Monday, May 2, 2011

    The walnut tree

    Way back in 2009 when this house was a mere twinkle in our architects' eyes, this lot had a lot of unkempt greenery on it. At the time, I mentioned that up to one-third of the narrow lot's width was consumed by cedar, Chinese elm, and Russian olive trees. In the process of cutting them down, we also felled the trunk of a walnut tree that had been dead for many years before. Since then, the walnut trunk has lived in the back of our property while we tried to figure out what to do with it. A few calls around town led us to Nick Barlow, who enjoys cutting up trees and has the mobile gear to do it.

    This trunk was about 14 feet long and around 18 inches in diameter. We didn't really know the true condition of the wood and were worried that it might have some damage from insects or just general wear and tear that could make it unusable. 

    Nick lopped off the top end where the trunk started to split in order to get a good look at the quality of the interior wood...which was gorgeous.

    He then split that upper part into several chunks, one of which might eventually serve as some sort of stool or footrest for visitors at our front door who need a place to sit while they remove or put on their shoes. Tai's dad took another chunk (I hear there are plans to turn it for a bowl), and we have a few plans for the other chunks.

    Nick needed to take a slice off the top of the log before creating true planks. 

    The wood was already really, really dry -- his best guess was that the tree had been dead for at least 15 years. This is good news for us because it cuts down the curing or drying time before we can use it.

    Nick chewed through three chains in the process (because the wood was so dry). 

    We already have plans for a dining room table, but while we put the finishing touches on those designs, we'll let the wood dry for a bit more.


    jesse said...

    I love your blog and your house. Please keep up the good work. I love seeing new posts pop up in google reader.

    Seth said...