This set of photographs is to show you what is involved in producing a burl table slab from a whole redwood stump.
The first thing that you have to do is find a redwood stump that has burl in it. The chances of finding a stump that has a good amount of burl in it are about 1 in 1000. Once we have found a stump with burl in it , we have to cut it up into pieces that are small enough to be loaded on a lowboy or similar truck.
Once we have the wood at our location it is cleaned with a high pressure water blaster that puts out 2200 to 2800 psi. This cleaning process can take from as little as 2 hours to 2 days to clean all of the dirt and rocks out of the root system. We sometimes have to spend hours with an air hammer chisleing huge rocks out that the wood has grown round.
The cleaned stump is then closely looked at to determine what would be the best angle to cut the stump to produce the best burl slabs out of it. If the cut is made the wrong way you will end up with wood that is small, cross cut, or the burl pattern is running the wrong way. The first cut is made free hand with a chainsaw that has a bar that is from 4' to 7' long. This is called the face cut and this what the mill will be attached to.
The stump is then set up so the face cut is as flat as possible and the guide rails or the "ladder" is nailed down for the alaskan mill to ride on. The alaskan mill is nothing more than two poles that are attached to the bar of the chainsaw at each end. A 2" x 12" board is attached to the poles with metal tube stock and it has a treaded rod on it that allows us to raise and lower the mill to cut thicker or thinner slabs. The board rides on the rails and the bar with the chain on it hangs down below the ladder and is pulled through the wood slowly. To operate this , you have one person run the powerhead and one holds onto the "stinger handle" that is attached to the tip of the bar.
Sometimes we hit a pocket of dirt or rock that the tree grew around and the chain is dulled. If we are lucky we get the cut off without having to stop, pull out, sharpen, and finish the cut. The cutting of burl slabs is nothing like cutting a clean vertical grain log.
The end result of this process is the beautiful burl table slabs that we offer to you , our valued customers.