Recycling a large claro walnut tree into live edge slabs

One of our partner farms in Dixon, CA called us recently to tell us they had a dead claro walnut tree. I had previously worked with them to recover a different claro walnut tree, which were milled into live edge slabs.

Felling the dead tree

I spend a half day felling the tree, utilizing a traditional felling notch a bore cut back cut placed low on the stump to maximize lumber recovery.

The stump of the log was 4.5 feet in diameter and my chainsaw bar was only 24" long so I had to make a plunge cut through the center of the notch prior to starting my bore back cut -- this removed the holding wood between the ends of my plunge cuts on either side of the center.

Milling the logs

The landowner helped me by loading the logs onto my flatbed truck rental with their forklift. I hauled the logs to my milling site in the Central Valley and unloaded the logs with a forklift.

Moving walnut log with forklift


Milling was pretty straightforward with my Lucas Mill dedicated slabber. While there was a decent amount of heart rot, there was still plenty of beautiful material left to work with. Luckily, many of the slabs had a fiddleback, or quilted, grain pattern.

Walnut log in dedicated slabber

Milling and stacking the logs took from sunrise to sunset but it was all worth it -- I walked away with 11 live edge slabs with great figure and character.

11 walnut slabs