Posts tagged #lumber

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 .

Summer Of Slab-sty-Nine

Adventures in Slabbing...

The urban logging adventure continues and has become quite exciting! My patio storage space is almost filled to the brink and it's a sight to see. Friends and clients alike are participating in the hunt, emailing or texting when they see downed trees in their areas. I think some are even beginning to share my thrill of the hunt itself, in hopes of finding a tree that can be saved. 

I recently salvaged a very large Pecan tree from East Texas that had to be cut down as it was encroaching on the original owner's home. Due to overall size, the tree had to be cut into two sections: one at 10.5ft long by 25-32" in diameter and the other at 5ft long by 32-43" in diameter. With a bit of ingenuity, or mostly luck, my buddy and I loaded the 1000+ pound logs onto a trailer and hauled them back to my shop. Upon arrival, I had reinforcements waiting to help unload these beasts.

Using our same ingenuity, a lot of man power, and one sturdy old Ford, we unloaded both logs into the yard for milling. The process was a sight to see! Even the neighbors stopped to watch and get a little afternoon entertainment.

New Designs

                                             Walnut and Red Oak cantilevered coffee table

           Book-matched, live edge Walnut top with Walnut case and sculpted White Oak legs. 

          Book-matched, live edge Walnut top with Walnut case and sculpted White Oak legs. 

Humble beginnings

The Gudde Co story begins nearly 50 years ago, from necessity—as almost all good stories do. It began when the Gudde family needed a desk.

My grandfather, Floyd Sr had an unstoppable work ethic, a plan, and a handy helper in his nine-year-old-son (my father). He bartered for the finest solid wood, spending long evenings cleaning a cabinet shop in a cloud of sawdust. It took longer to assemble than the flat-packed, faux-wood desks you see today and it was hard work. But the desk came together.

Growing up I loved this desk for different reasons than I do today. I cared far more about the contents stored within those drawers, than the hard work invested or the craftsmanship itself. This was the place I tracked my childhood hero, Mark McGwire, on his quest to break the all-time home run record. Back then, it was just a desk.

That same desk is still standing today, after 50 years of daily use by three generations of Gudde's. The desk my grandfather and young father built together. It is stronger and more beautiful than ever!

Gudde Co exists because of this desk. It's why I build handmade furniture. It’s why I work tirelessly to source only the best wood. It’s why your Gudde Co furniture will serve your family faithfully as it grows, as this desk has served mine.

It seems I also built a chair, by pure happenstance, that matches the desk beautifully.

Posted on November 10, 2016 .

Urban Logging - a new adventure

Urban Logging - a new adventure!

It's long been a dream of mine to start urban logging and about four weeks ago that dream became a reality! For those that don't know, urban logging is the salvage of trees from urban environments due to storm damage, construction, and tree disease or death. Salvaging trees after removal prevents the logs from being thrown away in the landfill or turned into firewood and mulch, allowing me to secure one of a kind pieces for extremely unique furniture.

My start into urban logging began with the opportunity to salvage and mill two trees in the Austin area: a Live Oak tree in North Austin and a Pecan tree on the East side.

Live Oak is considered by many to be the pride and joy of central Texas, due to its unique arching branches that spread outward and rest on the ground! This specific Live Oak tree was cataloged and registered as a Heritage tree of Austin due to it's age and size. The tree had sadly been dead for a few years and needed to be removed from the property. Understanding the beauty and value of this tree the homeowner put an ad on Craigslist in hopes the cut logs would be saved from the landfill or being cut into firewood. I responded to that ad and coordinated with a local sawmill to cut these logs into useable slabs. 

The process was amazing! I was immediately hooked on the urban logging philosophy and wanted an economical way to start milling myself. After researching different milling options I bought an Alaskan sawmill and Stihl chainsaw to have my own portable mill. 

Shortly after getting my sawmill, I was contacted about a dead Pecan tree cut down in East Austin. Pecan is the state tree of Texas and an often sought after wood option for many locals. I was happy to take my new chainsaw and Alaskan sawmill to the tree and start cutting it into slabs. For my first time milling, the process was more physical and time consuming than I expected. But I loved every minute and cannot wait to use the slabs I salvaged!

The philosophy of urban logging is a slow-play, long-term investment that will in time be extremely beneficial not only to myself but to the clients who will give these trees new life in their homes for years to come. I want to do my part to salvage as many trees as I can to prevent them from being thrown away and highlight their beauty in pieces of furniture.

To see more photos and videos my recent milling process, visit this post!

Recently Delivered Pieces

These beautiful pieces were delivered to their new home a few weeks ago and are already being well loved! The desk has a live edge solid Walnut top with a cantilever Walnut base. The entry table has a 2" thick live edge Cherry top with a welded steel frame and Cherry shelf. 

Live Edge Walnut Desk with cantilever base

Live Edge Cherry Entry Table with 2" top and welded steel base

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Posted on November 10, 2016 .