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Black Walnut tree value?

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Forum topic by Mayflycarpentry posted 03-10-2016 02:10 AM 1689 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mayflycarpentry

9 posts in 283 days


03-10-2016 02:10 AM

I have the opportunity to buy a black walnut tree, and just so happen to have a friend with a sawmill. It was a large tree that the owners just cut down after standing dead for two years, and there is lots of lumber. Besides the fact that it is probably one out of five black walnut trees in southern Colorado, I know this is a good opportunity, and am aware of the potential income and sweet furniture I could make from it. My question is, how much is it worth?

I can probably get at least 10-15 slabs that will probably be 18” wide by 6-7 feet long, and several dozen smaller slabs or just milled lumber. I have never milled up a tree before, but I think these are pretty conservative guesses on how much I’ll get out of it. The tree is already cut down into 8-12’ pieces. The lady threw out $600, is this a good number? What would you guys pay for this?


17 replies so far

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1938 days


#1 posted 03-10-2016 02:27 AM

Measure the small end diameter of each log inside bark and measure the length. Use the International 1/4” log rule to calculate the board foot yield and multiply that by 1.15. That should approximate the yield of lumber in board feet. If the tree averages #1 common grade, the wholesale price for kiln dried 8/4 walnut at a hardwood sawmill F.O.B sawmill (loaded on a tractor trailer) is about $3.00 per BF for #1 common grade. This is what the wholeslaers and lumber brokers pay at the sawmill before adding a freight or hauling charge. Subtract about $.50/bf to get it sawed, and subtract about $.50/bf for kiln drying. That leaves about $2.00/bf. Multiply that by the yield calculated from above, and that is what I would offer.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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joey502

487 posts in 980 days


#2 posted 03-10-2016 02:33 AM

What is her plan to get the logs out of her yard if you do not buy it? Is she wanting you to pay $600 to clean her mess up? Is she trying to recover the coat of cutting the tree down? If so i would lower the price considerably.

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Mayflycarpentry

9 posts in 283 days


#3 posted 03-10-2016 02:49 AM

I’m pretty sure she plans to try and sell it.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#4 posted 03-10-2016 03:01 AM

Well if it’s already cut she better hurry

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Mayflycarpentry

9 posts in 283 days


#5 posted 03-10-2016 03:11 AM

do I need to worry that its going to already be rotten? It looked pretty solid from what I could tell, but she had it cut in November and then it snowed, and the ground is just now dry enough to get a truck in to it…which is why she’s waiting.

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AZWoody

693 posts in 686 days


#6 posted 03-10-2016 04:27 AM

I haven’t had to pay for any trees yet. Most people who cut a tree down or who have had one blow over is going to have to pay some kind of disposal fee to get rid of it. I just offer them an alternative. Sometimes, what I do have to pay though is for my trailer to be loaded.

As for it sitting over the winter, I wouldn’t worry that much about rotting. What would worry me is the tree being dead for 2 years. That could mean bad wood inside. Or, it might mean a lot of spalting (which be nice actually). You’ll get some good wood out of it I’m sure but I wouldn’t think of paying for it based on what it would yield if it was a living tree, just cut or fallen.

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tomsteve

394 posts in 681 days


#7 posted 03-10-2016 01:14 PM

although valuable, it would be wise when negotiating a price to explain every aspect of work involved to get it from the yard to sellable lumber.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#8 posted 03-10-2016 02:09 PM

To parallel what others have said, when you make your offer (including how you’ll remove it and the conditions & liability assumption of said removal) give it an expiration date or make sure it goes down weekly (or daily) as the value of a log laying on the ground will go down too.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

694 posts in 849 days


#9 posted 03-10-2016 05:47 PM

A few thoughts…
Don’t underestimate milling waste in your estimate of the number of slabs. Depending upon their equipment and approach to sawing, they may first square it up and depending upon the mill’s saw, you’ll lose another 1/4” of wood for each kerf between the slabs. Also, don’t forget about how much the logs taper, especially logs from the top of the tree.

