We salvaged a standing dead Oklahoma walnut tree back in 2014. The log was milled in 2015 and have been drying ever since. We are happy to say these slabs are properly dried and ready for use. This has been a somewhat challenging effort as we’ve gone to great lengths in order to properly stabilize these slabs. Let it be known, in order to have a proper mechanical fixation using bowties that it is critical the bowtie thickness is at least 50% of the surface thickness. So a 3″ thick table top, requires at least a 1.5″ thick bowtie. Many woodworkers don’t realize this and are providing false sense of security to their clients by making rather shallow bowties that are nothing more than decorative inlays. Tip of the day!!
The greatest challenge is two-fold with this project. This particular urban log had an unusual amount of embedded nails and fencing fasteners that were hammered onto the outside of the tree anywhere from 20-40 years ago depending on the location within the log. A nightmare for your sawmill blades and a potential major injury hazard (snapping blades). Second, during our CNC planing, we ran into more embedded metal. Gotta be careful here, too!
What’s a good visual sign outside of using a metal detector? If you look closely at Image 1 below, you will see blackened areas which are created from the iron in the metal. A obvious sign that metal is somewhere embedded within the wood! The metal only adds to the amazing story of this log and our efforts to turn it into a true artform to be enjoying for generations. However, it can create a working hazard so it requires extra attention.