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Forum topic by yellabret posted 803 days ago 2896 views 2 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellabret

43 posts in 803 days


803 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question rustic pecan milling

just joined – and read another post on this subject and it was the reason i looked into this site in the first place. i have made a few slab tables in the past, but it was 30 years ago and i got lucky on some really nice mesquite. infact i recently reclaimed them and made a really nice coffee, end, and entry table set. 12/4 thick, no cracks, really nice.

so now i have just milled two pecan trees i had to take down. they are not huge, but my slabs vary from roughly 24 to 30 inches at some of the forks, most milled at 8/4 but the center pieces are 16/4, and about 7’ to 8’ long. for some reason the sawyer did it that way, i left it up to him. so the 16/4 pieces will likely be made into bars, the others into coffee tables, single or maybe one bookend, and i may try a bookend bench, seat and back being the bookends.

so here they are. the pavement is uneven, so i laid the first piece down (16/4) and used shims to level it up, hen stacked one tree as seen, the picture is taken after i placed the 2nd 16/4, then after the pic i placed the rest of that tree’s 8/4 pieces. i covered all with a tarp leaving the front and ends somewhat open to allow airflow. oh yeah – i am in Houston, TX.

so my questions:

shouldnt have any warpage, right? a couple of small “scabs” 2 feet or so have warped, but they were really just scrap. the 8/4 slabs weigh about 150 lbs, pretty much all i could handle alone. the 16/4 were of course more than double that since they are from the wider part of the tree. it was tough with two of us.

my sawyer said to stack this way, and just have “something” on the top but let the sides be open, yet i read another place to keep rain off the wood. his method allows rain and sun to hit the open side of the slabs at an angle. opinions/comments? will there be uneven coloration? but if so wouldnt it plane/sand out?

he also said that cracking just happens, and he doesnt worry because it is rustic slab furniture anyway. i am definitely getting cracks after 4 weeks. he said NOT to wax/seal the ends because the humidity is too high here and the wood will mold.

do i have to unstack the wood at some point and move the spacers or can it stay just like this until dry?

how long till it is workable? he said i could start on it around December which would be 8 mos, remember this is houston, we are in high 80’s now and will have mid 90’s to 100+ for june – aug.

lastly, how much weight loss can i expect?

thanks in advance to any who can provide input

-charlie


37 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1294 days


#1 posted 803 days ago

Porn! Omg u lucky devil.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Allanwoodworks's profile

Allanwoodworks

111 posts in 1442 days


#2 posted 803 days ago

yellabret,

First of all Welcome to lumberjocks! This is a great site. I’ll answere your questions to the best of my ability in turn.

1. I would add some weight to the top, .i.e. four cinder blocks or so, only for the reason that the 16/4 could warp and may transfer some twist on the board below that, other than that yes the weight will hold the boards relatively straight.

2. It is stickered perfectly. If it is exposed to the weather you can put a piece of metal roofing over it and surround it loosely with landscape fabric and that will allow the wind to blow through it but keep the rain out.

3. I seal the ends of my logs to stop cracking with Anchorseal II, but I am in the Northwest so I don’t know how that works with the humidity in your area. I would probably trust you sawyer or look online for some information. I know people that do not seal there ends because they’re going to trim off the last 6” or so anyway.

4. I do not move my stickers. I have heard that they can stain but I have never come across the problem yet.

5. I would look for a cheap moisture meter online, you can find them on eBay for $20 or so, but remember you get what you pay for. If you can get a nice one its worth it. When I stack my load in to my solar kiln, in the middle of the stack I drive two galv. nails half way in the middle slab that work as probes. I attached wires to the nails and run it out of the kiln. This gives me the ability to take a reading by touching the probes to the wires and I can see what the moisture in the worst position in the stack. So it’s up to you but you can just check the reading where you can reach.

6. It would depend on if this is a fresh cut log or has the log been sitting for awhile before it got milled.

Hope this information can help you, If you need to know anything more send me a message.

Ty

-- Ty, Up in Washington

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yellabret

43 posts in 803 days


#3 posted 803 days ago

thanks! it was a totally fresh cut tree, sat for maybe 2 weeks before milling so it was still dripping wet…..

View Allanwoodworks's profile

Allanwoodworks

111 posts in 1442 days


#4 posted 803 days ago

Here is a good link I found on Woodweb's site Hope it helps.

