Did you know that folk artists use beaver sticks to make furniture? Beaver sticks are sticks that beavers have chewed on and debarked. A beaver’s teeth are very sharp, and they make quite the natural tool for removing bark. The beaver holds the stick between its paws, and chews the bark away skillfully. These sticks are ready made pieces of wood, already sharpened and stripped of bark by the beaver, and can add both unique aesthetic design to a functional table, or chair back. Most beaver sticks are made by experienced folk art furniture craftsmen, and can be quite durable and strong. If you want to make your own folk art furniture pieces, there are some basic things to remember while out searching for useable beaver sticks.
Most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, do not rip apart a beaver’s dam just to get a few sticks for a piece you are working on. If you watch documentaries about beavers, they work very hard on their dams, and are quite the skilled damn builder.
When looking for beaver sticks, collect miscellaneous sticks found around the beaver area or washed up on shore only. Only take beaver sticks from a beaver dam if you are absolutely sure that no beavers live there. Most people that take sticks from beaver damns don’t like beavers. Even if you don’t like beavers, show some respect for these creatures.
Dress in comfortable clothes, and if possible, wear protective rubber boots. Watch where you step-you don’t want to squash any beavers with your rubbers while searching for big sticks to grab.
Use sticks in both a supportive and functional way, and for aesthetic design. Make sure the support is strong if you use the sticks for the seat base, and never put the pointy end of chewed beaver stick in a design pattern where there are sharp edges. Your piece should always be practical, unless you make a folk art piece that is meant to be displayed, and not used to sit on.
Prepare the sticks by simply washing them in mild soap and warm water. Don’t peel off pieces of bark if you want a shabby chic design look, for this can be an asset to a folk artisan, when the sticks aren’t completely bare. Let the sticks air dry after cleaning, and make sure they are completely dry before applying glue. Set your sticks up on the ground in your work area, so you have them handy. Place old newspaper sections on the floor or table of your work space, Use strong epoxy wood glue, and get creative. Glue the sticks to chair backings, table tops; wherever you want a unique folk art, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted furniture piece.