The Christmas Tree is an iconic symbol of the season. Many will set up their PERFECT tree after Thanksgiving and will enjoy it through the end of the year…or maybe even until Valentine’s Day like one of our own did last year (we know your secrets, Kadence!). At Earthwise, we, too, have been enjoying the splendor of a giant 10’ Christmas tree in classic Earthwise-style. It all began when the store manager, Lacy, was drooling over a catalog and saw a reclaimed, slatted wood Christmas tree. She thought to herself, “EW could make one of those…probably cooler!” So, she cut out the image and brought it into work and left it on a desk for all to see. The idea went over very well and construction was soon underway the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
First things first, Matt had to calculate how many cedar T&G slats would be needed for the 10’ tree (anything less would be too small for the warehouse in Seattle with its 20′ ceiling). He did this by taking the 10’ tree minus 2’ (1’ for the base and 1’ for the star) and dividing the leftover by the thickness of the t &g. We needed 160 slats. Then we figured the 160 slats needed to gradually go from biggest at the base (3’ long) to the smallest at the top (4”). Then he cut them smaller and smaller until we had enough to build the tree.
Next we drilled out a 1 inch hole in each “branch” for the steel pipe “trunk” to fit through. We decided on a 1 inch galvanized steel pipe because all the weight of the tree needed to be supported by something strong. Nobody wants to be crushed by a 10’ tall salvaged Christmas tree!
At this point all is going well. The tree was going to be up by the end of the weekend and life would be good…or so we thought. As we quickly learned, when measuring pipe it’s an inside diameter NOT the outside diameter, meaning the 1” pipe bought for the tree was actually a 1.25” pipe and our holes in our branches are now too small to fit on the trunk for the tree. We tried drilling the hole in the branches larger but it broke the branches or left many of them chewed up. So, we were stuck and frustrated.
At Earthwise, we often lend sympathetic ears for customers when their projects go awry so it was a fun switch when our customers jumped in and helped. When a customer told us we would have to use a file and grind the holes larger by hand we wanted to cry. But before we knew it a few customers jumped in and did a few and the staff all did several and by the end of the next weekend the holes were finally large enough. A whole #YEW community project – if you contributed that day – the crew wants to say thanks!! We slid them onto the trunk and it was finished…except for standing it up. Once again the weekend crew was stumped, but not to fear! We quickly figured out how to stabilize the base and keep the tree up with the help of a pallet jack. The addition of a salvaged bedspring star made it complete! We decorated it and finished the front display and we were ready for the Holidays!
But why stop there? Once the front display was finished, the door display above the counter looked bare! Nothing some green spray paint, a few 2x4s and 1x4s, festively colored cabinet hardware couldn’t fix: we made wreaths for the doors (see photo below)! And, since we have new staff members in the Seattle store who wanted to play with the Holiday Tree and Snowman DIY Kits we have a forest of festivities around the store! We have enjoyed the decorating, no matter how challenging. And, getting to see all of our customers enjoy the store at the holidays has made all of our hard work pay off.
Thank you for celebrating with Earthwise and hope all of you have very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
This post was written by Lacy Kabrich, Seattle EWSalvage Store Manager.