Here is the finished tree sculpture for the School House District in Woodenville, WA. It stands 15 foot tall and is made of fiberglass. See details below on how we made this awesome tree!
We worked very close with our client on coming up with a unique design for this tree. We sculpted a scaled model of the tree for approval. If you look closely, you can see a “W” for Woodenville in the upper section of the tree.
We fabricated 12 sections for this canopy from a mold. A pattern was created from a CAD drawing and created out of a large foam block to the shape of the curve. The Canopy is 1 1/2″ thick with a foam core. This entire project had to be designed to come apart and delivered. So we fiberglassed 6 sections together to form one large half sphere. Then the two half spheres were bolted together. This project was a little too big to be fiberglassing in our shop so we had to do most of the work outside. We are now in the process of building our new studios which will be 4,000 sq ft.
Here is a picture of all 12 sections put together to form a 15 foot diameter canopy for the tree top. It was a lot of work to fiberglass and sand all these sections together. Not only did we have to fiberglass and sand the outside but we had to do the inside as well. This canopy also has a metal frame inside it that spans out in four directions to help support the structure. We designed it so that if someone climbed the tree it would support them, however no one is supposed to climb this. But as you know, people will be people.
Here is a shot of the interior metal armature for the main support of the tree. This metal was then treated with a rust protective paint and foam was sculpted around it to form the trunk.
Here we test fitted the canopy on top of the steel structure. All of this had to be designed to come apart.
The metal base was covered in foam, but the bottom had to be designed so the base of the tree could be bolted to the concrete. The base of the trunk would have to be fiberglassed together on site after bolted down.
This is the begining of an apple that hangs in the middle of the tree canopy. To ensure the canopy held its shape a criss cross armature made of metal and fiberglass spanned the center of the canopy which we hung the apple from.
Here is the base fiberglassed and ready for primer. Notice the bottom of the trunk, these sections were removable to be able to access the metal base to bolt it down to the concrete.,
We did about 12 paint sample for approval. Everyone settle on this rustic metal look.
Here we are on site. We originally thought we were going to have a forklift to help us lift the canopy up on the base. A week before installation we were told no forklift was available or could be driven on the concrete. So we came up with Plan B, Skywater Studios always has a Plan B. We rented two hand crank lifts. We were biting our nails as we slowly raised the canopy up over 8 feet to set it on top of the base. Everything worked perfectly!
After a few months we wanted to see how the tree was holding up in the snow. It looks great! This project took a bit more work than we thought but the results came out great!