1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Murder on Maple Lane

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Mr.M, Dec 26, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mr.M

    Mr.M Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

    Jan 29, 1998
    Fellow shooters. I've been asked to create this photo journal as a separate thread for educational purposes. This is the story of an Oregon Big Leaf Maple that recently met its demise, hence the name of the thread.

    A little background. I've been in the wood buying, selling and now cutting and milling business as a sideline based on love of good wood alone for almost 40 years. I will only buy when I can get a decent enough price to pass the wood along to my fellow shooters at a decent price.

    Having just recently harvested a few Maples and Myrtles in various states of physical decline, I'm now gaining an appreciation for the reality that there is almost no price high enough to compensate for the work, time, patience, disappointment and other factors involved in transforming a tree, either alive or dead, into an acceptable blank for use on a firearm. Someday I'll write a book.

    The yield from six significant trees looks like; lots and lots of fantastic table tops, at least a ton of craft wood which will be used for bottle stoppers, bowls, pens, handgun grips, etc. and maybe 40 pieces that will begin the long journey (at least three years here in Oregon) that may yield half that number being acceptable structurally and visually to actually advertise for sale. Gives me a real appreciation for the efforts of the old-timers in the wood business whom I've had the pleasure to deal with in the past.

    Since there are lots of sources for walnut stock blanks of all varieties, shapes, sizes and colors, I have concentrated on Myrtle and Maple in my searches and now my harvesting efforts. I'll share some pics taken recently of the harvest of one of the most magnificent big-leaf maples I've run across. This tree was about 140 years old (by actual ring count) and was named the "Big Foot" Maple for obvious reasons. The tops of both trunks on this tree had been broken off when softwoods had been felled through them ten years ago. Both trunks were drawing water down into themselves during the winter season and would have been nothing but a pulpy mess in another ten years. As the steward of this property, my decision was simple: either let the tree alone and feed the termites or harvest it and let it bring beauty, utility and pleasure to owners for centuries to come. Sorry, the termites lose.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4509.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    "Big Foot" Maple. 'Nuff said. The root ball burl is six feet across.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4521.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Both trunks had trunk burls all the way up.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4872.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Trunks removed. Root ball is hollow. Typical for southern Oregon.

    Root ball is totally skirted. The cutter says "Tip 'er over, Mike" Maybe 1200 pounds. Mike says "Tip 'er over yourself, Gordy" In case you were wondering why this post on this thread and you've read this far, now you know who the real "miller" was. Yes, one and the same Gordy.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4883.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    First quarter of the root ball burl removed. Took two of us to "tip 'er over". About 300 pounds.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4889.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a><a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4887.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a><a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4880.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a><a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4878.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a><a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4873.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    This is the absolute definition of "burl figure" in a big-leaf maple root ball burl.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4885.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Second quarter removed.

    <a href="http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii189/mikermann1/BigFootMaple/?action=view¤t=DSCN4892.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    Third quarter removed.

    Then the real work begins of actually laying out the potential blanks, coating all sides of the burl with a wax emulsion to slow and control the drying process and storing the wood where the air flow can do its job and the termites can't.

    For the pieces that make it through to commercial viability, see ya in three or more years. I do have some full rifles in Myrtlewood, Myrtlewood Tiger Stripe and Burl Maple that I will show periodically on this forum.

    Thanks for looking,

    Regards and Seasons Greetings to all,

    Mike Mann
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.