I was recently contacted by a Meaford, ON resident who had had a 100 year old ash tree felled on his property. Measuring over 4′ in diametre at the base, it was far too large for me to handle, but I put him into contact with a friend of mine who sells wooden slabs for live edge furniture. Mike milled the tree on site, happily carted it away, and the owner made a respectable profit. He did, however, ask me if I could make something from a few of the branches, to remind him and his wife of the great tree that had always been there.
Unfortunately, although the main tree trunk was as straight as an arrow and destined to become at least 20 fine table tops, its branches were crooked and riddled with knots. When I make chairs I start with veneer-quality logs, with the grain straight and true. This allows me to split them with mallets and wedges into nice straight blanks, providing maximum strength for even the finest chair parts and negating the risk grain failure when steam bent.
Happily, I have managed to wrestle a few usable blanks out of one of the branches, and I am hoping that once they are turned to their final shape and then steam bent, they will become the legs for a 24″ high stool.