'Uniquer than most': Two intertwined trees to serve new purpose for Minnesota woodworker

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Mike Larson points to the rings on a tree he estimated to be around 150 years old. Larson noticed two tree branches growing together in an Osakis resident's yard and asked if he could make something out of it. "Every tree has a story," Larson said. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)
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OSAKIS, Minn. — Mike Larson sees many trees on his daily commute, but two in particular caught his eye.

Larson rents a shop in Osakis, Minn., for his business, Edge Grain Masterpieces, so he asked around to see who the property owner was.

It turned out to be Osakis resident Jim Kral. He said he’s lived at his home for 61 years and never noticed the conjoined trees before Larson’s inquiry, even after mowing his yard countless times. Since the trees were dying, Kral and his brother, Steve, gave Larson permission to cut them down.

“We have no idea what happened,” Kral said. “It just looks like two branches made it up there in that tree, and they started growing together. There isn’t anybody around here who has ever seen anything like that.”


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The branches of two Osakis trees grew connected to each other. Mike Larson with Edge Grain Masterpieces asked homeowner Jim Kral to cut the trees down to use for a woodworking piece. (Contributed)

Larson took the intertwined tree to the saw mill Saturday, Aug. 8. He said he plans to make a few benches from the slabs of the trunk and a table base with the twisted branch.

“It was kind of an unusual thing,” Larson said. “It would’ve been nice to get it a few years earlier, but at least we got it while it was still salvageable.”

Larson wants to create a series of tables with unusual tree trunks and timber bases topped with glass. He estimated that he will be able to make an 8-foot table from Kral’s tree once it’s dried out.

If he can bring the tree to a kiln, Larson said it should take around three weeks to dry and prepare for sealing. With newer vacuum kilns, thinner pieces of wood reach a workable moisture level after two weeks.

But the piece from Kral’s tree is 12 inches thick.

If he lets the wood air dry, Larson said the process could take up to two years with fans pointed directly at it or up to five years naturally.

“It’s such an interesting piece that obviously I don’t want to screw it up,” Larson said. “I mean, every tree’s unique, but this one’s uniquer than most.”

Jasmine Johnson joined the Echo Press staff in May 2020 as a general assignment reporter. She grew up in Becker, Minn., and later studied journalism and graphic design at Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minn.
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