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In Search of Wood - Landing the Big One!

As a woodworker who focuses on live-edge wood, I'm always on the search for more raw material.  Sometimes I just can't say no.

Two years ago my neighbour called to say he was taking down a walnut and asked if I was interested in the wood. Of course I said yes.  The next day three large logs showed up on my driveway.  I arranged for a sawmill to come in to slab the wood and it's drying in my shop container.  It should be ready to use next summer.

You might have thought that I learned my lesson.  But no ...

Last winter, a good friend with a farm near Guelph asked if I was interested in the wood from an ash tree he had to cut down.  Of course I said yes.  This summer, we cut down the large ash, along with four fairly large black cherries.  We got quite a pile of logs out of that.

This cherry gave us some real grief!  As it fell over it hung up on a big maple next to it and refused to fall. That's a 60 foot tree standing on 2 inches of sapwood.  We used a tractor, lots of chain a few more cuts to eventually get it down.

I then arranged for Paul from Canadian Woodworks (https://www.canadianwoodworks.com/) to come with his Logosol 1000 portable mill and we spent a whole day slabbing the logs into 6/4 and 8/4 slabs.

Here is Paul and his videographer Andy.  You can see a video of our day on Paul's YouTube page at https://youtu.be/geILHa4u2S4.

The 6/4 slabs are the narrower logs and are destined for charcuterie boards. They are called 6/4 because they are cut to 1 5/8 inches to allow for drying shrinkage to 1 1/2 inches.  By the time I dry and flatten them, they should be about 1 1/4 inches thick.

Here is just a portion of the charcuterie stock we cut.  I have another three boules drying in a container. Some of the logs were over ten feet long.  A boule is when you stack boards in the same order as they were in the tree.

We also have two large (4 feet wide by 5 feet high) stacks of 7 to 10 foot long slabs cut to 8/4.  8/4 slabs are cut to 2 1/8 inches and will dry to 2 inches.


My two grown sons came for a visit and helped me move the wood from Guelph to NOTL, but they drew the line at sorting the big slabs into boules. I don't blame them - some of the slabs weigh 300 lbs each.

The stacks are now covered with open-ended tarps for the winter.  As I work through my walnut stock cut last year this wood will migrate to my storage container.

This wood will have to air dry for one year per inch of thickness.  I can speed this up with a kiln, but most of this wood won't fit into my mini-kiln.  I'm tempted to build a bigger one or maybe just get a commercial kiln to dry it.  Unfortunately, that means hauling it to the kiln and back.  Moving it once was more than enough!

So now I have enough wood to last me the rest of my life.  I might also sell a few raw slabs to fellow woodworkers.

Keep checking for updates.