A Strategy for Woodworking #52: Taking Down a Tree, Part Two

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Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 05-21-2015 01:53 PM 1522 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 51: Taking Down a Tree Part 52 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 53: Why Not Dovetails? »

The tree is down. No ceremony was performed for it. As a street tree, this maple had a pretty good long run. I was sorry to have to remove it but seeing it fallen over on top of a car would have made me a bit sorrier. It was half dead as was plain to see this spring and rot would soon take over the trunk. So.

It was actually pretty cool to watch how the arborist, Aaron, took it down. He roped up and started dropping limbs, both dead and alive from the top on down. When he got close to the crotch is when I became really interested.

Where you make your first cut determines so much about the kind of wood you might receive from the tree. About 7’ up, we had two big limbs split off from one another. This crotch area can reveal beautiful grain. You could already see some spalting on the outside of the tree and some ripple in the grain. I wanted to capture all that in some slabs so I had Aaron cut off just about the crotch split.

From there, he switched out chainsaws to one with a rip blade on it and made two rip cuts so we could maximize the crotch wood. Almost lined them up but that’s a tough cut to nail. It’s a big kerf too. You can see right through it.

Once he got the log split, then he crosscut the sections down. This is when it became apparent that there was some real pretty wood here and a bunch of rot as well. You can see how the right side, the dead side, is starting to rot out from the center. That’s how it goes whenever you cut down a tree. You never know the surprises that await.

-- Gary Rogowski...follow my podcast at and twitter @garyrogowski

5 comments so far

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 1867 days

#1 posted 05-21-2015 03:22 PM

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 05-21-2015 06:21 PM


I love the surprises I’m finding in different woods I’m milling up. Smaller scale than this and I’m the guy with the chainsaw. Scary stuff. LOL! Wanted to make something with trees that are getting wasted down at our compost site. Hoping to find and do justice to mother natures gifts.

Great blog!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Schwieb's profile


1896 posts in 4065 days

#3 posted 05-21-2015 08:05 PM

Very colorful maple. I would have like to have been around for a couple of chunks of that for turning something. Nice to see that you have the spirit to use some of this old tree and let it have another life.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3294 days

#4 posted 05-22-2015 12:29 AM

Dead and dying maples are almost always worth saving as I too find some great color and figure. My tree service contacts say that almost all of it goes to the landfill as they didn’t think it had value as firewood or lumber. I’m trying to get all the services in my area “educated”.

You have some cool stuff in that tree!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3408 days

#5 posted 05-22-2015 12:08 PM

I see beautiful things from this

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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