Assuming your estimate is accurate and you can really get 10-15 18”x6’ slabs and assuming 2” slabs, just doing the math, the yield would be 180-270 BF. At $600, the cost would be $3.33 – $2.22 per board foot before transportation, milling and kiln costs. If the slabs are only 1” thick, double that cost per BF (and double the kerf waste).

Don’t forget to include loading and hauling costs, not to mention delivery or pickup costs of the finished lumber when comparing to your local costs for walnut. You didn’t mention what the diameter of the logs are so the costs of loading and hauling could be significant if they are too big to be loaded and hauled yourself and if they are small enough to load and haul yourself, then I question if you can really get that many 18” slabs. You might be able to find someone with a portable sawmill that could eliminate log loading and hauling so you just haul away the lumber and clean up if the lady will let you do that. Check whether whoever mills them will charge you for a blade if they hit a nail or something and destroy a blade. Trees from yards are notorious for having nails in them.

Assuming my math and logic are sound, I don’t think someone with a mill would pay more than about $200-300. I’d offer her less than $600 and if she rejects it tell her to call you if she changes her mind. It would likely cost her $300 just to have them hauled away, at least where I live.

Whew! As usualy, I got a little carried away with my response.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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noblevfd

48 posts in 2919 days


#10 posted 03-10-2016 09:06 PM

You don’t need to worry that it is already down. I came across a walnut log that had been cut for 10 plus years measured 22 inches at small end of 15 ft log and got close to 300bf walnut last a long time in the weather Hope you get it can’t beat WALNUT

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#11 posted 03-10-2016 10:47 PM



walnut last a long time in the weather

- noblevfd

You must live in a different part of the country than me, in Ohio we have bugs and rain.

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Mayflycarpentry

9 posts in 283 days


#12 posted 03-11-2016 05:26 AM

Thanks for all the input. Very helpful. So my friend with a saw mill just happens to own it. He does not mill for a living, just a hobby and is going to teach me and let me mill the tree himself, so the only milling cost is he wants me to buy him a new blade…and my time.

Another friend of mine lives about a mile from where the tree is located and owns a tractor and trailor, so I’m going to try and recruit his help with loading it up, maybe pay him with a live edge coffee table,in something down the road. So as you see, my,costs are very minimal. I think I’m going to offer her $300 and see what she says.

Thanks again for the helpful input.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

694 posts in 849 days


#13 posted 03-11-2016 01:11 PM

Sounds like a good starting point. You don’t have to tell her that your buddies are helping you out to reduce your out of pocket expenses.

Make sure you post some pictures of the process and results or at least a before and after picture if you work out a deal. I’d volunteer to help if you were anywhere nearby.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2152 days


#14 posted 03-12-2016 02:56 AM



Measure the small end diameter of each log inside bark and measure the length. Use the International 1/4” log rule to calculate the board foot yield and multiply that by 1.15. That should approximate the yield of lumber in board feet. If the tree averages #1 common grade, the wholesale price for kiln dried 8/4 walnut at a hardwood sawmill F.O.B sawmill (loaded on a tractor trailer) is about $3.00 per BF for #1 common grade. This is what the wholeslaers and lumber brokers pay at the sawmill before adding a freight or hauling charge. Subtract about $.50/bf to get it sawed, and subtract about $.50/bf for kiln drying. That leaves about $2.00/bf. Multiply that by the yield calculated from above, and that is what I would offer.

- WDHLT15

I second Danny’s advice with one caution: I recently traded sawing for some 24” walnut logs cut standing dead. The ends of the logs were totally solid with no rot or soft spots. They were rotten down the pith and filled with big black carpenter ants. Sawed some nice slabs but had a LOT of waste.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1938 days


#15 posted 03-13-2016 01:41 AM

Andy,

Some customers like those carpenter ant cavities in the slabs. Hopefully, you can find some of those customers.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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