Whether as a room divider or a coat rack, tree branches can easily steal the show as furniture. Birch tree logs in particularly are popular because of their smooth, slender shape and the distinguished look of the white bark. They can bring a serene and natural, Scandinavian flair to the home.
“Young birch trees often grow very straight, so you can easily build decorative shelves, sideboards or even stools from them, ” explains DIY specialist Gereon Bruendt.
However, as each log will be unique in length and width, it can be tricky to achieve the accuracy needed to build furniture with. Every other material in your DIY project must be adapted to the branch dimensions. One advantage is that birch wood is relatively soft.
“This makes it easy to drill with any type of wood drill – both across and along the grain, ” says Bruendt.
Just be careful when drilling into the ends of the log, especially with a large-diameter drill bit, as the logs are difficult to keep still and can rotate.
A birch coat rack
A popular project for DIY enthusiasts are coat racks made with vertical standing birch logs. Since the logs are available in lengths of at least three meters, they can be used to build impressive ceiling-high structures.
To build the coat rack, all you will need is a single (but still thick) birch log. In order for this to stand stably between the floor and ceiling, it can be braced at the bottom end using a metal plate with a centre rod driven into the wood, says DIY teacher Sylvia Adamec.
An alternative: “You fasten the log to two boards with round dowels, ” explains Bruendt. To do this, the upper board is screwed to the ceiling, and the lower one is fixed to the floor with double-sided tape. If you need it to be precisely straight, the log can be aligned with a plumb bob tool for measuring.
In both cases, the ends are pre-drilled.
“If the mounted birch trunk is still wobbling, it can be screwed to the wall using one or more cross braces, ” says Adamec. To hang all your coats, scarves and bags, screw in a few hooks and your coat rack is done.
A birch log room divider?
If there is a lot of space in the hallway, a wardrobe made of two upright logs is possible, between which a metal rod serves as a clothes rail.
“The easiest way to anchor these is with wooden dowels on both sides, ” explains Adamec.
There are many additional options: a screwed board serves as a hat or shoe shelf, or even a self-made bench. Birch trunks made into a room divider are also an eye-catcher piece. Several trunks are lined up at ceiling height or somewhat shortened with small gaps between them. Again, a board on the floor and ceiling can help keep the logs securely in place via round rods.
The birch branches and logs generally do not require further wood treatment. Still, over time, the white, papery bark may become brittle.
“It will fall apart less if it is painted with a clear varnish, ” recommends Adamec.
But if all these options are too much of a DIY project for you, a “floating” clothing rail is another option. This needs only a somewhat thinner branch or log, which floats horizontally in the air on strong ropes bolted to the ceiling. It can be used as an open clothes rail or even for hanging photos or light decorations. – dpa