I am a rural unplugged woodworker, having been raised in the
Missouri Ozarks and grew up thinking that wood was free.
It still is for me and the only
wood I buy is boxwood, rosewood, and ebony.
I was impressed by the gigantic
walnut trees that someone had planted on our farm every 50 feet
around 160 acres and in the cross fence lines. That was sometime
in the 19th Century that the nuts were heeled into the ground.
From time to time an old walnut
tree would die and we'd harvest it and take it to our family
sawmill where it was sawn into lumber. My brother and I dug up
one big stump to get the gnarly wood for gunstocks.
We planted a walnut for every tree
we cut so the farm which is now much bigger has a bounty of
walnut trees. Thirty-six years ago I decided to make my backyard
into a walnut grove and moved walnut seedlings to that area.
They have prospered and in another decade they can be harvested
for cabinet wood. I already had some big walnut trees in my yard
and trimming some large limbs have produced wood for some of the
small tool cases I like to make.
I will not live long enough to use
all the wood in the trees I planted but hopefully future
woodworkers will be glad to get some fine walnut lumber for
their shop. A note of caution to those who plant walnut trees on
their property; they emit a toxin called juglene that kills
other plants. So, keep them separate from your vegetable and
Fall is the time of the year when walnuts fall. I pile them
around trees and by spring they will all be gone, eaten as
squirrel snacks all winter. I shell some for a batch of divinity
candy around Christmas time.
This is the mother tree from which I got the nuts for my walnut
That crotch in the fork will have some beautifully figured wood.
It stands but 20 feet from my workbench.
These are big limbs I harvested one year ago. I will re-saw them
this winter for some nice box material.
This is a view of my walnut grove. I planted them rather close
grew tall and quickly shed their lower limbs.
Walnuts grow fast in my area. This tree was planted 36 years
James E. Price