Wood Scavenging #6: Motherload - Osage, Walnut, Cherry!

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Blog entry by Eric M. Saperstein posted 04-05-2013 12:17 AM 1663 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: The Maple Monstrosity! Part 6 of Wood Scavenging series Part 7: Curiously Burl-ee?? »

So we progress … scavenging away finding lonely and abandoned logs to take to the mill.

For those following you’ll see some progression shortly we are picking up walnut, locust, and cedar you previously saw off to the mill. That’s the first real take since the osage and mulberry we picked up from our 2011 scavenging. We will now begin to reap the ROI on the 2012 logs.

We will begin cataloging each slab this weekend as we pick them up and place them into inventory. We’ll also be going back through our storage and making sure we have detailed photos and measurements of each slab. We’re planning to begin a marketing program and also build some additional spec slab tables for a few gallerias. TBD on the details …

Anyway- yesterday I retrieved a load testing load of Osage, Walnut, and Cherry!

So here’s the ideas and that’s all it is now – the Cherry – thinking 3” (12/4) slabs that we will then use to make a few tables and matching benches. The legs will match at 12/4 to the tops. Depending on what we see when they are sliced open an assortment of butterflies and other inlay as required.

The walnut – there’s a large section of several branches coming into the trunk on the walnut – this was cut off the tip for bowls and other turnings. There is a 12ft section, a 6ft section, and an 8ft section. We’re debating just how to slice it up. The 6ft section will probably be thick sliced for coffee tables. The rest may not be all that interesting so we may just 8/4 it but I’m still tempted to go thicker.

The osage – well – here’s the crazy thought as it is a nice odd curve. We slice it flat along the curve to preserve the profile 12/4” thickness. We then take the two center pieces and flip them mirrored and joint the touching edges to bring them together to be a nice wide tabletop. The remaining two slices we then flip to match the profile of the outer edge of the table and turn those to benches. We’d I guess have to make two osage chairs for the ends. Really modern, who knows if it’s marketable but it would be fun to build!?

That’s one load from today – we also picked up a burly maple trunk. We’ll be getting more osage shortly as the trailer just wouldn’t hold any more when we had the mother load on there loaded last night.

Some of the last loads – the cherry is sliced to 10/4 … that’s going into the kiln I think shortly. We have about 12 other logs waiting in line including walnut, locust, maple, and not sure what one strange log was but it looked interesting I have to find out.

I have to go scavenging in a local park and some other places soon and see what they have. We are pending doing some cleanup at friends places for more walnut and some other exotics.

Stay tuned – this is going to get more and more interesting … AND we may just be putting some of this up on the market as we have no idea where we are going to keep all this wood!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

10 comments so far

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3857 days

#1 posted 04-05-2013 12:27 AM

Keep some on the side for your clock!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Woodwrecker's profile


4163 posts in 3626 days

#2 posted 04-05-2013 12:45 AM

I see all sorts of projects hiding in those logs…

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2445 days

#3 posted 04-05-2013 02:09 AM

Good stuff Eric. Makes me wish I had the equipment or room to hunt down fallen wood! Selling is a good option, esp. since you said there was still wood in your dad’s shed from a previous auction. Keep the rare and special and sell the pedestrian stuff :-) What a happy problem!!

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2886 days

#4 posted 04-05-2013 02:18 AM

So how do you show up and get them into the trailer? My parent’s neighbor had their cherry tree cut down last summer except for the easily 2 foot diameter, 10 foot tall straight base which may be available for removal if I could get it into a trailer. Any tricks, hints or secrets?

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3298 days

#5 posted 04-05-2013 02:41 AM

Well – a few things with moving heavy logs …

#1 you need a trailer – and this one is about as light duty as you can get by with for anything heavy. I’m borrowing it until I get one for ourselves. We trade equipment among friends. I have a heavy duty cargo trailer and a shop, other people have machines, etc.

Really I should have a heavy dump trailer or a 10-12K rated flat bed at least. Given $ flow right now – that is not happening. You can get them reasonably I should have jumped on a flat heavy duty 12K rated trailer last year but I missed out.

#2 you need either a heavy duty winch or something to drag the logs up. I have a 12,000lb winch that mounts in a second hitch on the truck and we welded up a yarder setup that mounts on this trailer. This setup will drag a good size log up onto the deck of the trailer. Then you can actually reverse the process through the yarder and pull it off enough to be able to drive out from under it or pull it with another truck/quad.

#3 You use equipment – this load, we had a heavy duty front end loader on site. If you catch the tree guys when they are cutting many will have such equipment. If it’s near a farm, sometimes you can get a farmer or nearby construction company or landscaper to run over and load it on a trailer for you.

#4 You need somewhere to unload / mill – our local mill has machines to lift the logs off. We strap them and use a skid steer w/ a fork lift or a heavy loader. One day I got lucky and they had the big excavator w/ the grippy-grabber to get that big maple burl off. (To get that on we had a big Ford loader – traded favors w/ a friend for that)

Bottom line – you band together with people who have equipment and find a way to trade. Otherwise you are stuck renting or buying it which often negates the value in scavenging the logs.

You can always redneck things – if you have a trailer you can park it on an angle (jack knife it) against the log then take another truck and choker the log through the front rail of the trailer w/ a long cable or chain and drag it up. The first truck holds the trailer steady, the second moves the log. You can use a quad w/ a skidder and drag it right up onto the trailer deck also.

