Guest Post by Adam Dias
Milling a Stump
Milling a Redwood stump, or any wood stump for that matter, is nothing and everything like milling a log. Similar to a log, one starts with a cap cut, or top cut, then proceeds to cut cants. These are large blocks of wood that can be cut down into various types of lumber. Or in the case of a stump, one cuts slab cuts. Like milling logs, making sure your grain is running flat or vertical can be very important. This adds to the stability of the wood. However, unlike a log, stump grain can be all over the place. This is especially true if you are cutting close to the root, or have curl or birds-eye burl in the stump.
Cutting for Stability
That said, there are still ways to cut the slabs to be stable. After many years of cutting, one starts to understand how to do this. However, no two stumps are the same. Every cut has to be examined and have the grain taken into account.
There are a few common tools to cut stumps. with the most common being the Alaskan mill. However, it has become much more popular to cut with a pole mill (pictured in this blog), or a Lucas slab mill. Lucas started making their mill possibly 30 years after the first slab mills were built. These mills where built by those in the burl business looking for an alternative to the Alaskan mill set up.
At Dias Artistries, we cut our slabs both with a pole mill, and the Alaskan mill. We do our best to get the most out of our salvaged stumps and root systems. There really is nothing easy about milling redwood slabs. However, the reward is always an amazing product, with thousands of uses. Not only is every cut is a glimpse into the history of the tree, it is also a glimpse into the history of one of the greatest wonders of the world.