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Harvesting walnut lumber

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Forum topic by Blake posted 09-21-2011 03:15 AM 1996 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Blake

1 post in 1226 days


09-21-2011 03:15 AM

I hope to have access pretty soon to what is left of two old/large walnut trees in eastern North Carolina. The trees have shed branches and, as trees go, look pretty ugly. They are still alive but most of the older branches are down. I plan to collect the shed branches and see if there is any salvageable wood but am unsure about how to handle the main trunks which are approx three feet in diameter. I will probably be air drying the lumber. When should it be cut? My initial thought is for two inch boards. Should I try for slabs or what? This is potentially a lot of wood and I don’t want to mess it up.

Thanks for the help.

-- BlakeWD


14 replies so far

View therookie's profile

therookie

887 posts in 1517 days


#1 posted 09-21-2011 03:16 AM

IMPO I think you should slab the wood seal the ends and dry it.

-- http://aewoodworks.webs.com

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1175 posts in 1165 days


#2 posted 09-21-2011 03:33 AM

I would cut a mix of thicknesses. Cut some 16/4 (4” thick for mantles), some 12/4 (table legs), some 8/4 table top stock), some 6/4 (table top stock), and 4/4, especially if you are planning to sell any as thick walnut is hard to find, at least around here.

I have made the mistake of cutting logs into a pile of say 4/4 lumber, and the first thing that you know, you need some that is 6/4 or 8/4…........

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View superstretch's profile

superstretch

1504 posts in 1383 days


#3 posted 09-21-2011 05:17 AM

+1 to what WDHLT15 said

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 1740 days


#4 posted 09-21-2011 08:31 AM

Agree with wdhlt15 said vewrbatim. One point, wait until late fall when the sap is down, seal the ends and sticker. put the biggest stuff on top to keep the smaller stuff in line. Don’t forget, I get 1/3 delivered for my contribution. Don’t forget.

Steve

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

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1175 posts in 1165 days


#5 posted 09-21-2011 02:13 PM

Also, put the best quality stock on the bottom of the stack as the lower grade stock above will provide weight to keep the better stuff flat.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1349 days


#6 posted 09-21-2011 03:54 PM

The advice to have a mix of thicknesses sawn is good. Re- sawing thick slabs can be problematic and wasteful. Always include 8/4 stock for legs. Have an idea of what you will want to build with this lumber so you can make an educated plan of action.
Unless you will be air drying when the moisture content can get down to 6-8% you might consider finding a dehumidification kiln to bring the moisture content down.
Be very attentive to sticking the lumber correctly.

-- Barbara

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

725 posts in 1647 days


#7 posted 09-27-2011 12:17 AM

On trees of that size I like to slice slabs off of two opposing sides, down to about 4” from the pith on each side; then I’ll tip the log up and slice off 1-2” lumber, being 8” wide, for legs, stringers, etc. Go to 3” from the pith if you would prefer 6” wide lumber. I throw the piece with the pith away. Makes for nice opportunities for tables of the same tree or selling people what they want; it also makes nice looking lumber, with nice centers and even looks.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3500 posts in 2650 days


#8 posted 09-27-2011 12:32 AM

You lucky dog. Resaw in various thicknesses, coat the ends, sticker, and dry slowly unless you have a drying kiln avaliable. Some would say to steam the wood to even out the color differences between sap and heart wood.
Most mills will just flat saw the logs, so you’ll have come pith (the very center of the logs). THat isn’t a bad thing, but most would not want that “center” cut in the finished wood.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1349 days


#9 posted 09-27-2011 02:01 AM

I would be one to say not to steam Walnut. It changes the wonderful color. The reason Walnut is usually flat sawn is that is the best way to show off the figure. If you want to have the wood dried, look for a dehumidification kiln.

-- Barbara

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1175 posts in 1165 days


#10 posted 09-27-2011 02:39 AM

I’m with Barbara. It is beautiful air dried.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1612 days


#11 posted 09-27-2011 03:28 AM

I might be wrong but are you sure you want boards out of the branches? I’ve always heard they tend to twist due to being in tension. Anyone care to comment?

-- Life is good.

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1349 days


#12 posted 09-27-2011 09:59 PM

While it is true that some branches have tension wood it has been my experience that some Walnut branches do not. Or at least don’t have enough to throw them away. If they are large and if the wood appears to be highly figured, I would take the chance.

-- Barbara

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1160 days


#13 posted 09-27-2011 10:18 PM

If you have inside space to sticker the walnut-Let me add to all the good advice so far,make sure that the first course of bunks(squares on the ground) are straight,square,and level. Any unevenness will wind up in the dried lumber. Anyway, back to drying,if you can get a temperature differential between the inside and outside of at least 15degrees you can dry the wood a bit quicker.Also the old rule is 1 year to the inch for natural air drying(outside). It would also be wise to invest in a moisture meter.
Hope this helps.
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View Jacob Lucas's profile

Jacob Lucas

100 posts in 1121 days


#14 posted 09-29-2011 04:43 PM

What a nice find, and a great opportunity to get a good amount of Walnut! If you have a space available, given that your driven to dry the lumber yourself, dehumidification kilns are a joke to make. Theres plans for them all over, they basically consist of a dehumidifier from somewhere like lowes, and a fan to even blow across the lumber. Just some food for thought. -Jacob

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