You also need a good choker chain setup and a log roller.

Just be creative, and be careful this stuff is HEAVY!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3298 days

#6 posted 04-05-2013 01:27 PM

Yes – Max we have plenty of osage for a clock. I have not heard back about that river salvaged mahogany / bullet wood yet I will follow up. I’d LOVE one made with that type of material in it.

Derosa – also scroll back in the blog series you’ll see our trailer w/ the yarder rigged up and working. This is how we handle the “smaller” logs. Up to about 20-24” depending on the type of wood, length, and water weight it’ll haul up a good amount. What you see w/ that cherry log in one of the past entries we dragged from about 50ft away right up onto the deck. You’ll also see some of the other borrowed / traded equipment.

If you offer to pay a tree service firewood costs and you show up on their job site they will often load it for you. It saves them transport, cutting, splitting, storage, and waiting for someone to buy it then delivery of the cut wood. They make their $ off the green log w/o any further work. You just need to show up w/ a trailer at the right time/place.

This made so much sense to me w/ the storm to try and salvage what we could. As you can see we’re getting walnut, cherry, spalted maple, osage, locust, cedar, mulberry, etc. We are still hunting some white oak.

Just gonna have to figure out the storage issue – based on the fact that I royally screwed up and bought the wrong house in 1999 … I am now in a really bad position. But life goes on, I will get the house ready to sell and move on hopefully this year. Hopefully to a property where I can store stuff!

I have a few friends w/ properties I may buy a storage container and rent some space on a friends yard for the lumber or put up poll barn and share it w/ him for firewood or something. IDK yet.

Either way – keep scavenging even if you spot logs and tell your local small lumber mills and let them get them you can negotiate a finders fee. Tell them for 10% of the log you’ll find them for them.

Many more images coming soon!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2445 days

#7 posted 04-06-2013 02:20 AM

Those are all really awesome ideas Eric, thanks for elaborating. I personally can only muster the insides of the mrs.’s minivan :-O I should think the only way I can make off with scavenged wood is with a small chainsaw mill. I have a 2hp b.s. capable of resawing at home, but I would have to make it manageable to get it there.

I’m in suburbs, but there is oak, pine, cypress, cedar, magnolia and some other odder stuff like jacaranda, ear tree (podocarpus). The odd stuff to me would be most worthwhile to go out and scavenge. You don’t find stuff like that on store shelves.

Air dry or build a small solar kiln? I don’t think there are kilns available locally.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3298 days

#8 posted 04-06-2013 03:09 AM

To me – air dried wood doesn’t make for good furniture material it’s not really stable. Building a solar kiln is definitely an option all they are is a greenhouse with some specialized circulation setups. I’ve seen plans for convection methods others with fans. You can also setup temperature controlled vents that just open and allow convection.

If you cant do lumber, do turnings. Scavenging material for turning blanks can be done with just about any vehicle. Now – I wouldn’t wanna put stuff in my Camaro but I guess I could put something in the trunk to catch the debris.

Get a trailer hitch for the minivan and hit Tractor Supply or somewhere for less than $1,000 you can get a trailer that’ll hold at least one log. Setup a come-a-long to drag it up you can go budget and simple if you need too.

Listen I’ve started dumping some $ into this whole concept – I have probably 50 logs in various states. IDK if I’m gonna get an ROI or not. I may end up with a ton of wood and sitting on it, I may sell some, I may make furniture. IDK yet. It’s a chance. I may dump it all cheap on ebay or wholesale it back to a local lumber yard if it all flops.

I’ve stayed as cheap as I can, I’d like a 14,000lb rated dump trailer with a hydraulic winch, a whole setup of snatch blocks, rollers, and a nice heavy duty Kubota loader/hoe. I just can’t justify the $60,000 to get that setup. I have to stay within reason to try to profit and let things build.

If you’re pationate about it, you can find materials. If you’re making boxes or smaller stuff cut the logs to 6ft, 4ft, whatever. Then your bandsaw will handle it. Just setup fences and proper support tables.

Whatever it takes to get started, go for it. You’ll be very happy as you start to complete projects with your own harvested wood.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2445 days

#9 posted 04-08-2013 03:53 AM

ah… makes me wish I lived in the sticks! LOL These are all good options, except for the trailer, because I literally have no where to store it, even the folding ones. Thanks for the inspiration, I will keep this in mind after I get the shop in shape ;-)

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3298 days

#10 posted 04-09-2013 03:12 AM

Well storage is a major issue!

And given pending job changes on the IT side, shortly I may be living in a storage container along with my collection of wood and of course my fishing poles, guns, and pots/pans/Wustof knives …

We have a wood shed, a soft in another shed, a rack in my basement, wood in a storage unit, a rack in the basement at the shop, pending using one of my sheds for wood, and we’re looking into alternate locations as I’m planning on putting my house on the market this summer. We’re overflowing with wood.

I have no idea where I’m gonna keep some of this stuff but hey it’s the basis of the wood furniture business so I have to find a way.

I’m hoping to relocate and get a place in the sticks and hopefully have the storage capacity to maintain logs, lumber, and possibly a small mill. I have no desire to be in the lumber business, but if we can manage to supply ourselves that would be great!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

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