Milling first step in gallery oak’s new life

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BY MARGARET PHILLIPS

A large oak that crashed to the ground, bringing power lines down and crushing two blossom-laden cherry trees during its descent amid high winds, is being milled to be made into useful items such as furniture.

The large tree stood outside the Eastern Southland Gallery.

It came tumbling down last October.

The tree was thought to be about the same age as the gallery, which was built in 1909.

The oak was listed as a heritage tree.

The Tree Millers co-owner Graham Miller, of Mandeville, is charged with milling the tree.

The tree would be milled into 12 or 13 slabs of about 2.5m long and 600mm wide.

The tree had been sitting until recently when Mr Miller began milling it.

Once milled, the tree would sit for one to two years to dry before it would be made into objects, Mr Miller said.

Ready to be shaped ... These slabs of the oak tree that once stood outside the Eastern Southland Gallery are waiting for a new beginning. PHOTOS: MARGARET PHILLIPS
Ready to be shaped … These slabs of the oak tree that once stood outside the Eastern Southland Gallery are waiting for a new beginning. PHOTOS: MARGARET PHILLIPS

Gore District Council parks and reserves Ian Soper said after viewing some old photos of the town he found there were trees planted in the Hokonui Dr area in the early 1900s.

Mr Soper was keen to have the tree milled then dried before deciding what use the wood would be put to.

“Just what that usable product is has yet to be decided,” Mr Soper said.

There were already several wooden items in the council chambers that had been fashioned from trees in the district.

One idea was for cheese boards to be made that could be sold through the information centre, or to make gifts for visiting dignitaries, he said.

“We are open to suggestions.”