What Do a Stewardship Forester, a Black Walnut and a Historical Society Have in Common?

A Lot As It Turns Out
black walnut wood floors

In the summer of 2018, the Historical Society of Cheshire County, NH contacted Steve Roberge, the Cheshire County Forester, to look at some black walnut trees on their Main Street property in downtown Keene. The Historical Society was restoring a neighboring building and a large black walnut had to be cut down to make way for a walkway (plus the walnuts were constantly falling and breaking the slate roof). A board member of the Society suggested milling the trees and using the boards for flooring in the building they were restoring. They asked Steve if this tree would cover the ground floor. He measured the tree and estimated the volume. It was about a third of what they needed. Looking around the property, he noticed dozens of other walnuts and suggested they thin out the trees along the property line to get the additional board feet needed for their new floor. In the end, he scaled and marked about 15 trees to harvest to come up with roughly 1600 board feet.


AJ Dupere and his staff from the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands milling the black walnut trees

In October 2018, the trees were cut and milled. Staff from the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands milled the trees onsite after the Historical Society had them felled. A team of volunteers from the Historical Society stacked the boards on a trailer.

The boards were shipped to Woodell & Daughters Forest Products in Langdon, NH and were dried in the kiln over the winter and then sent to Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring in Stoddard for milling into floorboards. Installation occured in spring 2019. A Keene Sentinel article shows floors, stair treads and railing made from the onsite black walnut.


Photos of the completed project courtesy of Keene Sentinel

This project was a great use of resources and urban trees!