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This weekend I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with my friends/neighbors, K and W. They had family visiting and had planned to build bent willow settees together. I had always wanted to learn to work with willow and jumped at the chance to join them. We were all lucky that K had done this before and was going to lead everyone (with W’s help) through the process. Here is W (“foreman”), ready with the instructions…

Below is a chair that K had previously made. It was similar to the settee we were making so we had it on display for inspiration and a closer look at the way some of the pieces fit together.

On Friday, K and W went into the bush and cut the willow. They ended up making another trip on Saturday and a quick trip today (Sunday) to get a few more branches. Here are some of the branches ready to go:

A table full of tools: drills, hammers, bits, screws, nails, pruning shears, knives, saw…

We worked as a team to get the wood ready. Some trimmed branches, others chopped the wood into lengths…
B and I trimmed the ends…

When everything was cut and ready, each of us picked a spot and began to build the main structure. We teamed up in pairs. K and W led the way and we mirrored everything they did.

Slowly, the settees began to take shape…
l had to leave at this stage (Saturday). This afternoon (Sunday), I returned to finished my project. (Mine is the middle one.)

With help, we inserted the branches through the upper bracket and fastened them to the front support to form the seat.

Then we trimmed the upper branches and twisted the smaller branches around the larger pieces. Here is my ‘finished’ settee. The duct tape will stay on until the wood has dried and ‘cured’. At that time I will also do a final trimming of any loose branches and remove the dead leaves. I will also look for some fabric to sew a custom cushion for the seat.
It was a fantastic weekend! Not only did I learn a new skill, I got to spend time with good friends, meet new friends, laugh ’til my belly ached, was introduced to Miller’s lemon beer (YUM! perfect on our hot, sunny Saturday) and went home with a beautiful piece of furniture that I made myself. Cheers!