Landscape Students Find New Life for Fallen Trees

August 14, 2019

Recently, Boys Republic’s Landscape class embarked on a new project. The idea grew when Landscape instructor Derek Scott sat on a tree that fell on Boys Republic’s property. “You know what?,” he thought. “This would make a nice bench.”

So Mr. Scott brought his students to a fenced area on campus known as the “bone yard” where tree branches and fragments of fallen trees are taken. Here, students began foraging for pieces of trees and broken branches to transform into sitting stumps and natural log benches.

A Landscape student coats his natural bench with a mixture of oils to preserve the wood.

Having salvaged the tree fragments, Landscape students started the process of crafting original pieces of furniture. Under Mr. Scott’s careful guidance, students cut, level, and chainsaw pieces of pine and eucalyptus to their preferred dimensions. The teenagers then remove the chainsaw marks with a grinder and shape the benches and sitting stumps.  Next, students sand the furniture to remove the grind marks and accentuate the natural wood marks.

The benches are then sent to the campus metal shop, where students enrolled in the class get an opportunity to participate in the project. Metal shop students craft iron stands and attach the metal legs to the benches. Once the metal shop students have welded and attached the legs, teens enrolled in Landscape add the finishing touches to the unique furniture.

Each bench is branded with the Boys Republic logo, but students have the creative license with how they design each bench. The benches are finished with a coat of boiled linseed, teak or Danish oil mixture.

A student uses a branding iron to mark his bench with the Boys Republic logo.

Landscape students can either keep their creations for themselves, give them as gifts to their families, or sell them to members of the community. Dining room tables are the most recent hand-crafted addition students are selling. The natural benches and tables cost between $250 and $350, with proceeds of the sales going towards funding for the Landscape program.

Mr. Scott explains that through the project the “boys discover that they can make more of something that looks damaged, discarded or dead than just burning it. With some effort and vision, what originally looked useless or unwanted is transformed into something of greater value than what it once was.”