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Forum topic by medsker posted 12-31-2011 03:35 AM 1154 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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124 posts in 2552 days

12-31-2011 03:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut milling

This winter my Dad and I have been working on using a chainsaw mil to cut slabs from a large walnut tree that fell on our farm. It’s been a learning experience, but we are getting a lot of great looking walnut from the project. My question is how thick should we cut it? How much will it warp, shrink etc. and once the wood is dried how much does the planing process remove? We had been cutting some at 5/4 and thought that would be enough that after it dries and then planed down we could still get a 3/4 inch board out of it. Thoughts? Thank you.

7 replies so far

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2389 days

#1 posted 12-31-2011 03:49 AM

Theoretically a 4/4 board should plane to 13/16. How much of that is real depends on how much it twists and a lot of that depends on how it grew and how it is handled after it is cut. Sticker is essential and painting the end of the board is sometimes recommended to assist in controlling checking. Others will disagree. I have some walnut that I cut by hand out of large limbs that were left on a road clearing project and they are probving pretty stable. I also have some cut from other limbs that are useful maybe for skis.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 2409 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 04:14 AM

I guess it would depend on if you have any uses in mind like a project where you know you will need some 8/4 stock or 6/4 stock. I think what you are doing is good so that if some warpage does occur you should be able to get the most common and used thickness, 4/4. Be sure to sticker well and on a level surface where it will get good air movement all around and I would definitely seal the endgrain. Congrats and enjoy your free, homemilled lumber. Free wood is always good.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View medsker's profile


124 posts in 2552 days

#3 posted 12-31-2011 05:14 AM

Ok sounds like we are on the right track then. I am painting the ends to seal it and stickering it in the back of a shed that has one open side. That should keep it out of the weather, but should provide ventilation for natural drying. One final question. What thickness stickers is best? 1/4 inch?..1 inch?

View WDHLT15's profile


1744 posts in 2476 days

#4 posted 12-31-2011 02:53 PM

Use 1” stickers to promote more air flow as you only have one open side, and that will restrict air flow. I normally use 3/4” stickers for most wood, but I use 1” stickers for woods that are prone to gray stain like maple and pecan to create more air space and air transfer. High humidity is what causes stain, so air flow is essential in removing the evaporated water from the wood, otherwise, you have a 100% humidity environment and a recipe for stain.

Fortunately, walnut is easy to dry versus most other species. You could put a Walmart box fan blowing out the open side to give you more air exchange. That will pull air out of the shed and exhaust the moisture out the open side. Some woods cannot be dried fast or they will internal check and honeycomb, like red oak and especially white oak. Walnut is pretty forgiving.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View peterrum's profile


153 posts in 2679 days

#5 posted 01-02-2012 09:26 AM

I use 1×1 stickers and after i have cut them lay them all on a bench, clamp them together and run a 1/2 inch round nose bit with a router over all of them. I run my lines across the bunch about 3-4 inches apart and just 1/4 inch deep. Then I flip them all over and do the same thing on the bottom side. Works well for me as the small channels cut with the router allow just a little bit more air flow around the stickers.

-- Carpe Diem

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2959 days

#6 posted 01-04-2012 06:39 PM

I like to slice big logs from opposing sides, the first few slices at a thick 1 inch then 2 inches as the slabs get bigger; when you are about 4 inches from the pith on either side, having lots of nice slabs, turn a non-sawn side up and slice off 1 inch thick boards for general use, those being 1×8’s. This will give you the best of looks from you wood, as well as plenty of options on how to use it. 1 inch stickers are good, 1 1/2 is better, and placed about 24 inches apart. Walnut is very forgiving, and will dry well if given the chance. It reads like you are doing well, I hope it works out as you want it to.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View smndrummer's profile


47 posts in 2346 days

#7 posted 01-04-2012 08:03 PM

If you are cutting discs, it is recommended to cut from the outside to the center on one side, that will relieve the stresses on the disc. For slabs, everyone else here has great advice. – Rich

-- - Rich

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