Alder Madness

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Forum topic by Woodelf posted 04-08-2008 02:55 AM 1136 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Woodelf's profile


5 posts in 3700 days

04-08-2008 02:55 AM

Hi, up here at Gold Creek the Alders have taken over! There are many many of them along the creek and they crowd out everyone else except the oaks. We would prefer more biodiversity. So it is time to take some down mill them and sell them. Question is, what to do? What is the optimum size of the milled pieces? There are many clear board feet 1’-2’ and even some 3’ in diameter. Do we construct a solar drying kiln? This is Southern Cali Mountains, so we have plenty of heat. We are not professional loggers by any stretch of the imagination although we are physically capable of most procedures and constructions. THis is primarily an event/camping/meditation retreat center. Any suggestions on procedure and ways to maximize profit from our selective cutting of alders would be appreciated…

7 replies so far

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3798 days

#1 posted 04-08-2008 03:06 AM

only one suggestion… make a donation of all these boards to my shop…. They will be put to good use.

I would cut them in 8/4 boards and sell them this way. Hard to find nice 8/4 stock

-- making sawdust....

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 04-09-2008 08:02 PM

Anything over 12” across is worth cutting into lumber. I would tell the sawyer that you want a mix of different thicknesses. This way he can yeild the most bdft from the log. For a solar kiln, it would depend on how much lumber you plan on drying. For one or two trees, then no. If you are going to be cutting alot of trees, then it could be usefull.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4022 days

#3 posted 04-11-2008 07:46 PM

Hi Woodelf,
sounds like you have some nice material there. I have seen a lot of cabinets and flooring come from Alders over the past several years. You will find information on air drying on my website You should not need any special kiln in your area.

As for the length of logs I like 16’ 6” for ease of milling and handling. This is also a marketable length. If you are going to be moving logs with no support equipment other than a pick up then 8’ logs are easier to drag. Let me know if you find a portable mill in your area, I would like to hook up with them.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Woodelf's profile


5 posts in 3700 days

#4 posted 04-14-2008 05:30 AM

Thanks Ron Treebones, your website is very helpful in many ways…I would like to get a yurt from you at some point, would be excellent for these Angeles mountains…and also in NE Oregon where I sometimes roam the Imnaha…

I wonder what result we will have with the alder trees that we cut and have simply piled up in the sun without milling…I have painted their ends with Bitumim, is that completely the wrong thing to do? Would it be better to let the ends breathe?...Will these trees be of any value left thus? We haven’t cut enough to bring in any mill other than an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, and haven’t even got one of those yet… but there are many trees whose days are numbered…the bigger harvest will be next winter when they are bare of leaves and not so sensitive about dying…

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3840 days

#5 posted 05-30-2008 08:52 AM

Contact Woodmizer “” they have a list of guys who own their equipment, they can put you in touch with people in you area. Alaskan chainsaw mills are tough to use, it’s a big learning curve. That and you have a huge amount of waste just from the kerf. That would be my last resort. Clear Alder sells well, it’s nice to work with.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#6 posted 05-31-2008 08:06 PM

Interior designers often request alder for paint-grade work.

It’s stable and machines predictably. It’s not as cheap or
easy to get as it once was. If you have a bunch of trees
to cut, work out the numbers.

I think you will find it will pay to do this right. Hire a guy
with a portable mill to come do the job for you. You may
be able to barter with him some.

If you have the space to store it you will make a lot more
money selling this direct to cabinet shops than if you sell
it to a lumber dealer.

View Woodelf's profile


5 posts in 3700 days

#7 posted 06-03-2008 09:32 PM

Loren, thanks for your advice. It looks like we will just go ahead and get our own sawmill. Most of our trees are less than 2’ diameter so it should be no problem with a smaller portable sawmill. We are looking at using the wood for electric guitar bodies…
Be well,

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