-- Ty, Up in Washington

View derosa's profile

derosa

1532 posts in 1436 days


#5 posted 803 days ago

I can’t believe that if you slap some paint only on the end that the wood will mold. Only sealing the end means that the water is escaping at the exact same rate as everywhere else in the log, probably still a touch faster since most sealants aren’t truly water tight. If it won’t mold elsewhere the sealant won’t cause the problem either, just don’t apply it to the surfaces as well, only the ends. I’d also still toss a set of stickers over the top board, a couple of cross boards and cinder blocks on top of that. The cross boards just hold the blocks and give them support, the stickers are necessary to keep the cross boards off your slab.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Scsmith42's profile

Scsmith42

125 posts in 1278 days


#6 posted 803 days ago

Charlie, welcome to Lumberjocks. I am a miller and a kiln operator, with a commensurate amount of subject matter expertise in this area.

For starters, it is apparent that your miller does not know very much about drying wood, especially thick slabs. I’m going to paste your original post below and add my comments.

Scott

Q: so here they are. the pavement is uneven, so I laid the first piece down (16/4) and used shims to level it up, then stacked one tree as seen, the picture is taken after I placed the 2nd 16/4, then after the pic I placed the rest of that tree’s 8/4 pieces. I covered all with a tarp leaving the front and ends somewhat open to allow airflow. Oh yeah – I am in Houston, TX.

A: FIRST OFF – remove the tarp ASAP. This will trap moisture and you WILL get mold – especially in Houston. It is much better to place some roofing tin, old plywood or other solid material over the top of the stack, but leave the sides of the stack exposed to the air flow. If you are stacked in an area with a lot of wind/breeze, then consider putting some screen mesh on the sides to restrict (but not prevent) the flow of air through your stack.

Q: Shouldn’t have any warpage, right?

A: WRONG. It is the natural tendency of wood to shrink as it dries, and the relationship of the wood cells dictate the direction of shrinkage. Wood movement is measured radially and tangentially, basically the wood will shrink in a way to try to straighten out the growth rings. If you want to minimize cupping of flat sawn lumber, place about 150 PSF on top of the stack (stickered between the weight and the top of the stack).

Q: My sawyer said to stack this way, and just have “something” on the top but let the sides be open, yet I read another place to keep rain off the wood. His method allows rain and sun to hit the open side of the slabs at an angle. Opinions/comments? Will there be uneven coloration? But if so wouldn’t it plane/sand out?

A: You get a lot of rain in Houston, so it is best to COVER the top of the stack, overhanging about 12” – 18” all of the way around if you can. Also, it’s best if your stack is at least 8” – 10” above ground so as to minimize moisture absorption from underneath.

Q: He also said that cracking just happens, and he doesn’t worry because it is rustic slab furniture anyway. I am definitely getting cracks after 4 weeks. He said NOT to wax/seal the ends because the humidity is too high here and the wood will mold.

A: This is total BS. Cracking (checking) results when wood is dried too quickly. It doesn’t “just happen”. If you are already getting surface checks, the wood is drying too quickly. The ends of the logs / boards / slabs should ALWAYS be sealed with a high quality end sealer such as Anchorseal Classic or Baileys End sealer. Because the wood cells are open on the ends, they lose moisture much more quickly through the ends, which causes the ends of the slabs/boards/planks to shrink and crack. Applying a high quality end sealer early in the process will help to prevent the end checks from starting. A check in the end of wood is like a crack in glass… once it starts it tends to keep on growing. It is best to prevent it from starting in the first place. Plus, it is best to dry wood by withdrawing the moisture from the face of the boards/slabs, not the ends or the sides.

Q: Do I have to unstack the wood at some point and move the spacers or can it stay just like this until dry?

A: Unless there is a drying problem, you can leave the “spacers” (called “stickers in the industry”) in place. Hopefully you used dry wood for the stickers; otherwise you will get a stain where they lay against the slabs.

Q: How long till it is workable? he said I could start on it around December which would be 8 mos, remember this is Houston, we are in high 80’s now and will have mid 90’s to 100+ for June – August.

A: WRONG again. Sure, you can dry it that fast, but you will severely degrade the wood in the process. Each species has a maximum safe daily drying rate based upon the type of wood, its thickness, and initial moisture content. Pecan is in the same family as hickory. 4/4 hickory has a maximum safe daily drying rate of 6%; 8/4 is around 2.4%. 16/4 is around 3/10% of one percent per day. Green, your lumber (slabs) will start off at around 64% MC%.

If you had 4/4 boards, chances are that they would be below 16% by December. Your 8/4 might be below 20% by then, but there is no way that the 16/4 will air dry in less than two to three years. Typically for woodworking you want the wood to be less than 10%MC, with 6% – 8% preferred. You will not dry it down this low outside; you will either need to have it finished off inside a kiln or bring it into a humidity controlled environment to finish off.

Q: lastly, how much weight loss can I expect?

A: Green pecan weighs around 5.45 lbs per board foot. Dry, it weighs about 3.3 lbs.

Thanks in advance to any who can provide input.

