Plant a Tree

I feel the irony in the timing of this post, coinciding with much higher than normal press on the awareness of our planet.  To put the icing on the cake, the photos below were taken on Arbor Day.  

Richard Nixon assigned the last Friday of every April as our Nations official Arbor Day in 1970.  It is an American tradition to plant a tree on Arbor Day.   It’s said the best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago, the next best time is now.

I’m not a tree murderer, but I’m certainly not a tree hugger either.  I see what I and many others do in building high quality products from locally sourced wood as a very responsible outcome and honorable use of this finite material.  It’s a second life for the tree when you create something beautiful from it and build it to last at least long enough for the next generation.  Or as Uncle Eddie would say about the Jelly of the month club “It’s the gift that keeps on giving Clarke.”

In a self serving, oh look at me kind of way, I would like to point out that all of my furniture pieces to date have been built with solid wood from trees I cut myself that were dead standing or dying, storm damaged, or taken down to expand the infrastructure that makes our lives more convenient.

These trees were cut by a logging company under the supervision of the GA Dept. Of Forestry from a 20 acre property only about 1 mile away from my house.   I stopped in on the operation on Monday and I learned the 100+ year old home and land covered by 100 year old trees is owned by 3 elderly sisters who need money and decided to cut and sell the more mature trees.  It’s unfortunate that most of the trees will end up going to paper mills and no I’m not kidding.    

I had to rescue what I could afford and have space to store and dry the material.  The logging company agreed to sell me 5 log sections, 9 feet long each which turned out to be very nice.  It’s not that I cut my own lumber to prove a point or because it’s just so super cool. It’s because this is what I have already made an investment in and it works well.  The biggest downside is that it’s a lot of work so I am feeling it today for sure. But I am really excited to have come across such beautiful material.

In fact if anyone is interested in joining me for some back breaking labor… I mean a really cool experience by all means let me know.  Maybe we could work out deal for my services once the material is ready, in trade for your assistance?  

This tree is just over 100 years old and just over two feet in diameter at the biggest end.  

These are 80 years old or so, really straight and no limbs.

    

This is the setup for the initial cut.  Who doesn’t love a big chainsaw.  It’s a Granberg chainsaw mill and a Stihl MS 880 saw.  The initial cut is made with the aluminum frame riding on top of the 2X12 as a guide.  I just set the cut for center of the log making sure that I cut parallel with the center all the way through.

This oak has really nice color and grain.

Here is a 2-1/2″ thick slab.  I would say it weighs around 175 pounds with all the water in the wood.  This piece of wood will take about 3 years to fully dry and be suitable for building furniture😥.

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