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  1. Cool! I'll have to give it a try. Clear, in particular, sounds interesting
  2. Mine have done just fine. However, I put two coats of primer and a topcoat on them which should help. Also, although we have received a lot of precip, the temps have been below freezing almost continuously since they went out the weekend before Thanksgiving so the wood hasn't really been wet for any sustained period of time. Since everything is iced in I won't be able to take the trees down until the ground is almost bare so if they're going to warp it will be in the time frame when things are melting and staying wet. Stay tuned!
  3. TysonHphoto: My yard has a slope to it. I adjusted by putting short pieces of wood onder the low sides. Bricks, stones, whatever would work here, snow buries it so nobody sees it. In areas without snow I'd drive a stake in the ground and wire tie the tree to it for leveling. Rocky777: These are heavy enough the staking them down is not necessary. I just put 'em where I want 'em and that's it jsattmann: A couple of the early posts have pictures at night. Look at #16 and #18
  4. In my case, the viewing of my display is done from a fairly confined angle. Thus, I only wrapped my trees from side to side. If I was in a situation where viewing could be done from the sides or back of the display I would go all the way around. As to using coro, it is certainly a lighter alternative to plywood but in my experience, the coro does not do well against UV and breaks down somewhat, cracking and breaking much easier than when new. The top section of the tree half with the groove in the top is a bit fragile and could easily break with brittle coro. (Warpage of this area can be a problem with too-thin plywood as well) I prefer the weight and enduring strength of plywood. Your mileage may vary! BTW...now that I've used these for a season, I have to say they worked very well...we particularly liked color fade effects going from one color of lights to another. White paint was, for us, the right choice
  5. Yeah, they really do. If you view a tri-star, it looks like a star from all directions but maybe a little narrower when off-axis. These trees, being "4 sided" rather than three, do even better at being true 3-D I'd suggest you make a small tree like this, maybe a few inches high out of cardboard then walk around it to see how it'll look out in the yard. For sure, they do better than a flat cutout of a tree!
  6. I just sketched it down one side of a piece of foamcore that was cut to the same triangle shape as the plywood and cut the pattern with a utility knife. Cardboard would work too.
  7. Hey All, Finally got a couple coats of paint on my trees. Sorry for the delay, not enough time in the day lately. There's still plenty of time to make a bunch of these if you like so no loss. They cut out quickly. I tried Dark Green, a lighter green and white paint. My preference is the white. With it, the tree becomes whatever color the lights are that you place on it. Same tree here, wrapped with red and white light strings. This is just one 100 bulb string of each. It takes all of about 5 minutes to assemble a tree and string both sets of lights on it. My kind of decorating. We view our display from about 40 feet away and from that distance, I really like them. I love them when I can set them up and knock them down so quickly. Hope you like!
  8. My tree is maybe a bit different... I used 2" steel tubing for my "mast" and made a fold over for the bottom so I can set the bottom of the tree in a pipe that is installed in the ground and just walk the 24' mast up and put a pin in place to keep it there. I have a pulley at the top and 1/8" steel cable to lift the lights. For lifting, I use one of those ratchet thingies that you see on the side of semi-trailers to tighten the load straps. The type that is attached to the trailer on a steel bar. Technically, they're called "lashing winches" and one can be seen here: http://www.shipperssupplies.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=37&DEPARTMENT_ID=38 I just drilled the mounting plate and used a u-bolt to fasten it to the mast. The cable just wraps on it. This thing really has good lift capability. Very easy to lift a lot of lights! Also, it's meant for outdoor, heavy duty use. Very heavy duty ratchet "teeth"
  9. I looked around for a way to make mini trees that were quick to set up, easy to store and…of course…inexpensive to make. For me, if I could adequately light each tree with just one or two strings of one hundred lights, even better. The easel or tomato cage type of tree, for me, isn’t ideal for a couple reasons. One is that storage is still tough because my stuff gets crammed into my garage attic and I’ve found that I always lose a few lights in storage from stacking. Also, when it’s 5 below zero the day after a 10” snow storm is exactly when the bottom string in a three string wrap on the easel will go out. I’ve also done plywood cut outs and punched holes for the lights. Great look but not 3D. Also, again, when a string goes out it takes some time while freezing to death to fix it. So, this time I am trying the following. I spent the past Sunday making some and I can make 16 in about 4 hours, not including painting. Not bad. Lighting on these is a piece of cake. Just string the lights on like when you decorate any tree. A single string of 100 lights one tree pretty well. Best of all, if a string dies, the bad one can be taken off and a new string can be wrapped on in a minute or two. Very Wisconsin winter friendly! I made these 3 feet high and 2 1/2 across the bottom. At this size, I got three complete trees per sheet of plywood. I used 3/8” exterior sheathing grade plywood. It’s lousy plywood for many projects but for this, it works fine. I’ve made other cutouts with the stuff and it has lasted well. Some for over five years now. The key to longevity is in a really good paint job. The price is right, around here around $11 a sheet or $3.66 per tree. Not bad. After the parts are cut out I use a router and a 1/4” bit to cut little notches to lay the wiring in as the photo shows. They set up in seconds and take down just as quickly. To store, 16 trees is a stack of cut outs just a foot high! I may add spines to the design next year if any warping occurs to the thin top sections, an easy task. I KNOW that this probably isn't anything new. I just didn't find anything like it when I was looking for ideas. I didn't take night pictures. I will if requested. Painted green, they look just like natural little trees when lit. Painted white, they really stand out brightly and either way they look good from all angles. Pictures follow. A quick description of them: 1 The layout on the sheet 2 The individual triangles and the pattern of foam core 3 The slide joint 4 The four hour forest 5 Notches cut for wire stays
  10. Greetings !! My first attempt at a megatree. It will have a tree section that is 14' tall so the strings from tip to bottom will be a bit over 14' 6" I will be using commercial grade strings with 18 ga wire. My question is, is it best to add nylon string or whatever to the light strings or are they OK if they are self-supported in that span? I know that 18 ga is plenty of strength but I wonder about the connections at the bulb holders under weight. How is is commonly done? Thanks! Woof
  11. Just came from Sams Club (outside of Milwaukee, WI ) They have twin packs of commercial grade light strings, 200 bulbs per string on 18 ga wiring, extra large mini type bulbs. $16.50 per twin pack Considering time of year, not a bad price. Woof
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