Slabbing a Pecan Crotch all the way from New Mexico

Welcome to my backyard! This time I have a special guest here: this is Paul! He brought this pecan crotch all the way from New Mexico. It’s got an interesting story behind it. Paul’s going to tell us a little bit about the log, its history and his story, and then we’re going to get it onto the mill and cut a cookie off the end.

Paul: This pecan tree is about 100 years old. It was out in front of my parents’ yard; they have a five acre pecan orchard in Southern New Mexico. The tree was starting to die off and was no longer producing any nuts, so we decided to take it down. Since I’m a woodworker, we wanted to make something really nice out of it. We started off with one limb a couple of years ago, then took down two more limbs, and finally took down the rest of the tree. 

Interesting story about this limb: when I cut it down, there were all kinds of wonderful critters in there, wasps, cockroaches, and beetles. There was also a little bat. The base is roughly 43 inches in diameter. It’s been sitting outside for about a year and a half now, ever since we cut it down. The top is about 46 inches and the height is roughly 36 inches. It’s a good size log. As you’ll see when we start cutting it up, it’s all over the place on character. It’s one of Matt’s kind of logs.

I bought this here to Matt because my chain saw mill can only do 30 inches. I wanted to get the entire width of this thing as much as I possibly could. So I reached out to Matt and asked him if he was kind enough to do this for me.

Matt: We’ve got the saw set up, and we’re going to cut little charcuterie size stuff of the top limb until we get down to the actual crotch section, which will give us a little more yield. We’ll do that again until we get down to the full width cut, and then we’ll fire to start making some slabs.

That is such a deep red. The other pecan I had was super pink, but this is a super deep brown-red. It has some crazy grain too. It’s breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking.

Wow, that is nuts, just absolutely nuts. You can see some spalting and all of the different limbs.

Let’s make some slabs. Now that we’ve cut about as many slabs as we can get a full width on, let’s look at some wood!

Oh, that’s nuts, and that’s not even the good ones yet!

Here’s the next one, and we’re starting to get into the crotch figure now. There’s a little bit of crotch at the top and there’s still the crazy flame grain down towards the bottom. 

The next slab has some crotch figure coming out for real. That’s the good stuff! This one measure 40 inches across at the narrow area and 44 across the crotch. 

This one should have the most amount of crotch figure. That’s incredible stuff. This is crazy! 

This stuff was absolutely amazing to see. As I’m looking back and watching the footage, I forgot how excited Paul was to look at all the wood, every single cut. It’s definitely a lot of fun to be around someone who has so much appreciation for the beauty of the wood. 

Here we had a sequential pair of slabs on the trailer, and we had them opened up as it book-matched from the end. (What I like to call an end match). Paul was showing me how he’s planning to join two of these together at the ends to create a longer tabletop. With the end match, he can get a tabletop that’s about 8 feet long. 

Paul also brought these two goofy pieces of Apple. We’re going to give these a cut and see what’s going on in there. One of them has a big furrow, and the other one has some crazy spiral thing going on. 

We’re into the colorful spalted parts from this rotted area here. There’s some cool color on these, and one of them even has some crotch figure!

Look at this figure in here! That’s awesome. 

The apple and pecan wood is all loaded up on the Paul’s trailer, ready to head back to Colorado. I’m really happy and really thankful that Paul made a trip, because it has allowed me to see things that I don’t normally get to see. Pecan doesn’t really grow around here, and I don’t see a whole lot of apple, especially not that big. Thank you again for that, Paul. 

Thank you as always for joining me, I really appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on the saw mill or anything back in the shop, please feel free leave me a comment. As always, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Until next time, happy woodworking!

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