 50-year-old tree. “It took 50 years to build this tree. How do we build a tree?” Berry asked himself. “You can’t Google strip wood tree.” He used the slab as a template.
The IA class has built strip wood boats and sold them with advertising on Facebook. The owner of a coffee shop in Rhode Island saw what the class could do and approached them to create a tree for them.
The class stands with the tree they created. Teacher Bob Berry, juniors Noah Seavey, Autumn Mauran and Sam Kramschuster and sophomore Tyler Homer. Freshman Zeb Cleaves not pictured.
Noah Seavey, a junior, has been in the boat building class since his freshman year. The tree was a chance to take on a new challenge. For junior Autumn Mauran, this class and project was a different way of doing art. “I had experience with doing this kind of work with my dad. I liked the reasoning and story behind what we were doing. It was fun,” she said.
Sophomore Tyler Homer thought the sanding was the most difficult part of the project and others agreed that it took the most time.
The tree was started with 2x8s in the center and plywood templates that go up the tree to help it keep the shape they wanted. The red oak slats uses to make the outside of the tree was painstakingly nailed and molded onto the tree. They custom made pieces where needed on the limbs. The angles of smaller pieces had to be fit in after measuring and cutting them. The trunk was faster than the limbs, according to freshman Zeb Cleaves. And one branch took three months.
“It definitely has had its challenges,” said Mauran. “We learned how to creatively deal with problems that came up. The whole design is from scratch.”
“From Bob’s head,” added Seavey. “You learn a lot.”
The 9-foot tall tree will finally rest at the Rhode Island coffee house called Thrive and will be placed next weekend by most of the class and Berry. The coffee house and the tree take their inspiration from a Casting Crowns song “Thrive”.
The total cost of the tree was approximately $1,500 in materials and tools. Berry thinks that Thrive will donate to the school once the project is completed to cover the cost and more.