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Forum topic by Mark Geserick posted 11-26-2010 07:02 AM 4000 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


11-26-2010 07:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut resource question

Hello everyone. Need some advice on something I’ve not done before. The power company took down a few black walnut trees on my property. I’m planning on taking them to the local sawmill to have them cut into assorted sizes. If I want to end up with lumber that will measure 3/4 inch thickness after drying out and the milling process is complete, what rough thickness should I have the mill cut the green logs? I’m thinking at least a full inch. Or should it be at least 5/4 inches thick?
Also should the wood on the outer rings of the log which have very little dark color be sawn to use for projects as well. Other than the lack of the dark heartwood, will these board dry and mill the same as the heartwood?

Lastly would you recommend quarter sawing them or going with traditional flat sawing the log for most yield?
I’m planning on taking them next week so any comments will be extremely helpful.

Thanks’
Mark

-- Mark, South Jersey


24 replies so far

View BTKS's profile

BTKS

1984 posts in 2924 days


#1 posted 11-26-2010 07:33 AM

It sounds like you have the basic bases all covered. I’d go 5/4 on the thickness. This allows a little easier resawing for matched panels etc too. Not to mention the inevitable variances in boards. A small band saw mill will usually have the greatest inconsistencies vs a blade. But the bandsaw will not waste as much wood. A large stationary professional bandsaw mill will only take about 3/32 kerf vs 3/8 kerf from a blade.
I would go with the flat sawn. You’ll still get roughly 1/3 or so of your final product will be quarter sawn and you’ll save about 25% waste, not to mention the extra time and labor to flip the log and mill at odd angles. At least these are rough numbers I have picked up from various sawyers over the years.
As for the pulp wood on black walnut. This wood has reacted the same as the heart wood in some previous projects of mine. I know one guy who takes the sawdust from milling, wets it and packs it around the pile of lumber. He then wraps the entire stack in black plastic and lets it sun bake. The tannins in the dust and heartwood bleed into the pulp wood for greater dark yield. I prefer the contrast of the natural pulpwood myself. It’s a technique and some peoples preference but not really mine.
Sorry this is such a rambling mess. Just so off the cuff thoughts.
Hope this helps. Sounds like you’ve done your research already. Best of luck.
BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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tkh

8 posts in 2267 days


#2 posted 11-26-2010 08:00 AM

Make sure you paint the ends of the logs with anchorseal or something like this to seal the ends to keep logs from end-checking.  I have had good luck with either 4/4 or 5/4 boards, as long as you sticker the wood evenly and place weight on the top of the pile or strap the pile with tie-downs.  As far as inconsistent in the cuts, I have a Timberking 1600, and if I am cutting Walnut that has more value then say Pine, I will make sure I have a sharp blade to cut with.  My bandmill cuts very accurate boards, the only time you get a difference in thickness would be stress in the wood, and the wood moving while you are cutting.  Walnut does not do this, cuts very nice.   As far a drying, Air Dried is the best to retalin color, if you are in a hurry then dry it in a kiln.  Most woodworkers prefer Walnut Air Dried, that is why I dry mine in a Solar Wood Kiln.  Have your wood plain sawn, quartersawn Walnut does not produce the effect like a white oak would.  As far a the sapwood, if you want fine furniture grade, cut out the sapwood, this will likely happen when the log is squared into a cant.  If you want the sapwood on some pieces, ask the sawyer to make a few cuts with the live edge on both sides with the bark, you can do this on the top and bottom of the log, will take longer and remember time is money when you are cutting logs into lumber.

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Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


#3 posted 11-26-2010 05:50 PM

Thanks very much to both tkh and BTKS. THIS SITE NEVER LET’S ME DOWN WHEN I NEED ANSWERS QUICKLY!
One question I failed to ask… When I’m cutting the logs to length, I chose to cut them no longer than 4 feet. I figure in most projects that would be ideal length without much waste. In your experience is there any need to make them longer? The 4 foot length also allows for ease in moving them around and getting them to the sayer.

-- Mark, South Jersey

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3365 days


#4 posted 11-26-2010 06:06 PM

A 4’ length is a PITA for a sawyer, harder to clamp down and more log loading (2X as much as an 8’). I charge by the hour for shorts and small diameter logs because I just cannot make enough bft with all the messing around and not really milling.
I would ask the guy you plan on taking them to if he would even mess with shorts (some guys can’t/won’t)
6’ is about as short as I want to see around here if I am custom milling.

