Saturday, December 31, 2016

Where do you get your wood?

Clowning Around   
I'm often asked, "Where do you get your wood?" 
Catalpa giant 12' log
Well,,,  Where does one get anything worth having?  You either work hard to get it or you pay someone else to do the work.  In my case I'm nearly always the brain and the brawn of the project. 

Moving Cedar Logs
Some times I find logs and some times logs find me.  Either way, they never deliver themselves and never fall out of the sky ready to carve.  Work, work, work.  It's a simple equation...

I prefer for the logs to find me.  This happens when a land owner is faced with removing their beloved shade tree and can't bear to see it all go to firewood or to the dump.  They some times phone me to tell me the story of their tree and explain they'd rather see it be used for art and not just firewood.

Austrian Pine on sawmill
One other source is the 'one man' tree removal company.  It might be late in the day and they still have this huge log to get rid of when they'd prefer to be at home with the family.  When it occurs to them, "that guy has a tractor and a trailer", I've got wood :)  As simple as that if you have the tools to move logs.

Spruce Logs on trailer

Bartering is an option but with so many free logs to be had, I only barter for very special logs or for logs that are delivered to me.  Still, I've made a deal or two through the years.

Unfortunately, many people wanting to barter or sell their logs have a hugely inflated idea about the value of their log.  Their co-worker may have told them it's work thousands of dollars.  I say, let their coworker buy it.  LOL
Forked Sycamore Log

Sycamore Logs

The Saw Mill

Black Walnut / Live  Edge
When I was a young teenager, my Pop harvested some black oak logs for a barn we were building.  We hauled those logs to the local sawmill to be cut into 2x12s for the barn loft floor.  I'd never seen a sawmill before and I was amazed by this incredible machine!

This old school mill had a huge circular blade that moved through the logs as easily as a knife through cake.  The carriage rotated the logs as the operator pulled and pushed on various levers.  Today I'd say it was a Steam Punk machine :)

Most intriguing to me was seeing the operator riding the carriage.  Wow!  That's who I wanted to be when I grew up.  What a cool job the sawyer has!
Elm / Book Matche

I never did get to be "that guy" who rides the sawmill carriage.  But I did get to operate a sawmill or two.  In fact, I now own the legendary (and terrifying) Alaskan Sawmill as well as an awesome Woodmizer LT-15 band sawmill.

  Milling is more of a necessity than a business for me.  I need heavy slabs for the benches and murals I sometimes carve.  High quality slabs are so expensive that it's simply cheaper, and easier, to own a mill and make my own.
Blued Pine / Book Matched

"Easier" means I don't have to make phone calls, drive to various suppliers, and plan ahead to source the materials.  I just have to mill logs as they present themselves and store the slabs until I find a use for them.  It's actually hard work but much more satisfying than trying to find what someone else might have on hand...

There's a learning curve and milling has it's own vocabulary too. It's all worth the effort and I believe that for some young  man, I have become "that guy". ;)
Fireplace Mantle from customers log


Austrian Pine

Sycamore / Quarter Sawn
Sycamore  on the Woodmizer

2016 is done.

Giant Bear
The 2016 carving year is ending in a few hours and many carvings lay in it's wake. I hope to carve many more figures during 2017.

Greeting Bear

American Bison

Cowboy Boot

The past 12 months have seen a lot hardwood logs come onto the property.  Usually with great effort and the help of tractor, winch, chains, cables and a badly abused trailer.  It takes a lot to move large logs!  Even more effort is required for the much more heavy hardwood.

Betsy Ross Flag

Native Bust

Praying Soldie

All that effort turns to excitement when blocks of wood are hitting the ground and a new figure slowly takes shape. :)  But these new shapes need to be marketed and eventually sold to make room for the next creations.

You can make an appointment to visit and see my artwork in Kennewick, WA by phoning (509) 430-3111 to leave a message.

Or visit online to see photos of currently For Sale carvings, as well as a photo archive, are available at: 

Trump Stumps