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Fallen trees good for lumber?

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Forum topic by JCamp posted 01-24-2018 02:42 PM 851 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JCamp

877 posts in 754 days


01-24-2018 02:42 PM

How long is a tree good for lumber after its been cut?
I cut a white oak down in late October and talked to a logger that said hed cut it up for me if id bring it to him. Would it still be good?

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might


16 replies so far

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BandsawJeff

52 posts in 404 days


#1 posted 01-24-2018 02:50 PM

White oak should be fine. The outside 1/2” may be slightly spalted but inside the log you shouldn’t even notice.
I cut down a standing dead red oak, left it laying in my yard for 4 years and then had it cut up. It was punky for the first 2” around the outside but the heart of the log was beautiful.

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ArtMann

1158 posts in 1020 days


#2 posted 01-24-2018 02:56 PM

Logs are typically dried in the sawmill yard for several months before they are sawed up.

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MrUnix

7052 posts in 2403 days


#3 posted 01-24-2018 02:58 PM

I use fallen trees almost exclusively, since I’m smack dab in the middle of an oak forest. If they are up off the ground, I let them sit for quite a while – up to a year or more in some cases. If they are in direct contact with the ground however, they will go wonky pretty quick.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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JCamp

877 posts in 754 days


#4 posted 01-24-2018 03:10 PM

It is directly on the ground but is on the side of a real steep hill so its not laying in water or anything like that. Should I drag it up and go a head and take it to be milled or pull it out and set it up off the ground to dry for a bit?

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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jimintx

858 posts in 1788 days


#5 posted 01-24-2018 03:15 PM

How large a piece are you looking at here? I have some small logs that are from oak limbs. I have them under cover but in any controlled environment.

Mine are easy to handle, at about 4” dia, and four to five feet long. I had in mind they could sit to dry for 6 months or more, and then I would try to see what kind of chunks I could get out of them. So admittedly, this is more of an interesting experiment than a serious quest for good lumber.

I don’t have a plan for the bark, and for now it is still on the pieces.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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JCamp

877 posts in 754 days


#6 posted 01-24-2018 03:26 PM

The tree is about 16-18 inches around at the base and shrinks down to around 12-14 inches after about 16 foot or so. There are no limbs the first 20 foot of the log. My thoughts were to cut it into 2 9foot logs so I could get 8+ foot long boards. Or might do a 11 foot chuck and a 7 foot chunks to give me some longer stuff for siding and shorter stuff for projects

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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bondogaposis

5094 posts in 2555 days


#7 posted 01-24-2018 03:39 PM

As long as it hasn’t checked badly it should be fine, having set over fall and winter shouldn’t hurt it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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HerbC

1790 posts in 3063 days


#8 posted 01-24-2018 04:13 PM

Have the log milled into lumber at the earliest opportunity. Logs do not “need” to dry before being milled, indeed they tend to deteriorate due to checking and other drying defects while they remain in log form.

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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avsmusic1

273 posts in 889 days


#9 posted 01-24-2018 04:17 PM



The tree is about 16-18 inches around at the base and shrinks down to around 12-14 inches after about 16 foot or so. There are no limbs the first 20 foot of the log. My thoughts were to cut it into 2 9foot logs so I could get 8+ foot long boards. Or might do a 11 foot chuck and a 7 foot chunks to give me some longer stuff for siding and shorter stuff for projects

- JCamp

So at it’s biggest it’s ~6” in diameter? Or did you mean it’s 16-18” in diameter/across?

White oak is pretty rot resistant so I wouldn’t worry about it too much – even less so if you’re in a place with freezing temps

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Lazyman

2638 posts in 1591 days


#10 posted 01-24-2018 04:25 PM

A log that size will be fine, especially if it was alive when i came down and still has bark on it. You may find that it has some beetles living it in though. There are several types of wood boring beetles that only attack dead or dying trees. The sooner you have it milled the less damage they’ll do.

And make sure that it doesn’t have any nails in it, especially if the tree was growing in your yard. Not fun to find with your saw mill blade or chain saw mill.

-- 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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JCamp

877 posts in 754 days


#11 posted 01-24-2018 05:11 PM

16 inches diameter.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1158 posts in 1020 days


#12 posted 01-25-2018 01:16 AM

I bought some striking spalted pecan from a guy who left the logs in the weather for that very reason.

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tomsteve

879 posts in 1423 days


#13 posted 01-26-2018 11:29 PM


Logs are typically dried in the sawmill yard for several months before they are sawed up.

- ArtMann

typically, large scale sawmills will have sprinklers on the log piles to keep them wet until milling. dry logs dont mill as easy as wet logs. smaller mill operations like to mill fresh or wet wood,too.
keeping logs wet also keeps bugs from hatching.
heres a good read on it
https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/ja/1963/ja_1963_carpenter_001.pdf

another good read

https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/techline/storage-of-softwood-logs.pdf!https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/p36rwf7.jpg!

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johnstoneb

3063 posts in 2376 days


#14 posted 01-27-2018 12:22 AM

The sprinklers also keep logs from drying out and checking.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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msinc

569 posts in 707 days


#15 posted 01-27-2018 03:10 AM



Have the log milled into lumber at the earliest opportunity. Logs do not “need” to dry before being milled, indeed they tend to deteriorate due to checking and other drying defects while they remain in log form.

Herb

- HerbC

This…..don’t think that you can leave a log sit around for a year and that is the same as drying boards. Even cut to firewood length, at least around here, it will lay there and rot before it dries out enough to even get it to burn. Have left firewood sit for a year or more, only to finally split it up and still have to wait for it to dry out to burn. I know full well the ends of a log will crack and check, but that doesn’t do much for the moisture content further in.
Also, I don’t know of any saw mills that leave logs sitting around to “dry”. I’m not saying some wont, not saying in some climates {the desert maybe} it cant be helpful. But again, around here not only do they cut them right away, they often request that you bring in certain logs immediately. Hickory is one off the top of my head.
I wouldn’t worry about a log that was cut down a few months ago, it will be fine. I probably take more logs to saw mills than most guys, I have about seen and tried it all.

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