Jay Leno Conan O'Brien Burl Slab
Welcome Fans And Enthusiasts of
Jay Leno ~ Conan O'Brien.
Hi and welcome to the story behind how I discovered this unbelievable madrone burl slab of Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.
My name is Chad Tucker, owner, artist and the one who discovered the one and only madrone burl slab of wood displaying the profile of Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Who would have known? Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien found together within a piece of burl wood!
The Whole Story on How I Discovered The Jay Leno Conan O'Brien Madrone Burl Slab
The story begins way back in the year 2000. I had my eyes on a huge madrone burl located in Wymer, Oregon up Ditch Creek Road where my sister owned five acres. I had asked my sister what it would take for me to dig up this huge madrone burl I really wanted. The tree was dying off quite quickly. I talked to my sister and made a deal that if I helped to do the fire reduction of hazardous trees around the house she would let me have the huge madrone burl tree. I was so excited i really wanted that tree. This would be my second burl I have ever recovered in my life, the first one was at my dad's earlier in year. It was a five foot burl, a nice one. Being that this was my second madrone burl, I had learned what to do different this time as opposed to the the first one I pulled out.
Getting Started Loading the Truck
The day was upon me to get started on this massive burl. I called three of my friends to help me do all the work at my sisters. I spent part of a day getting ready for this job since we had a lot to do. I rounded up all the things i needed, chain saws, tractor, chain, picks and axes. We loaded up dad's Kabota tractor onto the trailer and pulled away in my 1994 Dodge diesel 4x4, we were ready to do the job.
Digging Out Madrone Burl
When we arrived to my sister's house we unloaded all the gear. My buddies started on reducing the fire fuel hazards from around the house. I fired up the tractor and started to dig the 6 foot burl up, It took quite a wile to dig around the large tree and dad's tractor did well. After digging for 2 hours it was deep and wide enough to pull the whole tree over with my 94 Dodge truck using my new warn 8000 winch. The tree was 80 feet tall and towered the other trees in the area. I backed my truck up the hill and strung out 100 feet of 5/8 winch cable. I got the tractor and put the ladder inside the bucket so I could get the cable as high as possible up the tree to allow for a easy pull. I decided that I would need to chain the truck up to the bottom of a large fir tree to provide a good anchor point. At this point I tied a jacket onto the cable to catch the cable in case it snapped, this is a great safety precaution.
The Huge Tree Crashes Down.
I jumped into truck and started to pull on the tree. It took a hard pull and there it went crashing down, on the grown it layed. The tree was huge and when I got down into the hole were she sat the root wad towered over me ten feet high. Wow, I was so excited! After it was down I needed to cut up all the wood for firewood for my sister. It took some time but we got it all cut up and there it sat, a huge madrone burl 6 foot in diameter. We worked on cleaning off the dirt with the pressure washer and took a few roots off and then backed the truck up with the trailer. I tucked the trailer under the burl and released the trailer from the truck. I chained the trailer up to a few trees to keep it stationary and used the trucks warn winch to pull it onto the trailer. The huge burl slid right on and there it sat. After undoing the line I re-hooked the truck and got ready for the pull out. I put the Dodge 4x4 diesel with 35s into low and pulled on the throttle. The truck sucked down a bit and got traction and muled that huge stump right out of the hole. Wow, i did it! I was so excited! The load weighed about 8000 pounds dirt and all.
The Drive Home
It was a big haul but nothing the truck and I couldn't handle. It felt good as we headed out of the canyon with such a big burl. The five mile drive to my dad's house went well. Many onlookers were wondering what they saw as the truck roared by. We got to my dads house, here is were I cleaned the madrone burl with the pressure washer. This job took some time, 4 hours to be exact. Once almost all the dirt was removed, I used the chain saw to cut off all the roots to get ready to take it to my buddie's burl mill in Murphy, Oregon.
Driving To The Burl Mill
The next day finally arrived, Duane and Merl showed up on time to help and we fired up the truck and got ready for the 20 mile drive to the mill. I was hoping to sell the burl to the mill to be used for veiner to make wood burl lampshades. The trip to the mill was exciting, We had many onlookers wondering what that was on the trailer. A huge burl is rare to most people so many have never seen one. We were getting close to the mill. Richard Arnold the owner was waiting for me to arrive. I told him it was a big madrone burl. a nice one to my standards. He looked over the burl and liked it, The only issue with the burl was part of one side had died off and was no longer green. The burl wouldn't be a good candidate for burl veneer. Since it wasn't going to work for veiner, I decided that I would cut the burl up into wood slabs for future unknown projects.
