Tag Archives: mesquite

Dead Tree to Beer Mug – Gale’s Mesquite Project 1


 Could have been firewood.

The process:

Find a dead tree

Cut it to length

Mark approximate centers for lathe

Make certain your last will and testiment is up-to-date, don your face protection and body armor, adjust the lathe to the slowest possible RPMs and mount the future beer glass in the lathe.

Finding that lowest speed is important.

Change tools and readjust as the cylinder size is reduced.  Gradually the RPMs can be increased.

Trim off everything that isn’t a beer mug

When it approaches the shape you want prepare the end for the talon chuck.

The talon chuck holds it by the end so you can begin hollowing out the vessel.

Note the protrusion at the base to serve as a grip for the talon.

If your material is mesquite some filling might be needed at this point.

Gale’s been using chrysocolla for that job lately

Now you’re ready to begin hollowing it out.

A closer view:

Gale prefers to use a drill press to take out part of that center plug because it’s awkward and the speeds of the material vary and directions reverse at the center.

Then back to finishing the rough mug.

The rough part of the job done, cheated death and any more of these one more time:

Other finished, or near finished vessels:

There’s not much money in it for him, though he sells a lot of them.  But you have to admit there’s something magic about turning a dead tree into a wine glass or beer mug.

Sometime soon I’ll show you some of his silversmith work.

Old Jules


The Sawmill: Joys and Frustrations

One of the ways Gale makes money for himself is saw-milling mesquite.  There’s a guy with heavy equipment bulldozes cedar and mesquite off ranch land, and he pushes big mesquite off to the side instead of burning it.  We go pick it up in a trailer, haul it back here and stockpile it for cleaning up to be saw-milled.

These are mesquite boles waiting to be sold to a woodworker or for Gale to work them down into something tasteful and useful:

Here are a few larger ones stockpiled by the sawmill waiting for sawmilling.

But when Gale bought the sawmill he din’t actually have an enviable shelter to put it in.

We plotted, planned, watched and horse-traded when they were putting in new power poles to acquire enough for a new sawmill barn:

Even laid out the footprint for the new pole barn and got the holes drilled:

We’ve got the design put together by us two geniuses.  Those poles need to be measured and cut to length, then dragged over to be slid into the holes, set vertical, tamped into place, first off.  Then everything that doesn’t look like a pole barn needs to be removed from that airspace sitting there empty.

But the fact is, Gale’s an old guy.  Claims to be older than me even, by an imaginary year.  He’s got a bad hip and too many other things troubling him to have any business out there trying to do work ought to be reserved for a younger guy, namely me.  I can’t afford to be losing an old friend and the man who owns this place because of some silly notion he might have about getting out there doing any heavy lifting and sweating.

So that barn of the future’s been sitting there waiting to happen for a year now.

If I had my new truck running I’d be up there now, while they’re gone and can’t do anything about it, measuring and cutting those poles, dragging them somewhere they can become something better than what they are now.  I’d be getting those poles up pointing at the sky the way the Coincidence Coordinators intended when they delivered them.

All while they’re off in New Mexico at the Hatch Chili Festival doing what’s best they do and they do best.

It ain’t going to happen this time, because I don’t have anything to pull them with.  But that new truck’s going to be running next time they leave.

On the other hand, I think he might be edgy about me doing it.  They’ve both seen the things I’ve built, or am building down here:

White Trash Repairs: Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Thumbing Rides on Throwaways

News from the Middle of Nowhere

Disclaimer and apologies – I posted this accidentally when I went to save the draft.    But there’s been too much deleting of accidental posts here lately, so I’m leaving it up.

Old Jules