Wood as Art

IMG 2041IMG 2042Hans' Redwood TableHans Nelsen has a table in the Heron's Nest this month (May 2015) that he made from a large but young coastal redwood (sequoia semervirens) which had been growing on the island for the last 50 years but which had to come down to allow for a construction project. The large diameter log has been in the mill yard for the last 3 years or so. Hans sliced off a 3" thick "cookie" from one end of the log, shaped the edge, smoothed the surface and coated it with a marine epoxy to stabalize the wood. The finished result is a magnificent table which shows off the trees growth rings. We will be slicing up the rest of the log into similar size cookies over the next month.

Wood Carver in Residence at Mill Yard

OdinLonningRavenwithmoonRaven With MoonOdin Lonning, Vashon Island resident and Tlingit tribal member has been our wood carver in residence at the VFS Mill Yard for the last six months or so. He is working on a commission for the Archdiocese of Seattle consisting of two totem poles which are comprised of both native and orthodox images. The two totem poles are nearing completion, but if you stop by the mill yard in the next month (May 2015) you will be able to view the poles, talk to Odin, and maybe see him carving.

Stewardship Activity

Tony with timber jackTony With Timber JackVFS is currently collaborating on stewardship forestry projects with Scarsella Cutting and Logging. Tony Scarsella comes highly recommended by Seattle's Cedar River Watershed which is the 90,000-acre forest preserve that protects Seattle's water source. They are very particular about who works in their woods, but they occasionally do selective e thinning projects that restore and enhance the basin's forest structure. Tony thinned a four-acre red alder stand along Melita Creek on Maury Island last year and has thinned two separately-owned Douglas-fir stands on Vashon this last year.

I would join with the Cedar River Watershed in recommending Tony as a skilled and careful operator - so much so in fact that I have filed a Washington State FPA (Forest Practice Application) to have Tony do a careful thinning of my own woods. There are three other forest owners currently ready. Anyone else interested?

Restoration Planting

JohnsonrestorationCedar seedlings at Dorothy Johnson'sThis winter Vashon Forest Stewards crews helped replant island forests which had been thinned over the last year. More than 4,500 bareroot native trees were planted in Island Center Forest, Dockton Forest and several private forests. The forestry operations all either thinned Douglas-firs from overcrowded stands or harvested red alder from mature or overly mature alder stands. By far the largest number of young bareroot seedlings planted were western red cedars. They are a native species that are shade tolerant so they do well when planted in and around existing tree canopies. They are a climax tree in the Pacific Northwest forest ecosystem which means they are long lived - one of the last trees standing in the natural forest sucsession. We also planted bareroot Douglas-fir, western white pine, cascara, both big-leaf and vine maples, red osier dogwood and ninebark.

Milling Activity

In October of 2011, I got a call from a home owner on the Burton Peninsula who told me he was taking down a madrone tree and wondered whether VFS would be interested in the logs. I asked him if they were big - at least 2 feet in diameter. He said yes.

When I arrived at the site the trees were over 4' in diameter. Too big and heavy for our log truck. We hired Al Bradley to transport the logs back to our mill yard. Too big for our mill we hired a Lucas chainsaw mill - a particularly wide portable mill capable of cutting logs up to 5 feet across.

We slabbed two large madrone logs into ten - 15' long x 4' wide x 4" thick slabs and stickered them out to air dry for a year per inch of thickness - four long years.

This October will be four years. The slabs will head to the kiln for further drying. Anyone ever seen a madrone board four feet wide?


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