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Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


#5 posted 11-27-2010 05:01 AM

I can appreciate the Pita work that you feel it is. But I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. There aren’t many places I can take the wood locally. I didn’t cut the trees the power co. did. It would certainly be a shame not to harvest the wood because they are shorter lengths. However the mill I’m taking it to said he can charge by the hour or by the cut. That being the case is it not possible to cut shorts because of clamping them down or is it just Pita? If it makes any difference the sayer has a machine with a large circular blade, not a band saw blade like yours. I’m making that assumption with your mill.

-- Mark, South Jersey

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3365 days


#6 posted 11-27-2010 05:42 AM

I don’t know if he can clamp them down or not, that is why I said ask him. (did you do that?) I built my own deck to handle shorts, being a niche sawyer. Most manufactured sawmills are not set up to do them. For sure make the trees into lumber since they are already down, don’t waste them. But don’t cut them so short for easy handling on your end they are worthless at the mill is all I was advising.
The difference between a circle mill and one like mine is he is going to make a lot more sawdust per cut = less lumber. And it’s going to be rougher sawn = thicker initial cuts to get your finished usable dimension.

View WIwoodworker's profile

WIwoodworker

65 posts in 3158 days


#7 posted 11-27-2010 06:11 AM

If you’re looking for a finished dimension of 3/4” there’s no reason to cut it more than 4/4.

-- Allen, Milwaukee, WI

View Mark Geserick's profile

Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


#8 posted 11-27-2010 06:42 AM

Ok. And thanks Daren for getting back. If you want, I’ll let you know how I make out.
should be going sometime next week. Hope your holiday went well>>>

-- Mark, South Jersey

View Karson's profile

Karson

35034 posts in 3860 days


#9 posted 11-28-2010 03:58 AM

Good Luck Mark.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Mark Geserick's profile

Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


#10 posted 11-28-2010 06:46 AM

Hey Karson. Haven’t seen you since the picnic in SJ. at Lee’s shop.
I’ve been reading all of your posts. I’m retired now and still don’t know how you find the time to do all the work that you do.

-- Mark, South Jersey

View TheWoodsman's profile

TheWoodsman

65 posts in 2356 days


#11 posted 11-28-2010 04:13 PM

Just so you know, when you cut according to the 4/4 scale on a mill such my Woodmizer LT40HD, the blade drops about 1 1/4 per board cut. When you subtract blade kerf, you get boards that are about 1 1/8” green and close to 1” to 1 1/16” dry (depending on species). This is the standard. Remember, that you need the extra to allow you to plane out cupping and straighten out the boards so don’t try to cut it too close.

-- I'm the Woodsman . . . the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter" Ingjaldsson.

View Mark Geserick's profile

Mark Geserick

35 posts in 3410 days


#12 posted 11-29-2010 07:03 AM

That makes sense. with a mill that uses a circular blade does the same hold true. Ask the sawyer to give me a yield of 1” plus?

-- Mark, South Jersey

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TheWoodsman

65 posts in 2356 days


#13 posted 11-29-2010 09:21 PM

I’m not too familiar with the scale on circular mills but I am gonna say “YES”. When I used to do all thebuying for the company I used to work for, I would order our 4/4 in as “S2S 15/16”. Some also call this “Hit or Miss” because, while most 4/4 lumber will clean up at 15/16” some of the “less flat” boards will not.

I’ve seen less knowledgeable guys cut lumber at an actual 1” thickness and then you can’t get it to clean up at more than 5/8”. I would actually ask the guy, “If I have you cut the lumber on 4/4 scale, how thick will the green boards be ?” The answer should be around 1 1/16 to 1 3/16”. This will also help determine if he is clueless or not. : )

-- I'm the Woodsman . . . the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter" Ingjaldsson.

View Dan's profile

Dan

3630 posts in 2340 days


#14 posted 11-29-2010 10:04 PM

I was under the impression that when milling boards you want to end up with about an inch and then you can joint and plane them down to 3/4 from there.

If the trees are coming from the city they may have metal in them. Some saw mills will freak out about that so you should check before hand and make sure they wont charge you an arm and leg for a blade if they hit metal.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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TheWoodsman

65 posts in 2356 days


#15 posted 11-30-2010 12:55 AM

Right. You should be close to 1” after drying the lumber. That means you want something closer to 1 1/8” or so when freshly sawn.

-- I'm the Woodsman . . . the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter" Ingjaldsson.

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