Milling a 250 year old exhibition Douglas Fir

The Exploratorium had a 250 year old Douglas Fir log on exhibition for eight years. This log was discovered and halved by Evan Shivley in 2012, and had fallen over in Marin, CA roughly 10 years prior to that.douglas fir exhibition outside


After being on display for eight years the Exploratorium team was ready to remove the exhibit and salvage the log. They removed the log and the root ball from the exhibition stands and they loaded it on to our flatbed truck for transportation to our main sawmill site.

exploratorium log loaded

We then milled the logs, which had retained moisture surprisingly well — everything deeper than 3" from the surface was well above 40% MC and had essentially not dried at all.

exploratorium log staged for milling

Due to the exhibition stands and natural defects, many of the slabs did not come out in one piece. However, we kept these pieces next to each other when stacking them so that woodworkers could eventually make river tables or matching furniture pieces after they dried. The widest slabs measured over 54" wide and 10" long, and we milled them to 3" thickness.

exploratorium slab example defects

This was a unique and special project for me. I'm glad to have been able to salvage such a meaningful log into lumber that can be cherished for decades to come!