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Forum topic by KPW posted 02-15-2012 01:51 PM 2501 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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KPW

226 posts in 1835 days


02-15-2012 01:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut milling

I posted this on my blog but didn’t get to many tips or pointers, so I decided to try it again here. Finally got to slicing up that blown over Black Walnut tree in my neighbor’s yard. Thought I’d start with the smaller limbs since this was my first attempt at a log. First I used a draw knife to shave off enough bark to keep it from rolling on the band saw table. Then I sliced it free hand down the middle. Next I flipped it around against the fence and could cut what ever thickness I wanted. Now for the drying! My basement has a relative humidity of 27%. Is that too dry for green lumber?

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.


17 replies so far

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2541 days


#1 posted 02-15-2012 02:07 PM

I can’t answer your question about whether your basement is too dry. I don’t know.

I have also done a “log to lumber” project with walnut. I stacked and dried my lumber outside with good results. It took about 18 months to dry the 4/4 stock. I also cut some of the lumber into 12/4 slabs. That is still drying and I assume I’ll need to go about 3 years total (1 more year to go).

I had my logs cut by a mill and I only used the trunk for making boards/slabs. I’m told that branches will have a lot of stress in them and will be more difficult to work with as boards. I took a few crotch pieces for turning. The rest became firewood.

I have cut boards from a small trunk from a poplar tree using my bandsaw. I started by passing the wood over my jointer a few times to create a flat surface. For me, it seemed easier to hold the lumber steady to create the initial flat surface with the jointer as opposed to the bandsaw. I then put the flat side down and ran it through the bandsaw to create boards. I was pleased with the results. The poplar is still drying (outside).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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KPW

226 posts in 1835 days


#2 posted 02-15-2012 02:12 PM

Thanks for the comments Rich. I also am wondering if I can use the walnut with the sap wood still on it?

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2541 days


#3 posted 02-15-2012 02:20 PM

Walnut often has a lot of sap wood. That is evident in your first picture.

There is nothing functionally wrong with using sapwood in your work. It is more of an aesthetic question. I personally don’t like it.

FYI – Some commercial producers of walnut steam the lumber before drying it. The steaming process causes the color to bleed from the heart wood and penetrate the sap wood. The end result is an entire board with a diluted heartwood color. I avoid commercially produced walnut because of this.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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KPW

226 posts in 1835 days


#4 posted 02-15-2012 02:41 PM

Thanks Rich, Personally I kind of like the two tone look but it would have to be the right project.

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

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Nomad62

726 posts in 2425 days


#5 posted 02-15-2012 04:11 PM

Nice saw work. Drying wood in a basement is hard on your basement, there is a surprising amount of water in fresh wood. Doing it with pieces like those pictured should be okay provided you have some ventilation, but I sure wouldn’t recommend doing it on a regular basis. A person can indeed use the sapwood, you will find all the smaller branches have quite a high percentage of it; some people do like it, some don’t. I’ve sliced up many black walnut logs, so fun to see what’s in there.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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Elizabeth

814 posts in 2610 days


#6 posted 02-15-2012 04:37 PM

Rich, does flattening the log on your jointer cause any damage to the blades from the bark?

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2541 days


#7 posted 02-15-2012 04:49 PM

Elizabeth – The bark was quite thin and I did not detect any damage to the blades of my jointer. Honestly, it is something I did not even think about.

FWIW – I took a slightly bigger bite with the jointer than I normally do. I was taking off about 1/8” with each pass. I took 3 passes to create the flat side. Poplar is a pretty soft wood. I may not have been as aggressive with a harder wood.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Elizabeth

814 posts in 2610 days


#8 posted 02-15-2012 04:52 PM

Thanks. I’ve got some maple, ash and willow (I think) logs I want to try to resaw, but haven’t done it before. The maple and ash are pretty green (maybe 5 months air drying with sealed ends) but the willow was pretty seasoned (and cracked) when I got it.

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SteviePete

226 posts in 2770 days


#9 posted 02-15-2012 06:53 PM

I spend way too much time with my “found wood, logs, yard trees and various freebies” not to react to your photos. I think using the logs shown in your pictures to perfect your process of making some boards is a good use of your time. However, even doing my best with outdoor stacking, drying and milling, I ended up with very little useful wood. Sapwood is not very stable and it seems to be a favorite for all the bugs we have here in Wisconsin. I wouldn’t get my hopes to high for getting finished lumber near the $9.00/bf value you’d pay at a reputable yard. Enjoy the activity. Good luck, s.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

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willie

533 posts in 1921 days


#10 posted 02-15-2012 08:52 PM

I have been told that there are problems using “limb lumber” instead of lumber from the trunk because of stress in the limbs from their own weight from growing horizontally. When you cut them into boards, you are releasing some of that stress and the wood becomes very unstable and will warp and twist. I have not had any experience with this. I have gone from “log to lumber” but it was trunk wood and I had no problems. If this is wrong, I would appreciate someone giving me correct info.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

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KPW

226 posts in 1835 days


#11 posted 02-15-2012 09:12 PM

Thanks for everyones input. I’m going to get to the trunk sooner or later but I have to cut it up shorter than I want to so I can move it by myself. I’m thinking maybe 3 or 4 footers. cj, I did get a few big end cracks on a couple of the pieces probably from limb stress, but I thought maybe it was drying too fast in my 27% basement. I did seal the ends with just a couple of coats of latex paint. Nomad, thanks for the tips and the encouragement on the sap wood. And Steve I see your point but I’m still having fun with it.

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

View Philzoel's profile

Philzoel

298 posts in 1810 days


#12 posted 02-15-2012 09:45 PM

all wood as it dries splits from tension of cells loosing water. the rings on outside have millions more than at core, hence major tension which causes splits, cracks, checking, whatever you name it.

I like making stuff from scratch, ie THE LOG. the sap wood is great to play with. Adds a lot of drama to piece.

Limb wood makes great S and P shakers. Leave bark on very rustic. Sell well too.

It is fun but not that easy. First thing is too immediately split log down middle as soon as you can. I use chain saw and lots of patients. This cuts down checking a lot. If you wait you will loose most of useable wood. But cutting it lets you get to band saw and even pieces that can dry even. good luck.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

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KPW

226 posts in 1835 days


#13 posted 02-15-2012 09:51 PM

Thanks for the tips Phil. This tree has been on the ground for about 2 years now. Should it make any difference ?

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

View Philzoel's profile

Philzoel

298 posts in 1810 days


#14 posted 02-15-2012 10:05 PM

All you can do is try. I have always played with new wood. Cut it down the middle and see if you have got some good wood.
Another note. Warping is not the issue for me. I can pane or sand out. Checking goes its own way.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

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DaddyZ

2475 posts in 2507 days


#15 posted 03-07-2012 06:29 PM

Looks Great to me, Nice Setup !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

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