Hello I am new to woodworking and in April my wife and I came back from a trip to find the maple tree in our yard like this! The landlord had called while we where away to let us know that he was having a crew over to do “some work on the trees”. I don’t know why he had them take the tree down. There where a few dead limbs but not the whole tree! And I don’t know why they never finished cutting down the trunk but this is what was in our yard for several weeks.
Anyway I went ahead a contacted a mobile saw mill company and we cut down the trunk and he milled it into 8/4 slabs about 20” by 10’ and several small pieces like to one in the photos.
I want to build a bench utilizing the two pieces in the picture but had a few questions. They have been drying since the beginning of May the one on the left outside and right one in the basement I think that sun exposure is the reason that the coloring is so different but a few passes with the plane show that there is still beautiful wood underneath . How do I know when they are dry enough to work and is there such a thing as too dry? The piece on the left has several splits from the top is there any way at this point to control that or will the entire piece eventually split completely? Also there is a rotten section on the cut side of the piece what should I do about this? I was poking at it with a chisel and cleaned out most of the really soft and loose wood but again I don’t know what I should do to control or fix this so it doesn’t continue the degrade the quality of the wood.
I really appreciate any help that you guys can offer and thank you in advance.