HARMONY GROVE, Calif. (KGTV) - An Escondido man and his friends are turning an old Torrey Pine into not just the biggest, but the four biggest singular piece of wood tables in the world.
“It was so huge. I just couldn’t say no,” said Bill Toone of the project sitting beneath his feet.
Toone, who is also the executive director of Ecolife Conservation, is working on the Torrey Pine as a side project.
“The tree was probably over a hundred years old so she’s been through a lot of stuff,” he said as they lifted a two-ton slab of the tree to another part of their work yard.
Toone said he is rescuing the tree from being wasted in a landfill or burned for firewood. He says the Torrey Pine was one of the biggest in San Diego County when it finally died. He said the tree, which stood in nearby Harmony Grove, was singed in the 2007 wildfires, was damaged by drought, and attacked by the infamous bark beetles. He decided to turn it into a series of 50-foot tables instead of letting it go to firewood.
“This is a chance to memorialize a giant that reflects a great deal of San Diego’s history,” said Toone. “If all this wood dries well, we’ll be making the first, second, third, and maybe even the fourth largest tables in the world out of a single piece of wood.”
“It’s a species found only in San Diego County and it’s endangered. Why would you want to turn this into firewood?” he added.
Toone said he will probably invest more than $15,000 of his own money for the project. He estimated each 50-foot Torrey Pine table could fetch upwards of $35,000 each.
“It’s a big responsibility but I’ll be really proud of it if it comes off,” said Toone. “It’s special because it’s a Torrey Pine. It’s special because you simply can’t buy wood like this.”