A dry hardwood branch, a scrap board and a bit of coarse rope are all you’ll need to make this centerpiece that brings the outdoors in.
Start by cutting three sections of a 2″ to 3″-dia. branch to rough length; we made ours 3″, 5″ and 7″ long.
Select a Forstner bit slightly larger than the candles’ diameter. Tea candles, used here, are typically 1-1⁄2″ in diameter, so we chose a 1-5⁄8″-dia. Forstner bit.
Bore a 2″-deep, centered hole into the end of each branch at the drill press with it securely held in place. We clamped our branch sections in a heavy vise clamped to the drill press table and lined its metal jaws with scrap wood.
Set the drill press speed appropriately and use moderate feed pressure when drilling, clearing the accumulating chips frequently by raising the chuck.
Now secure each branch horizontally in a wood screw clamp so you can safely angle-cut its top end at the band saw. The degree of the angle is up to you, but leave the holes deep enough at the bottom to hide the metal candle holders.
Set the branches together attractively and fix them into a group with dabs of hot-melt glue. Apply the glue sparingly and in spots where it will be hidden.
Next, prepare a centerpiece base from a piece of attractive scrap wood. Set the candle holder cluster onto it, and draw a layout line all around the branches about 1″ larger than their perimeter. Cut out the base. Center the candleholders on it, and drive a long countersunk screw up through each to secure it.
Wrap the centerpiece with a few loops of coarse rope to add a dash of texture to the project. We adhered the rope to itself and to the candleholders with thick CA glue. Apply finish to the base, then drop a candle into each hole to enjoy this bit of rustic ambiance!