Cutting Up Burl Into Slabs
I pulled the truck over to the center of the mill and unloaded the burl to continue pressure washing the burls skin off. Taking the skin of a large burl was exciting. What I found was that the outer skin of burl was red to maroon with bumps all over it. As I washed off the skin, the underneath layer was a yellow blonde color with heavy texture of cleat like spikes all over the place. I had never seen such a thing. I was blown away by what I found. Once i got through pressure washing I fired up my dads steel chain saw with a 30 inch bar. I spent the rest of the day bucking up the whole burl into chunks and slabs of wood. The outside of the wood was yellow but the inside had some wonderful colors of maroon and reds. Burl is hard wood to cut, requiring lots of sharp chain, I had to sharpen the chain I brought a few times but finally got it all cut up. We loaded all the slabs onto the trailer and took the wood over where we were going to cure the wood.
Steaming The Burl Wood
A large pressure cooker steam tank was used to cook and cure burl. It is 4 feet in diameter and 16 feet long. This old steamer was used in Washington state for years to can tuna, now used to steam burl woods for curing. It took a bit of time for me, Duane and Merl to load up all that burl onto the track to slide into the boiler. it was all loaded and the vault shut, the boiler was fired up and started to heat the water. The cooking process takes 24 hours of good penetration. Steaming the burl helps cure, stabilize, and release the tension on the wood. The next day we showed back up to open the steam vault and pull the burl out. When I opened the door about 100 gallons of red water came running out. The wood was now all one color as the steaming and bleeding of wood caused all the wood to be a maroon red color. The wood was half the weight and the wood was completely dry.
Unloading The Burl Into Tanks
We had about a 30 minuites to load the slabs out of the steamer into two large water tanks. The wood needs to be resaturated in order to dry the wood effectively. If the wood isn't resaturated the dry wood would crack all over, so it is important to soak wood fast. We went home and waited a few days to assure full water penetration to the wood. Once we got back to the mill a few days later to unload the burl and take it back to my house to unload into the shop to dry, the wood was really heavy and we were able to stack all the wood in a cool dry spot. The wood took about two years to dry. At this point I had gotten a new job in Kerby, Oregon at Kaufman Wood Products where they made log furniture.
Starting a New Job in a New Town
I moved to a town near by called Selma, Oregon were I bought 2 acres. This is where I moved all of my wood to store in a shed I had brought to the property. Once I started working at Kaufman Wood Products, I started running the show room for the boss on the weekends. The showroom is on the historic199 West Redwood Highway in Kerby, Oregon. It is an original 2 story house built in the late 1800's. The owner let me put my art work upstairs made up of rustic manzanita furniture I had made along with other unique wood creations. It was like my own show room. I was so happy, my dream of selling world class exotic home furniture was coming true. I worked for Kaufman for about one year in the shop mainly building rustic fir railing. I was fortunate to work on some big jobs. Times were getting tough in the shop and a few of us got laid off. I decided to move my art work out of the showroom. I had packed up about a hundred slabs of that big madrone burl and it was time to move it back home. I arranged with Kaufman for a good time to pick it all up.
Discovering the Jay Leno Connan O'Brien Madrone Burl Slab
I showed up on a Saturday to load it all up. it was a lot of work up and down the stairs. Some people had showed up while I was there and said they were interested in some of my furniture upstairs. They said they were there a few weeks past and enjoyed my artwork. They wanted a table and a lamp and a lampshade. I was so happy I really needed that extra dough. I helped them load their car and they were off. Well with all the excitement I still needed to move all that burl wood slab down from upstairs. As I started moving the madrone burl piece by piece I had picked up this one piece in particular. It was almost as though I was drawn to this one piece but not sure why. I picked the burl slab up and stared at it for a while and said to my self out loud "o my gosh." I was staring at the profile of Conan O'Brien's head. I was so happy, my day was looking up. I had thought back and recently was watching the Conan O'Brien show. This made my day. I finished up loading the rest of the burl. Earlier in the year as I was working a small madrone burl into a phone table I saw that the piece I was using resembled Marge from the Simpsons. Who would have known? it is a wonderful piece. I had figured I had hit the jack pot. Marge and then Conan all in one year, nice. The drive home was full of hope and prosperity. When i got home I grabbed the Conan burl slab and looked it over for a while. I decided to flip the piece over to see what it looked like up side down. it didn't take long before my jaw dropped in joy. Low and behold what did i see but Jay Leno from the Tonight Show. I couldn't believe my eyes! Who would have known, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien discovered together in a madrone burl slab. Conan's hair when the slab is turned over is Leno's chin. It is a one of a kind discovery and I was in joy of being the one to find it.
