I have the distinct privilege to have been in the right place at the right time. One of my “hobbies” is to operate farm equipment, so I’ve become good friends with a large farm operation not too far away. They agreed with the neighbors to take out an ancient common hedge patch and recover about 20 acres of farm ground. I stumbled into the operation as it began and asked what was to become of all those giant hedge trees. Well, they were just going to burn them, and the fires had already been started. It turns out an acquaintance of mine was running the bulldozer and giant backhoe. I flagged him down and asked if I could harvest some of the trees he was going to burn, so he sort of reluctantly agreed. (People like me hold up their operation and make more work for them). I marked the ones I wanted and he kindly set them aside so I could cut them up. Then he went so far as to push the cut logs into piles and pushed all the brush over to his fire. I couldn’t keep up with them, so I only got 2/3 of what was out there.
I’d never seen such in all my wanderings around the country. The cut logs average about 20” in diameter and range from 6’ to 12’ long. If you know anything about osage orange, a 6’ straight piece is just plain uncommon, let along a 12’ piece! I just delivered 24 giant logs to the sawyer, and there are 21 more smaller logs not going to be sawn. This is the operation in a small window of good weather and very hard frozen ground:
They don’t look so big until you get closer:
Here you can see what I mean about not straight. You have to put them through a straightener before you can deliver them to the sawmill. So the loaded logs had been through the “straightener”, and these are next. The “straightener” is a 16” Stihl chain saw cutting at the curves to get maximum straightness. Some of these logs were over 30’ long before “straightening”.
I don’t have pictures of the remaining 21 logs, and as of tonight they remain in the field. I might have been able to retrieve them, but I ran out of daylight. They have to be hauled through a deep ravine and conditions have to be just right for that to happen. I spent all day Wednesday using a “Clydesdale” (JD8400) to drag these logs through the ravine and across the field to the closest road. According to the weather forecast it is going to be awhile before I can retrieve them.
So, if you need mallets, handles, or material for outdoor stuff (this stuff does not rot) let me know. Based on what I’ve had to give to harvest this treasure, it’s going to be something like $10 bd ft., still about half of what you pay any where I’ve been able to find the rare stuff.
-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com