Sawing Matt Ruben’s Massive & Historic Walnut Log

Welcome to my backyard. Today we’re going to have a special guest while we have some fun with the saw mill.

About a year ago I went to visit Matt Ruben, and we did a video sharing his business journey with his wood business, custom saw milling, custom furniture making, and everything that he does. 

While I was there filming that, he had a walnut log that was too big for his saw, and he asked if we could saw it here. So today, we’re finally going to get this log all sawn up. 

Here is his walnut log. It’s a crotch log, so I’m pretty excited about that. Two crotch stems down here, 24 to 30 inches in diameter. On the butt end, it has a buttress flare, about six feet across. This will be a fun one to saw, and looking forward to seeing what he thinks about what’s inside of it.

We’ll get this loaded onto the saw, and then see what the heck is inside of it.

After some effort, we have the log lined up now. We’re 44 inches off the bed, and we’re just barely going to fit. This log is 9 feet long, 60 inches across the crotch, and 77 inches across the butt end (depending on where you measure). On the list of things that I’ve cut that are ridiculous, this is definitely up there. So we should have some interesting crotch figure, as well as some kind of figure with the buttress. They managed to cut this pretty close to the ground, which is awesome. So hopefully we will see some compression figure down in the buttress. 

After making our flat reference cut, let’s take a quick look before flipping it over. It’s got a big crack in the middle. We’ll see if we can roll it over without having it split apart. 

A lot fell out of that hole when we flipped it over. Got some walnuts, some grubs, and some sort of fecal matter. But we got it rolled over and we are ready to get slicing for real. We decided to go with three-and-a-half inch thick. 

Now we can start slicing up this log. 

There is a little bit of figure grain around where the crotch figure should be. It looks good though.

There’s some figure from the buttress as well. It’s nice that they got so low to the ground when they were cutting it, usually this stuff gets stumped out. 

Here’s some more of that beautiful figure in the buttress on the next slab. It’s a little hard to see all of the figure in these slabs because they are full of squirrel poop. 

Around the split you get what used to be the crotch figure, so you get this nice banding of darker material there. But otherwise, this is pretty clear wood.

Pretty much straight clear through here. We’re still about four feet across the whole way down, and this one’s the most uniform because it doesn’t have any flare. 

Some quarter sawn walnut here. Still very clear, but a very nice piece of wood.

This next one has some more crotch figure next to the canyon, which is nice. Otherwise, still very clear.

The one has this really cool double void thing going on. And it’s still 47 inches in the middle and 53 inches at the end. It’s still a big slab, and we are almost through the whole log. Normally these get smaller as you get closer to the end. 

This last one is the remainder, and it’s 4 inches thick. This one has some really fun cathedral grain surrounding the splits. 

This is why you want that buttress in there. Grand finale on this cap piece. 

So one more log out of the pile! I always love having someone here who also appreciates wood, enjoying the day, and doing something that I love. So thank you again to Matt for stopping by today.

That’s going to do it for me this time. Thank you as always for joining, I greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on the saw mill or anything back in the shop, please feel free to leave me a comment. As always, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. And until next time, happy woodworking!

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