Drowning in Sea of Walnut

Missouri and back

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go back to my hometown of Centralia, Missouri and mill a Walnut tree believed to be over 100 years old. The tree uprooted and fell during a tornadic-like storm back in July, damaging a family-friend’s home. Knowing what the wood was worth, the beauty it held, and that I've started urban logging, I was asked if I wanted to save the tree. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity! 

Due to the sheer size of the tree, the trunk had to be cut into two sections for easy handling: Log #1 @ 9ft long x 32-42in wide & Log #2 @ 8ft long x 30-33in wide. Even the larger branches averaged at 4-5ft long x 14-36in wide. THIS TREE WAS HUGE!!

Milling this Walnut tree was more labor intensive than I anticipated; mostly due to the size of the logs themselves, as this is the largest tree I have milled to date. It took 5 solid days of exhausting work to get 48 usable Walnut slabs. And I would do it all over again!

To say this tree and the slabs I cut are beautiful is a severe understatement. Walnut as figured and pronounced as this doesn’t really exist in today’s lumber market. I cannot wait to see these slabs come to life down the road through a piece of furniture!

After milling the Walnut tree, I took a short 2 hour drive to Dow, Illinois to meet one of my woodworking heroes, David Stine. Dave has been handcrafting furniture since 1995 using lumber he sustainably harvests on a 500 acre farm, that has been in his family for 4 generations (#livingthedream). This guy is the man!

Dave let me hang out for a while and I was lucky enough to catch him at work, milling his own Walnut log! We exchanged ideas and techniques, talked about woodworking and business, and he showed me around the farm. I even brought gifts as a “Thank You” for letting me hang out… and I think he appreciated the gesture!

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Posted on November 10, 2016 .