Thursday, July 24, 2014

petrified plans

In my last post I wrote about finding a good sized cache of petrified wood by the front porch, and having the happy dilemma of what to do with it... and with the rest of the petrified wood we've found here over the years.

I wanted to somehow display the petrified wood, but not necessarily in the house.... but not on the ground either (around a flower bed for example), because then it would just end up being covered with leaves and dirt and eventually buried again.

I was thinking about how Mr G displays his petrified wood along a stone ledge in his backyard... and I liked that idea but don't have the right kind of ledge.


 

It was about that time, as I was thinking about what natural "ledge" I might be able to use to display the petrified wood outside, that I noticed our cattle panel "collection" leaning up against the pasture fence. I'd pulled all my odd sized bits of cattle panel out from behind the barn because we had been planning on incorporating them into the pumpkin patch fence... but then we changed the fence design and no longer needed them. So they were just sitting out, in the way, waiting for me to put them away again.

One long piece caught my eye and got me thinking that I could make a "ledge", or shelving, from it and some fence pickets and display the petrified wood that way.



I started by trimming the sharp points, and cutting each short side of the panel to create "stakes" to anchor the cattle panel into the ground. (We always have to factor in for wind here... the wind is fierce and if something is outside it has to be well anchored or it's likely to end up in the neighbor's pasture!) Then Joe helped me bend the cattle panel into a "U" shape by using a fence post to hold the center and bending each end towards the middle.

It didn't turn out perfectly... but close enough to hold shelves.

Then I painted the cattle panel black (because it still looked like a cattle panel to me, and I was hoping to fancy it up a little...) and pushed it's "stakes" into the ground out back, in a mulched area up by the house. (The only piece of cattle panel I had, long enough for this project, had one small bent section, you can see it on the left... which I just worked around. Cattle panel is extremely rigid... which is why I can use it to hold rock, but it also makes it very hard to bend it back straight once it's been bent like that...)



I also bought a few cedar pickets at Home Depot.... they would be my shelves.

I bought some wider pickets (5 1/2") and one narrower one (3 1/2") to fit the spacing of the cattle panel openings, and cut just the dogeared top off two of the wide pickets and the narrow one... those became my bottom shelf.



I cut two of the wide pickets about 8" shorter for my middle shelf...

... and the last wide picket I cut 8" shorter than that for the top shelf, so when it was done it would be kind of an "A" shape. (This description sounds convoluted and confusing... the picture below should help.)

I thought it might be easier to see the petrified wood if the shelves were graduated... going from deeper on the bottom (3 pickets = 14 1/2") to just one 5 1/2" shelf on the top. Once the shelves were in place, I adjusted the cattle panel framework until they were level, and made sure they were evenly spaced from side to side. I didn't attach them to the cattle panel frame, but I might later if they start to shift...



Then I loaded it up with petrified wood.

Once I got all the wood on the shelves I realized I probably have too much petrified wood for graduated shelves so, as soon as I buy more pickets, I'm going to add a few pickets on the top and in the middle to make the shelves all 14 1/2" wide.

(In this photo it looks like the shelves stick on more on the left, but they are centered, it's just this photo angle that makes them look off...)




I do love how it turned out... The petrified wood is displayed where it can be seen and enjoyed... and is no longer sitting in little piles here and there around the house and yard. I can see us adding pieces to our little collection as we find them...







And it's lovely to have something pretty in the yard that doesn't need watering or weeding!

The total cost for my little project has been about $10. so far (the wider pickets were 1.88 the thinner one was 1.28), and I'll probably spend another $5. or so on pickets when I make the top shelves deeper. The cattle panel was already here, of course, and using it got it out of the "leftover fencing" pile and got some use out of it... which is always good!



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