Trying to Contact Jay and Conan
I sat and thought for a while thinking. What if? What if i could sell the piece to Jay or Conan? Maybe they would bid on the piece and use the money to help spread my vision in world class exotic manzanita wood products. But I thought to my self that I always wanted the web page to be done and maybe it wasn't time to try to get a hold of them. Time went, by a few years as the case. I struggled to make ends meet trying to get my wood work noticed always with the hope and drive to be a successfull person with great dignity and respect for others. During the next few years I would have some strange encounters where I met a person who I had let borrow my trailer and he had said he helped Jay Leno one year a way back. Charles said he was getting on the freeway near Topanga and he saw Jay Leno taking of his helmet on the side of the freeway entrance. Charles stopped and gave him a fuse for his Honda bike. Jay later let Charles on the show and he got a picture of him, Jay and Betty White. Later that year I picked up a hitch hiker coming out of Grants Pass, Oregon he said he was in Arcada, California a few years back carving on a piece of wood down town and he said someone tapped him on the shoulder, he turned and it was Jay Leno. He bought the carving from him but I forget what it was, maybe a cross I think. A few weeks later I bumped into a friend at the store and they were talking about her dad just selling a car to Jay Leno.
The Jay Leno Bullet Car Comes to Oregon
About a month after that I was getting some lead spring work at a friend's shop,Bergman's Spring Shop located in Central Point by the Medford airport. I was paying for the job done and looked down and saw that he had a copy of a check paid by Jay Leno. Bergman had done the work on the bullet car. I was so amazed. Later that month I had a strange dream where me and Jay Leno were in my shop doing business, What type I don't remember, but I do remember him being there. That next day after all those years I decided to sand the slab, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. The piece has some amazing wood grain. I sprayed it with a glossy finish and took some pictures to try to possibly get it noticed.
Chanel 5 News: Jay Leno - Connan O'Brien Burl Slab Discovered
It wasn't too much longer when local American Idol Cristi Lee Cook, from the top 8, lived in my town of Selma, Oregon. She was signing autographs at the Rays Food Place. I had decided to ask if I could set up alongside my truck with some of my burl wood turnings I had done out of the burl. They let me set up. It was great! I ended up asking Andrea Coochen form chanel 5 news if she could help me possibly get a cut that I have the Jay Leno Conan O'Brien burl slab in the truck. She gave me a chance to tell my story. Thanks Andrea! I was so happy! Maybe I will be on TV! A bit later I got to met Cristi Lee Cook and asked her since she had been on the show if she could help me get a hold of Jay Leno. She said she didn't have a way of helping me. Later that day when I got home I waited for the 6 o'clock news to see if I made it. It took a bit of time and just when I thought I wasn't going to make it, there i was on tv with the Jay Leno - Conan O'Brien burl slab. One minute ten seconds to be exact. I was so so excited! I felt the time was getting closer to possibly meeting them. I waited for a call and it never came. I even tried e-mailing Jay and Conan but no luck yet. I didn't let it get me down. I held my head up high and said it must not be time. As years past once again I worked on improving my variety of wood products I make out of manzanita and burl wood. I struggled on getting a web page for the last seven years. Finally, recently I have been in the right arena in my life to explore my vision of affordable world class wood products. I love working with the manzanita. It presents some unbelievable wood grains and character like no where else. So time pushes buy and I stay busy improving my work and living my life.
Thanks to all that read this. I hope you enjoyed this story of such evolving mystery.
Hey Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien give me a call!
View Pictures of the Large Madrone Burl
Unloading truck of all the gear and getting ready to work on madrone burl.
My friend Merl working on cutting up trees around large madrone tree.
Picking up the pace Merl, Duane and Butch almost got the area cut up and cleaned.
Duane and Merl handing a strap for me.
Working the strap to the highest point I can reach.
Finally got strap hooked up and all is ready up here, time to dig her out!
Using my dads new Kabota Tractor to dig around large burl.
Got the truck tied off and ready to pull the tree over.
I gave it a hard pull and it broke away and started coming down.
The huge madrone tree fell to the ground with a bang.
Cleaning up and burning brush.
Almost got it all burned up.
The big madrone burl all cleaned up sitting at the burl mill in Murphy Oregon.
The same burl but a shot from other side with some skin still on.
A close up of the big madrone burl. Outer wood is very blonde yellow with tens of thousands of clete like bumps all over.
My friend Duane helping at the burl mill.
Here I am getting ready to cut up the large burl.
And piece by piece I cut the burl up.
A shot of my 1994 Cummins 4x4 at the mill.
Slabbing the burl into slabs for future wood projects.
We almost got it all cut up. it took all day but it was a job and
we ended up with some beautiful wood.
Another shot of Merl and Duane finishing things up. I was
taking the shot and a good one indeed.
Getting the truck backed up to shop to unload into pressure cooker.
Here is a shot of Merl, a good man who helped me the whole way through. Thanks Merl!
Got the steamer door open and we are loading steam vault with all the burl wood to be cooked.
A shot of the inside of the old tuna canner pressure cooker from Washington state.
used to cook burl wood.
Here is a picture of Randy and Merl rapping it up. Got vault door closed ready to fire up boiler.