I have cut a lot of logs over the years and I have always been impressed at how beautiful some of the wood looks inside. I always wondered if there wasn't something I could do with it besides burn it for firewood. But how can you make anything from trees without the large scale professional tools and a mill? I discovered there is a way, but I warn you its not an easy project.
A perfect project for this idea is to make a hardwood floor with wood from locally grown trees. There are three common hardwood trees in northeast Montana, they are the Ash, the Siberian Elm and the Russian Olive. Russian Olive wood is probably the most distinctive being almost chocolate colored, it is a very beautiful wood. However virtually no one uses it for anything other than burning. Though it its the softest of the three woods it is still a hardwood so it will work for a floor. Russian Olive trees are usually not very big. They do not produce large straight trunks and they often grow crooked in many directions. This makes it a very poor candidate for milling or for even getting large pieces out of it. The Siberian elm is often thought of as a junk tree, a nuisance and/or a weed tree. It puts out huge amounts of seeds in the spring which sprout everywhere and the seedlings are tough to remove once they get a foothold. It usually grows in more urban areas. The deer love to eat it so you don't find to many of them in the wooded areas. There are many types of elms and elm wood is known to be a beautiful wood, but also a difficult wood to work with. It has the tendency to split, crack and warp so it is not used that often for wood projects. The only tree in the group that has a good reputation is the the Ash.
Almost all of the wood floors that you will come across are made of long boards. That's nice but it is a near impossibility to get long lengths from these trees, especially without any kind of mill. So what can you do with short pieces? I finally found an answer to that while looking up yet more information on hardwood floors. There is a tiling method that uses a rhombus (a diamond or squashed square) and it requires small pieces of 3 different types or colors of wood. A perfect fit for what I have. You can see more information on rhombus tiling at this Wikipedia site.
Cutting up logs and turning them into 2 inch diamonds, yep a crazy idea. That's what I am going to show you how to do in this instructable.