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Woodduckdawg

Making a fake branch

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I'm thinking about making a cache look like a tree branch (cypress) using a soda pre form. Any advice as to the best way to do this?

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I used the following technique with a wide-mouth 1-litre bottle, but the same principle should apply to a smaller container.

 

First, I found a branch that was the same diameter as the bottle, then I cut a slice of the branch. I attached this slice to the bottom of the bottle with Gorilla Tape, fender washers, and wood screws. I tore two long strips of Gorilla Tape, then placed them in an X on top of the slice, with the sticky side up. Then I placed the fender washers on top of the double-thick layer of tape in the middle. Then I screwed the wood screws into the slice, through the fender washers. Once the tape was secured to the slice, I set the bottle on top of the slice, and then stuck the strips of tape to the sides of the bottle.

 

Now that the slice of the branch is secured to the bottom of the bottle, you need to cover the sides of the bottle. Find a source of thin, flexible bark. I used eucalyptus bark because that's what was handy. You need to be able to wrap it around the sides of the bottle. I glued it in place with an indoor-outdoor adhesive caulk, which has held up well for several years now. Don't worry about the edges at this point; just make sure there's bark everywhere, and that all the bark is glued down. While the adhesive was curing, I wrapped the whole thing in paper towels, and then wrapped it tightly with an Ace bandage to apply pressure to get a good bond.

 

Once the adhesive cured, I trimmed the edges of the bark to match the edge of the slice of branch. I also trimmed the edges of the bark at the top of the bottle, so the bark wouldn't get in the way of unscrewing the lid.

 

Here's the final result:

AlmostEdenCache.JPG

 

Here's the final result in its actual hiding spot:

AlmostEdenHidden.JPG

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Also be careful what woods you use. Most of the hardwoods work ok (but are a pain to drill a large enough hole into, but your preform container shouldn't have that problem) while the softwoods often crack over time. We have made a lot of these type of caches over time (from a micro on top of a long pole stuck way up into a tree to an ammo can in a hollowed out stump) and they are fun to find and hide. Best of luck on yours!

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Also be careful what woods you use. Most of the hardwoods work ok (but are a pain to drill a large enough hole into, but your preform container shouldn't have that problem) while the softwoods often crack over time. We have made a lot of these type of caches over time (from a micro on top of a long pole stuck way up into a tree to an ammo can in a hollowed out stump) and they are fun to find and hide. Best of luck on yours!

 

Suggestion: Use Cypress for the wood, and wrap bark from other species on it. Or, bore a seasoned pine knot. Most often, people try to varnish bark and stuff on bison tubes to make it last. That makes it too easy to find. If you have a long-leaf pine nearby, you should have no problem finding a nice dried cone with a large core to drill and put a bison tube insert in that. It will require some maintenance because the inserts typicaly aren't very waterproof, but makes a wicked hide, especially if you can put it back under a tree of the same species. In that case, you'll probably want an identifying mark on it so you can find it yourself again.

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Are you looking for instructions?

 

Find a piece of wood that closely matches your hiding spot

 

If your piece of wood is thick enough, decide if you want to have a lid. If so, cut a slab from the end of the log or cut the log in half. Hand saws are good for this because chainsaws may make an uglier cut which might decrease the natural camo of a piece of wood

 

For a preform, I suggest drilling a hole with a power drill and a spade bit. I'm guessing for a preform you'd need about 3/4 inch spade bit.

 

Once the preform fits in the hole, figure out how you want to attach the lid. Magnets or pegs would be good for this.

 

I've actually made a multi stage that was a stump. I drilled up through the bottom and hid a container in there. Confused a lot of people because it just looked like a stump.

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