Chestnut wood

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 05-29-2012 04:17 PM 5613 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 2349 days

05-29-2012 04:17 PM

Apparently, someone decided to plant a chestnut tree in our yard back when our house was built. Dumb, in my opinion, since it renders half the yard a mine-field of razor sharp spiny balls lying everywhere! Anyway, We’d like to have it taken down so it’s safe to walk barefoot…we have 2 young children.

So…When we have it cut downShould I attempt to salvage some of this lumber? Is it good for building things? I haven’t heard much about people using chestnut for projects. The trunk is probably 2 feet in diameter, maybe 2.5 near the bottom… no branches untill you get about 12 -15 feet up.

Also, If I decide I don’t want it, is it valuable, would a lumber-yard pay me for it?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

23 replies so far

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434 posts in 2349 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 04:20 PM

Also, I’m only guessing it is a chestnut from pictures of the spiny balls I found online…It might be something else…any ideas? (The balls are much sharper than those found on a Gum tree)

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View chrisstef's profile


17307 posts in 2971 days

#2 posted 05-29-2012 04:39 PM

Well its probably not an American Chestnut tree, i believe that there are on 12 remaining amercian chestnuts in north america. You might have some sort of hybrid chestnut, but if it is indeed and american chestnut … wow that would be amazing.

American chestnut was very abundant in early amerciana, prior to 1910 or so, then the chestnut blight was introduced to this conuntry and it wiped out almost every last one. You can still plant them but they will only grow to about 6”-8” in diameter before the blight gets em. Chestnut was used for framing lumber and is fairly similar to oak in looks. Reclaimed chestnut goes for a good sum of money, $12/ft -ish.

Id urge you to do some more investigation on the tree you have in your yard. With a few pics some of the folks around here could probably identify the tree.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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299 posts in 2200 days

#3 posted 05-29-2012 04:40 PM

Horse chestnuts are crazy. The spikey ball is nothing to mess with. My older brother used to throw them at me. I’m a newbie wood worker so i say salvage whatever wood you can. let it dry out for a good long time

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2229 days

#4 posted 05-29-2012 09:01 PM

I’m going to guess a sweetgum since no one else is :-)

They have these things which cover the ground (I have this tree in my backyard and it drops hundreds of these things):

Otherwise, if it’s not those, it’s probably a chestnut of some sort.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Oldtool's profile


2596 posts in 2156 days

#5 posted 05-29-2012 09:29 PM

If it is chestnut, it’s worth a good deal of money. Here in Pennsylvania there are saw mills that would love to take that off your hands, and you would be handsomely reimbursed.
Golden rule number 23, never let go of any wood in your possession, unless of course you are paid enough for it so as to be able to purchase plenty of the type you prefer.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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311 posts in 3634 days

#6 posted 05-29-2012 11:03 PM

buckeyes have a spikey nut that looks simiar to chestnuts. have you ever opened one up?

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Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2887 days

#7 posted 05-29-2012 11:11 PM

“Liquidambar” is another tree with those kind of spikey fruits.

-- Website is

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3284 days

#8 posted 05-30-2012 12:09 PM

Can you post a picture of the tree and the nuts?

If it IS a chestnut, I will sacrificially offer my time and talents to come to your yard an meticulous remove it for you! Won’t cost you a sent, and you won’t have to worry about A THING!


-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

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22 posts in 2158 days

#9 posted 05-30-2012 12:16 PM

Traditional chestnuts aren’t so spikey as furry i think, with smaller more densly packed spines than those in the photo.

-- Hear today, gone tomorrow

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2349 days

#10 posted 05-30-2012 01:45 PM

After more online research and leaf comparisons, Here’s what I know:

-It’s not a Sweetgum or horsechestnut, it’s definitely some kind of chestnut,
-the outer burs are razor sharp, with sometimes multiple smal nuts inside…I haven’t found any with what look to be good quality nuts, they are all somewhat smashed and seemed pretty small. The nuts I found were kind of fuzzy, didn’t look good for eating.
-The tree is at least 30-40ft tall (Not a good estimator, probably about 15 feet higher than the peak of my one-story house. Probalby 18-20 inches diameter at the bottom.
-The stems have some tiny white bumps on them right now, as well as long 3-4 inch bud-type things extending from the twigs among the regular leaves.
-Right now I’m leaning toward either chinese chestnut, or some chinese-american hybrid.

Do you think a local lumber yard would come get it? I know of two in my area.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 2944 days

#11 posted 05-30-2012 01:53 PM

Chestnut trees are abundant here in the UK, both Horse chestnut and seet chestnut. looking at the fruits it is not a Horse chestnut (we used to play conkers with the hard bean type nut encased in the spiney husk), it could be a sweet chestnut though.

The tanins in the timber corrode iron tools, so don’t leave you tools without cleaning them off before you put them away. The timbner It looks similar to oak, I actually think it looks better because of the colour variations, dark, yellows, light/dark browns with wilder grain patterns

Horse chestnut

Sweet chestnut

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2888 days

#12 posted 05-30-2012 02:44 PM

Your county extension agent could probably have someone come over and positively I>D> the tree. They could also tell you if anyone would be interested in buying it. If it is a true Chestnut(not likely) it would be valuable.

-- Life is good.

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434 posts in 2349 days

#13 posted 05-30-2012 02:48 PM

I’m assuming by “true” chestnut, you mean american…if so you are right, it seems they are very rare…I’m pretty confident now that it is some kind of chestnut, either Chinese, european, or hybrid. Definitly not Horsechestnut.

I e-mailed one lumber mill, so we’ll see what they say.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2888 days

#14 posted 05-30-2012 11:30 PM

Yes 12, you are correct I meant American. Should have clarified that.
What kind of 12 string you got?

-- Life is good.

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1027 posts in 3451 days

#15 posted 05-31-2012 12:01 AM

what Howie said. Your local agent should know immediately. Or send a sample leaf or two and fruit to your State University College of Agricultural Science, or Forestry. Free and accurate identification.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

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