Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trees - Part I

Amity has been asking me for a while to show her how to make trees.  I suggested that we could make a tree each but she felt it would be better to watch how I did it first rather than do it in tandem.  So last night I made a start and she took photos of the process.  It isn't a particularly original process but maybe of use to some to see it in pictures, rather than merely a description.

The first thing you need to do is gather the materials...  the flavour of the chocolate is up to the builder!  The source of the copper wire is an old multi core mains flex which I acquired sometime in the 1990s.

Cut off enough wire of a suitable length to place around a nail - in this case I used three bunches to surround a 2mm nail.

I found I needed plenty of flux - fortunately I use a flux paste so it doesn't run everywhere.  I suspect with cleaner wire, less flux would be necessary but there was a lot of oxidisation as the wire had been exposed for over 10 years to the elements.

Remember that copper conducts heat very well...  I have a temperature controlled iron which I had set on 370C as this tends to work the best for me.  I probably could have gone higher at the base of the tree as the amount of copper was acting as a bit of a heat sink and the nail definitely was.

Once you have the nail in, place the tree in a block of wood with a suitable sized hole drilled in it. From here you can start forming the tree.  The 3 bunches are quite easy to see here.

Once you have got the main trunk to a suitable height (in this case 15-18 scale feet in 2mm scale) you can start forming the branches.  As you will see in Part II (hopefully Monday - work is going to get in the road this weekend) I will add some lower branches later.

The main branches are formed by dividing the bunches.  As I had three, it was easiest to have three main branches of the tree.

The main branches get divided down.  Depending on the location of the tree these sub-branches may be lop-sided.  As this one will probably be a stand alone tree, the growth is fairly even but a little bit more on the southern side (where it is nominally the sunniest - but this is England after all so sunny is arbitrary!)

So the end of a couple of hours (with distractions) sees the tree with three main limbs and 9 sub-limbs.  From here it is a case of divide and spread out - which will happen in Part II.

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