200-year-old ‘Grandma Elm’ lives on through repurposed wood
Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015 4:12PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, June 10, 2015 5:37PM CST
Winnipeg said good-bye to its most recognizable tree last July, but the Assiniboine Park Conservancy is making sure the memory of ‘Grandma Elm’ lives on.
Most of the wood from the nearly 200 year old tree had to be destroyed because it was infected with Dutch Elm Disease, but some of it was salvaged.
Three of the tree’s upper branches are back in the exact spot where Grandma Elm used to be.
“It's just wonderful to sort of maintain that idea that this was a gathering spot before and it' still a gathering spot now,” said Karen Pearce, Assiniboine Park’s director of grounds.
The park has also commissioned the Woodturners Association of Manitoba to transform some of the de-barked elm into pieces, like bowls and pepper mills, for the park’s gift shop.
"We rough it into a round shape, mount it onto a lathe and then proceed to hollow it out and hopefully end up with a nice bowl," said WAM president Gerald Kornelson.
One of the larger pieces is at Tec-Voc High School where machining teacher Vance Halldorson said he asked for a small piece on the day the tree was cut down.
“And then we got this huge piece to do something with,” he said laughing.
Halldorson plans to use the branch as a class project next September, but he’s not sure exactly what it’ll be.
He’s waiting for the wood to speak to him on that it will become.
“I had the chain saw at one point and started to cut in on one of these limbs and the chain came off the chain saw,” said Halldorson, “So that’s just telling me don’t cut into me, this is not my destiny.”
There’s still time for that, as much of the wood is still too wet to work with and it may be a year before the finished project is revealed.