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Forum topic by Pacdad posted 07-24-2010 03:36 AM 1374 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 3122 days

07-24-2010 03:36 AM

Hey Fellow LJ’s. I have just been given access to a pile of blown down trees, mostly Maple and Elm, with a little Oak on the side. What is the best way to deal with this. Some of these trees are over 4 feet in diameter. I can chain saw to a manageable size, and I have a 12 inch band saw. How should I cut this stuff and how to dry so I can use it? How long do you have to wait before you can use it in projects? If you can not tell, I AM NEW TO THIS WOOD WORKING STUFF. Enjoying small easy projects right now. But looking at doing some tables and small printer stands soon. Thanks, Lennie.

3 replies so far

View Sodbuster's profile


45 posts in 3255 days

#1 posted 07-24-2010 06:20 AM


Nuthin’ easy about this, but maybe worth it if you can find a market for the wood or have a use for that kind of volume. Do you have a tractor to drag these to a suitable location for a bandsaw or swingblade type portable sawmill to get to them? If so, a frontend loader on the tractor will be worth a lot, if not so equipped, you’d need to place the logs such that they can be rolled onto the lift arms of the saw. Of course, another route is to truck the logs to a local sawmill. Expect them to be leery of any possible metal in the logs. 40” diameter are serious logs, not every sawmill can accommodate them. Regardless of sawmill type, check to see their min and max sizes and lengths. Small, crooked and knotty logs usually good only for firewood. To reduce end checking while still logs as well as after sawn, a good idea to end coat with Anchorseal or next best, any old latex paint right after sawing and bucking to length. Leave a few extra inches for end checking loss.

Hard (sugar) maple worth a lot more than any of the soft maples, especially if mostly sapwood (white). Its usually felled and sawn in the winter because it sap stains quickly in warm weather. Right after sawing, the wood needs to be carefully stacked on stickers to air dry for several months, white oak about a year to each inch of thickness, most others air dry much faster, despite the old advice to the contrary. Best under cover, but with lots of ventilation through and around the stack. Next step, kiln drying if you’re serious about making furniture out of it. Best you can do air drying is usually 12 to 15% moisture content, depending on your climate. Wood for furniture generally has to get down to around 7%. Also, the one and ONLY way to kill powder post beetles, the only kind that stay and feed in dry wood, is to get that wood up to 130 degrees all the way through for at least 5 hours. Gotta be pretty dry before getting to that temp otherwise a lot of degrade.

As you can see, there’s a reason you pay pretty well for dry, surfaced hardwoods at a lumberyard. Best bet, take a look at That’s for professionals, but their archives, available for free, will have almost more info than you can stand in the Sawing and Drying forum. Pay particular attention to the moderator’s posts, Prof. Gene Wengert. A true expert in this endeavor.

Good luck, be safe!

Merle Clark

-- M Clark, Georgia

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3162 days

#2 posted 07-26-2010 10:56 PM

I’ve been nabbing trees for a couple of years in an attempt at keeping them from the firewood pile, and the first thing I’ll tell you is that they are HEAVY! You will need equipment to safely move them; dragging them around is a poor alternative as it packs dirt into the bark which will dull the sawyers blade (unless they have a debarker). Find a local person with a mobile saw and see what they would be able to do; you may need to snoop around to find someone with tooling big enough to handle the big ones. Your 12” saw is for later. If you can put together a deal to get it all out and sliced, figure out what you want to do with the wood in order to decide on how to slice it. Most people like to slice it up around 5/4 so it will shrink down to a thick inch; easier to sell that way and it dries quicker. Table slabs, gunstocks and the like require thicker wood.

I visit Woodweb as well, check out their “knowledge base” section; you will find lots and lots of reading that will help you. Keep in mind that there are similarities and differences of opinions everywhere, you will need to decide on what will work for you.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3255 days

#3 posted 07-27-2010 06:31 AM


The other guys are right. Be CAREFUL. People get hurt fooling around with bi9g trees. Contact Woodmizer to find a portable sawmill in your area to come to your location. Also ather mfgs of portable sawmills. If they’re urban trees, thevalue goes way down because of the danger of metal in them. Hope you get nice stuff out of it.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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