This week in urban logging #1: Storm damaged tree milling (picture heavy)

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Blog entry by Daren Nelson posted 06-12-2008 07:13 PM 2352 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of This week in urban logging series Part 2: Spalting logs, it's just a matter of time. »

I have not milled all the trees that were dropped off here after the severe weather we have been having the last couple weeks (some days I cannot mill because of heavy rain). I thought I would start a blog series about what goes on around here at the mill. I will add to it as notable urban logs come in. All these pictures are stuff I have milled in the last 7 days, weather permitting. Just a few shots of the pieces I found interesting/different.

Unusual white oak, very colorful grain and pattern.

I got a decent little stack of 12”-13” wide lumber off that one tree.

A part of a blow down walnut crotch, a tornado ripped it to shreds.

Not a huge pile, but pretty neat. (and free)

More lumber from the same walnut tree, interesting looking book matched lumber. The boards are 12” wide each.

Another smaller walnut crotch from the same property. 24” wide and 36” long

Again, not a big pile…but every one just lovely.

I got a very large hard maple dropped off too.

It was lighting struck and the lightning did me a huge favor and blew a perfect 1/4 out to start milling. The log is over 50” across, too big for my mill. I will have to finish quartering it with a chainsaw.

The 1/4 on the mill is 24” wide. I milled it already but it was nothing super special so no pictures, just old hard maple.

The tree service dropped off several logs 24”-36” diameter. Here are a couple.

I did mill out one of the small maple crotches this morning. The pictures don’t do the figure justice it sure is pretty. Each flitch is 20” wide and 36” long.

Speaking of flitches. The guy who dropped off that load of walnut the tornado destroyed also brought some really short pieces he managed to save (vultures were already there cutting it for firewood). I though maybe these little 3’-4’ pieces would make a neat live edge small table. One idea I had was use 3 (4?) and make a book self/shelving unit of some kind. Stack the flitch shelves in the order they where in the log.

25 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3958 days

#1 posted 06-12-2008 07:34 PM

That’s some great looking wood. And the price is right!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3698 days

#2 posted 06-12-2008 07:48 PM

This is really cool. I particularly appreciate the photo where you added the writing about the curl. I never exaclty understood what caused those paterns, but this made it as simple as ever to visualize. I hope you can keep posting this stuff. I love seeing your finds.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4139 days

#3 posted 06-12-2008 08:07 PM

That’s some good looking wood.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Splinters's profile


190 posts in 4153 days

#4 posted 06-12-2008 08:38 PM

Very nice looking wood…good score!!

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3875 days

#5 posted 06-12-2008 10:01 PM

I noticed in the picture of the little walnut flitches on the pallet there is a pile of “stuff” off to the left. Just for the curious here is a picture of that pile. I have collected a few burls too (not just this week obviously) from yard trees that died/had to be removed.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3966 days

#6 posted 06-12-2008 10:23 PM

Never enough wood, eh? Thanks for the photos…lots of great looking stuff.

Do you coat the crotch figure in addition to the ends? In other words, in your practice, do you take any extra measures to seal up crotch wood more than any other wood?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View barlow's profile


129 posts in 3710 days

#7 posted 06-12-2008 10:38 PM

The price is right, especially having them dropped off, but watch for shake, storm damaged timber is notorious for causing shake in the logs. I know a local mill that was bringing in rail car loads of bolts fron southern WI after a storm had went through and almost every one contained shake. Shake is caused from the tree rocking back and fourth in the wind cause the grain to basically seperate.

-- barlow

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3698 days

#8 posted 06-12-2008 10:41 PM

Does that only apply to trees that rock enough to break, or can the “shake” occur and the tree still looks fine from the outside? Just curious.

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 06-12-2008 10:46 PM

No Dorje I just sealed the end grain like it was a normal board. I have sawn alot of walnut and maple crotch without problems where the feathered part would crack, it stays together very well since it is such tight/interlocking grain. I cannot say that about all species though, just these 2 I have the most experience with.

That white oak I milled I am having problems with the 8/4. The 4/4 is drying just fine, looking great. It has been very warm here (90 degrees) and very low humidity. I am getting some ugly surface check in the 8/4, bummer. Glad I only milled a couple pieces that thick.

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3871 days

#10 posted 06-12-2008 10:54 PM

I’ve just spent ten minutes trying to decide which piece I’d choose, but it’d too difficult Daren! Some beautiful pieces there. My sort of wood.! Thanks for taking the time to share it.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3875 days

#11 posted 06-12-2008 10:59 PM

barlow, I am familiar with shake. I know you did not mean anything just trying to be helpful thanks, but I have been milling a little while ;).

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3792 days

#12 posted 06-12-2008 11:17 PM


This is some gorgeous wood that you have milled. The price is right too and you are doing an invaluable service to the community as well. You are helping to get rid of storm damaged trees and, instead of simply putting it in a landfill or (gasp) burning it, you are redirecting it into wood projects where the wood will “live” again.

Well done!!

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4069 days

#13 posted 06-12-2008 11:22 PM

Lucky Dawg! Got a Mill!
Great looking wood!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 3844 days

#14 posted 06-12-2008 11:58 PM

If I had all that to pick from, it would be hard to make a decision! What a windfall!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3737 days

#15 posted 06-13-2008 12:01 AM

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Thanks for the post Daren.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

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