Dead Trees Can Be Awesome

8:34 AM

Soo, happy late Thanksgiving! If you couldn't tell by the lack of posts this month, I've been feeling pretty lazy lately. Maybe it's something about the impending doom that is working at the mall during holiday hours that makes me not want to do anything. Well, that is changing right now in the form of this giant wooden beam.



Isn't it pretty? We picked it up from a one man lumber mill, Mountain Heart Woodworks, on Friday. Just a guy and his giant saw cutting trees up. I wish there was more to look at, but this just wasn't that kind of place. However, if you're looking for some beetle kill pine around Denver, you should give them a call (btw it was about a half hour away, in the middle of nowhere Kiowa). Here he is cutting the 12' beam in half so we could cram it into our car.




Are you scratching you head yet? Well before I tell you the plan here is a quick little hint.



Did your guess involve making a mantle? I hope so because yes, we are making a mantle. If you look closely you might notice something else. The's less crap on our generic LACK table. We upgraded our old cable box and surround system for ones with smaller components. Baby steps. Here is one of the mantles cut down so that its the same width as the fireplace, held up by Matt in his I'm-watching-football-all-day-what-more-do-you-want-from-me outfit.



Here is a side-ish shot to give you a little idea of how deep it is. And just for those that like specifics, it's 10" deep, 4" tall, and 5' wide. Oh, and since we ordered it in a rough hewn state the dimensions are accurate, not like a 2"x4" from Home Depot.



The down side to rough hewn lumber is that it's rough, literally. It's covered with prickly little splinter bits so you want to be careful while your holding it. Nothing a little bit of sanding couldn't handle, besides you all know its my favorite activity. (Not really)



After a little sanding, you could really start to see the color of the wood. I just love the way beetle kill lumber looks! If you're not familiar with it, that blueish grey color is natural. Basically when the pine beetles bore into the tree they introduce a fungus that turns the wood this awesome color. It's also an environmentally friendly product, since the trees are already dead when they're harvested. In fact, these trees cause a lot of problems, did you hear that basically all of Colorado was on fire this summer? Our mountains are covered with these dead ugly trees and they're perfect firewood, so getting them out is a good thing.



This is how it looked after a few minutes on each side with some 60 grit sandpaper. Those arcing grooves are saw marks from being milled. I'm sanding it a little smoother than this here, but I still want to leave a little hint of roughness.



And that's where I'll leave you this week. I've got to put some Polycrylic on it and then we have to figure out how to mount this thing on the fireplace. I've got my fingers crossed that that happens this weekend, but don't be shocked if it doesn't.


Nikki Kelly


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