IN closing, I would RUN from any drying advice from your miller. There is a fellow outside of Austin named Brandon Berdoll that specializes in slabs, especially pecan and mesquite. He has a kiln, and may be able to assist you with your drying needs. Best of success to you. Scott

-- Scott, North Carolina, www.quartersawnoak.com

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yellabret

43 posts in 803 days


#7 posted 803 days ago

wow scott – tons of quality info there. i am afraid i am too late to seal the ends in the 16/4 because it does have a split, but many of the 8/4 are still ok so i may be good there. the guy that did the milling does have a pretty nice resume and i have seen much of his work, it is quality and he gets write ups in the media for his work in $$$$$$$$ homes around here so i have to balance this out a bit. afraid it may be too late to hit up Brandon with this batch, but i am starting to get more in to this as i near retirement years, thinking of building a kiln myself even. remember,ber this is rustic slab work, cracks arent as deadly as in finished stuff, but i still want them to a minimum of course…...

thanks again. i’ll be around.

View HalDougherty's profile

HalDougherty

1820 posts in 1838 days


#8 posted 803 days ago

Listen to Scott, he knows what he’s talking about for sure. The guy who sawed your lumber might get a lot of press, but what does the press know about sawing and drying wood…

-- Hal, Tennessee http://www.first285.com

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1072 posts in 1077 days


#9 posted 803 days ago

Scott,

Excellent summary!

Yellabret,

Pecan will gray stain (an enzymatic oxidation reaction) if there is not enough air flow and the humidity is very high, which it is in Houston. Good air flow is paramount with pecan to prevent the gray stain. Another thing to watch out for is that powderpost beetles LOVE pecan. They do not infest the wood until it is dry, but even so, don’t let them get started! They will ruin your wood, and I am sure that Houston is prime powderpost beetle stomping ground. I spray my pecan with a borate salt at one pound of borate to one gallon of water. Timbor and Solubor are two brands that will work.

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

View yellabret's profile

yellabret

43 posts in 803 days


#10 posted 803 days ago

ok lt15 – just spray the wood directly and let it dry?

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1072 posts in 1077 days


#11 posted 802 days ago

Yes. Spray it until it is dripping wet, especially the bark. You will have to spray all four side of each board.

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

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6796 posts in 1904 days


#12 posted 802 days ago

i think ty in mountanview wood works has covered it all, and sounds like sounds advice to me, i would for sure seal the ends, ive dealt with wood like this for many years and sealing the ends pays off for sure i believe, ive also have some pecan in my wood stores and it is a beautiful wood , but it sure is hard and my planner blades take a beating when i put them through, you have a nice sized stack of wood to look forward to in working, it will be some time before you will want to use it, rule of thumb is 1 year per inch of thickness….enjoy and welcome to the best wood working site in the world…..IMHO….....grizzman…oh and i also agree with scott, he has his info down right on this, so for what it is worth, your getting the best info you can on this…good luck

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View yellabret's profile

yellabret

43 posts in 803 days


#13 posted 802 days ago

thanks all, and thaqt isnt even all the wood, still hadnt stacked about 5 8/4 pieces and about to mill some smaller 4-6’ 1-” dia pieces for legs, shelves etc. also milling some cypress, 6’ and 8’ long, 20-24” dia

question on the anchor seal, on slabs i imagine i’d just cut it off, but if i use it on a slice of a log, how deep does it penetrate? in other words can i sand down past it with a belt sander or do i have to cut it again? that wont be easy, neither will sanding

View Scsmith42's profile

Scsmith42

125 posts in 1278 days


#14 posted 802 days ago

Charile, Anchorseal Classic is a wax based compound. Typically it only penetrates 1/16” to 1/8” or so into the wood, thus you have usable lumber all of the way to the end of the board (or within 1/8”). I prefer it to roofing tar, latex paint, or any of the other “home remedies” because it evaporates in the kiln drying process, and it does not damage my post-processing equipment. Latex paint dulls planer blades, and you can only imagine the mess that tar would leave behind.

It is easiest to apply end sealer to the end of a log before milling (always start with a fresh cut – chainsaw off a couple of inches of log if you need to before applying), or if you apply it post-milling end trim the log as needed to get to an unchecked surface for application.

The best way that I know to surface large, dry slabs is with a router sled and a large bowl bit.

Good luck with your project.

-- Scott, North Carolina, www.quartersawnoak.com

View smokey1945's profile

smokey1945

75 posts in 1983 days


#15 posted 802 days ago

Scott, North Carolina, www.quartersawnoak.com

Scott thank you for the answers to charlie! Believe me when I say that guys like me need all the answers they can get from guys like you! Thank you,
Smokey

-- TheShadeTreeWW If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees

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