The year was 1986, and the last farm in my grandfather's estate was to be sold. The two of us had hunted deer on this farm, made hay together and when he was 89, we went for a last walk to see his beloved hickory trees. To top it all off the farm is at the edge of nowhere. What a lovely place. He always called this the rattlesnake farm and it did a fine job raising them, still does.
About seven years after the purchase, a wind damaged and uprooted several of the larger oaks and hickories; therefore, a logger was contacted about removing and hauling them to a small mill. Four thousand board feet were cut from those logs and placed in my mother's garage. At that point a decision was made to sell some of the lumber and a company name was needed. From the woods of the rattlesnake farm was born Rattlesnake Woods.
In 1996, Rattlesnake Woods officially became a company selling dimensional lumber in the state of Wyoming. Lumber at this time was obtained by collecting logs, cutting them into boards, and drying at a local mill. Due to the poor quality of some smaller logs I puzzled over their destiny. My policy at the time and now was to allow no log to go unused which means some smaller slabs were cut from these logs. These slabs made mantels, benches, coffee tables, end tables and even legs. Smaller slabs are still available as are wider longer slabs perhaps better used for tables, counter tops or desks.
Since selling the dimensional part of the business to George Hoff, I have concentrated on finding trees suitable for making interesting slabs. Good slab trees may have different characteristics than a good lumber trees. A slab tree should have character in the form of limbs, crouches, sweep, and any form or structural defect that will produce a figured slab. However, I never overlook a beautiful straight tree for slabs as some people like knots and some don't.