I wrote about this live oak tree in 2014. I found out from a local engineer working on a project near Napa that this very striking tree was coming out to make way for a new vineyard, and he thought I might be able to use the wood. The base of the tree seemed like one great mass of oak burls to him. He thought it just looked interesting.
At the time, I was just getting interested in making furniture out of locally salvaged wood like this, not only to reduce my impact on the physical environment but also because of what such unique material offers. I keep finding that an arresting tree or board tells me what I should make out of it. So I went and looked at the tree with him.
The tree lived up to its billing, and I fell for it. We got the tree contractor to bring us the burly base in chunks, milled it into slabs, and air-dried it for four years. Now it’s ready to turn into furniture, and I’ve flattened and finished a sample slab. It is on display this weekend at our workshop/studio, as we participate once again in Open Studios Napa Valley. This snapshot gives some idea of the dramatic figure hidden in this old tree. You can get the full Open Studios catalog at the link above.