This cross is made from the trunk and tap root of a West Texas Mesquite tree. The seed became a tree on the bank of the Bitter Creek, Nolan County, Sweetwater, Texas, sometime in the late 1800's. The tree grew for an estimated 35 to 45 years. It was cut and burned down to a stump and submerged in 1930 when Bitter Creek was dammed to become Sweetwater Lake. The stump remained under water until 2002 when the lake receded due to drought. During the time it was submerged the current of the water eroded away about 2 feet of ground around the trunk. This erosion exposed the tap root and eroded all the sap wood and bark, leaving the heart of the stump and tap root. The stump was harvested in the fall of 2004 and made into this cross.
The stumps shown are about 3' tall and range from about 3 to 8' in diameter. The original ground level is near the top and the "branches" are actually the exposed roots. I was able to harvest about 8 of these stumps and make a number of crosses from this beautiful wood.
- Jay Stovall, Odessa, Texas
This article originally appeared in the Woodworker's Journal eZine.
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