The Project: Get yourself some walnut logs
The Drink: Mr. Boston's Lumberjack
The Pairing: After a cool day full of small, two-cycle engines revving and ropes flying limbs safely (mostly) to the ground you might as well mix up a refreshing Lumberjack. Its appley-sweetness is offset well by the bourbon.
Here's a scenario: Your buddy, the arborist, shoots you a text on a brisk Saturday morning, "Are you interested in some walnut?" There's only one answer, even before you get more details, "YES!"
I don't have a pick-em-up truck. I didn't know at the time the size of the logs I might be getting. But, it was free walnut. You just let your future self deal with that. And so my future self did!
Turns out the job was bigger than expected. I got to run ropes for my first time while he ran like a monkey out on limbs and dropped branches for me to fly. It's surprising how a simple port-a-wrap lets me carry loads multiple times my own mass. Some of the logs I flew down I could barely roll out of the way once they were safely on the ground.
Two days after starting limbing the canopy, we pulled the final log down and were hit with the realization that there were logs we needed to get out of the yard. We procured a trailer then pushed, pulled, lifted, and finally winched a few logs onto a trailer. The most fun problem? The winch was on the front of the vehicle that was towing the trailer. How do you use the winch backwards? We did it by unhooking the trailer, turning the vehicle around, and wedging the trailer tongue under the front rock plate. We winched upwards of 10ft long, 34in diameter logs up on that trailer which surprisingly held under the weight. Eventually i had 6 logs of various sizes sitting in my driveway – all for two days of work when there wasn't much else to do anyway.
Life gets in the way sometimes, so I grabbed some old samples of paint from the house and painted the end grain of the logs not knowing when I'd be able to mill them. There was a very red paint and a light green one. The number of people that stopped to ask me what the story of the logs on the driveway was and why they had been painted was astounding! Sure, there are better products for slowing the wetness release through end grain and thus causing checks and cracks such as Anchorseal or Rockler's Green Wood End Sealer, but I do like using up the left over paint samples of colors we've decided not to use. And apparently that means people stop by and ask, "Is this an art installment?"
The time came to actually mill. Is there much better than milling up a log on your driveway full of branch crotches? You just never know what you're going to find when you take that board off the log for the first time. Luckily for me, these logs had many branches coming off them providing some exceptional grain.
Chainsaw milling is slow. Incredibly slow. It took me 6 hours to mill up this stack, and another 4 hours to mill up the bottom stack here. And then you wait. I went with two thicknesses, a 5/4 and and 8/4 hoping to end up with 3/4" and 1.5" stock after hitting the jointer and planer. But I have to wait, like I said, for this wood to fully dry. They say it's about 1 year per inch to air dry and at 1.25" and 2" thick, that's going to put me into next summer/fall. I guess that gives me a lot of time to figure out what to do with it all?