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Welcome to The Wood Cycle Blog!

Mostly useless thoughts from a guy that loves Wisconsin's hardwoods, working from log to finished product 

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

So a couple years back now I worked on a great tree that came with a great story.  Back in 1960 when the monkey’s escaped from the Madison Zoo, they went to this certain bur oak in the Vilas neighborhood.  We were able to make a table and chairs for the owners of the home, and had a couple slabs to spare for other projects.  Those slabs were 42-45 inches wide and 7’ long.  That’s a good day in the hood. 

So last year when Doug Moe did a column about the monkey tree I got a call from the neighbor who said “I know that tree, and mine is bigger”.  I’ve learned to ignore these claims since only 3 times in 10 years have trees been bigger than the owner thought.  Turns out he was right.    While big, I was leary of its content, since major limbs have been falling over the past 30 years.  The last of these fell last summer.  Short story is this; I’ve spent the last three days on Stihl 880 with a 59” bar.  Not exactly a Mr Rogers tool, but it certainly made for a beautiful day in my neighborhood.  Nine slabs 10’ long with the “skinny” slabs at 38” wide and six of them at 45” to 48” wide on the small end.  Dead solid, only a couple knots, couple checks and a few nails.   Check under the slab tab in a few days and we’ll have them listed as “available soon” (well not real soon, but soon) . 

Ode to the Woody Invasive

When was the last time you heard about a kitchen that was NOT made from cherry, oak, maple or birch? In the past few years we’ve enjoyed straying from the path a bit (kind of a pattern I guess). This story started with a friend that had a number of butternut trees dying on his land. We cut them, dried them and used them for his cabinetry and trim. Then there was the huge hackberry down the road from us that tipped in a storm. When a client asked what we had for local woods, I asked if hackberry from four blocks away was local enough—another obscure yet wonderful result.

Well, a few years back now Monona Parks decided to clear a stand of black locust to re-establish a prairie. We agreed to a log for lumber exchange that left me with another pile of wood with no plan. So after playing with a few small pieces I was intrigued. When a new client rolled in looking for “something a little different”, guess what I suggested? Before we finished that kitchen a second client came along, saw it, and was hooked. So much for the Monona locust. Not much later I was using a mis-sized door to explain a detail to a third client. Ignoring the detail, they asked about the wood. Since I was out of black locust, they agreed to wait several months while we located trees, cut and dried lumber. But they got their black locust kitchen (and yes, including the walnut detail I was trying to point out to them). Our year ends with three black locust kitchens with walnut trimmings.

So a couple days ago while looking at some uprooted logs with a nearby landowner , I saw one small stray - a black locust. I told him I had just completed a kitchen a mile away using black locust. His wife knew my client and he knew he had a couple large groves of the pesky invasive. Within days they had checked out their neighbor’s kitchen and he was “Stihl to stump” (that’s logging lingo for “having fun”).

Looks like we may be on to something.

Big Slabs

Big Slabs took on a new meaning this past year when one of our tree service friends Geretreecare.com contacted us about a huge red elm.  While the trunk was hollow about 6 feet up and 6 feet into the ground, what intrigued me most was the large, uniform saddle between the two primary limbs (17 and 19 inche diameters).  We later used these cross-sections from this "Y" to develop a new table design.  Check out the "saddle table" pictures within the Dining and Conference Tables - Slab Tables - Products and you will see why I am back on the hunt for a different kind of "big slab"

Christmas Time is coming soon.............

Hi all,

We are getting ready for our Holiday Art shows.  Check out New and Events tab for more information!  Get your order in now.