Fir trees using pine limbs

by Stephen Hatch
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Click picture for larger view
Real trees on a slope, usually have a gentle curve to them.
Don't be afraid to use limbs with a gentle bow in them (curve)
That bow makes the trees look a bit more real. Gives a nice feel to the tree.
I leave some of the bark on the lower portion of the trunk.
It seems to add character to the whole tree that way.
The curve in fir trees is almost always away from the slope, then curving back toward the hill.
Real trees Have a very pronounced bark texture but in the miniature of our models,
a smoother look comes closer to matching what "looks right"
This tree in my yard has a gracfull curve over it's entire length.
Also notice there are very few branches toward the bottom of the trunk.
this is handy since I don't want to taper the bottom 1/4th of the trunk anyway.
Find limbs that are reasonably straight for 6inches to two feet.
These make nice sized trees that give a selection of sizes.
I use pine and fir branches that I find in the woods in front of my house.
Don't worry about knots....just trim all the side shoots off.
I taper the ends with a little hobby plane I've had for years. This little plane works
better than larger ones. Easier to handle.
The work is easy and really only takes about 5 minutes to completely form the trunk.
be sure you roll the trunk in your fingers between strokes and get all sides.
Now drill a series of holes all the way through the trunk.
use a drill big enough to insert the frond stems.
I drill a hole or two about every 1/4 to 1/2 inch down the trunk
twisting the trunk as I go so that the holes are a bit ofset from each other.
Finally I use shoe dye (black and brown) to color the wood where it has been planed.
I vary back and forth from one to the other and get different shades of
red and brown and gray etc....this helps the over/all effect of the forrest.

Now stick the fronds (you bought from Bragdon) in the holes and you have
a very respectable tree........even looks good up close.

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