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Board feet and stacks of lumber

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Forum topic by willy3486 posted 08-28-2012 02:01 AM 1787 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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willy3486

77 posts in 2054 days


08-28-2012 02:01 AM

I have cut down some trees and have quite a few logs. I have a fellow with a band mill to cut it lined up. I have never had logs sawed into lumber so I have a few questions. I have about 13 oak logs as of now, quite a few of them are at least 70 inches around. From the log to board feet conversion I have well over 11,000 board feet of lumber. I know it won’t be exactly calculated but I wanted to get an idea.

Here are a few questions. If I am correct a board foot is 12 inches by 12 inches by one inch. I want to stack them up but I was wondering how many stacks I will have. These will be 8 feet long boards. I was wondering how wide are lumber stacks usually. I guess most stacks are 5 feet wide by 6 feet tall. Is this a good guess? At 5 feet wide by 6 feet high I figured there would be between 3 and 4 stacks. I need to get an idea so I can figure out how much room I need to store them. Also can you reuse bean sticks as the stickers between the layers of lumber. I have a lot of good used bean sticks. They are clean but the only thing wrong with them is they are grey from age. Will this be ok to use?

If you have any suggestions on stacking them I would love to hear it. I plan on letting them air dry as it will be a long time before I use them.


21 replies so far

View Prplhrtjarhead's profile

Prplhrtjarhead

80 posts in 763 days


#1 posted 08-28-2012 02:18 AM

I can’t say for sure, stacking height, when air drying? I’m assuming you’ll be doing that, unless your mill-man has a kiln to dry the estimated 11,000 borad feet.

The trailer manufactuer I work for gets lumber delivered daily, approximately 6 feet wide, 4 feet high and between 8-12 feet in length. However, for air drying, you’ll have to have much larger stacks as you have to leave room for air to circulate between the boards, maybe 2 inches between each board.

And yes, a board foot would be equal to 12” x 12” x 1”. Any dimension lumber can be calculated into board feet. Length X Width X Thickness (inches)/144.

Good luck with all that oak. I am extremely jealous!

-- "We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness." R. Reagan, "The Speech", 1964

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Doss

779 posts in 921 days


#2 posted 08-28-2012 03:13 AM

I know this isn’t much help, but without seeing them I can only guess. To get a quick estimate, look at your pile of logs and think that anything above 48” in diameter might be a stack on its own. If it’s 70”, then it may even be 2 stacks. You could probably get away with 4-5’ wide stacks as high as you can get them (maybe even 6-8’ tall). This is all dependent on how well you can circulate air around them and keep them dry (with no sunlight).

I don’t know anything about bean sticks. So, I’ll just say you need stickers that are about 1-1.5” wide and about 1” thick placed every 15-24” (some people vary on how they like their spacing). You just don’t want the wood to sag.

As for advice, there are a lot of guys on here that know what they’re talking about when it comes to stickering and stacking. I just go by what works for me (plus I’m in no rush to use my woodpiles).

Get the stacks at minimum of 10” off the ground. Really something around 18” or so is great.
Cover the ground with plastic or concrete or something that won’t emit a lot of moisture.
Get a gentle air flow over the stack. Think box fan not industrial fan.
Line your stickers up.
Move the stack away from any walls (usually about 3’ or so).
Coat the ends of the boards with Anchorseal, wax, or latex paint (as a last resort).
Don’t expose to sunlight or rain.

It’s all going to come down the to the quality of the cut, the amount of waste, the foundation of the stack, and the quality of your stacking.

Good luck and hope it turns out great.

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

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willy3486

77 posts in 2054 days


#3 posted 08-28-2012 11:19 AM

Thanks for the replies. Everyone has given me some good advice I am going to try to do. I had forgot about putting something like plastic on the ground. As far as coating the ends would it be best to wait until it is cut into lumber? I am thinking it would to not cause problems on cutting. As far as bean sticks goes the ones I have are like about 2 inches wide by about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. I didn’t know if older wood that has turned gray would cause issues but thats all I have got.

My mother in law is having to move due to a road project. I have been clearing out a path so the house can be put on land she will still own, so I have cut these trees down that are in the way. I also have some cedar cut as well but I am not sure how much I have of that. There is one huge tree that is in the way of her new drive I plan to cut this weekend. I have about 5 to 10 other cedars to cut for lumber. I am guessing anywhere from 3000 to 5000 board feet of cedar. I have been working at cleaning the place up for three years for the move so I figured I get my pay in lumber. I have probably hauled well over 150 to 200 loads to the barn,dump or recycler depending on what it was. I figure I have spent in excess of 1500 to 2000 hours cleaning for the mother in law so the lumber is a nice way to be rewarded for that lumber.

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Doss

779 posts in 921 days


#4 posted 08-28-2012 10:14 PM

At 2” wide, that’s getting a little too wide. Usually you don’t want them to get really wide because that’s a chance for moisture to get under the sticker and mold the wood or possibly make a huge sticker stain.

You could possibly rip them in half and double your sticker count though!

That is a lot of wood and a lot of work. You might be in the right to purchase a bandsaw mill and a chainsaw mill (to cut the logs down to reasonable sizes) and come out better financially (well, if you can find more work for the mill or sell it down the road).

How much is your guy charging to mill and what sizes is he going to be able to handle?

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

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willy3486

77 posts in 2054 days


#5 posted 08-28-2012 10:56 PM

There are some of the beansticks about wide 1 inch so I can use them. I have a truckload of them and I thought they would be the thing to use. I can pick through and get smaller ones. As far as a bandsaw mill I would love to have one. But I don’t see it paying for itself for just these logs. I have seen smaller ones for less than a grand but I don’t know if they have any quality. I would love to have one of the logosol type ones for a chainsaw but I don’t think I could find one. As far as the guy he inherited the mill, he has run it but is trying to get established. He estimated that it would run around 800. I don’t think I could buy this much wood for that so I probably will get him to do it.

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wiswood2

1103 posts in 2353 days


#6 posted 08-28-2012 11:18 PM

Make sure your base is level or else you will have bowed or twisted boards,and put some weight on top of the pile to help keep the boards from cupping. Good luck good oak is selling at about 4.00 dollars a board foot where I live.
Chuck

-- Chuck, wiswood2 www.wisconsinwoodchuck.com

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AandCstyle

1325 posts in 914 days


#7 posted 08-28-2012 11:44 PM

Just a couple thoughts to add to the above:
1. You mentioned cutting to 8’ lengths. If you could leave them longer you would get better utility. I think 12’ might be the optimum length to balance handling and utility.
2. If possible, try to keep all the boards from a particular log in the same order as they were in the log, like veneer flitches. This will make your lumber a little more useful/valuable.

I envy you the wood, but not the work! :)

-- Art

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 921 days


#8 posted 08-29-2012 12:43 AM

Art has a point that I forgot to mention, if you can stack the boards as they came out of the log, that would be great. It’ll make bookmatching or matching tones in general a lot easier.

Also, I’d keep the boards as long as possible. No point in shortening then just to shorten them. If they check at the ends, you can always chop that section off down the road.

You’ll want to paint them before you mill IMO. Use Anchorseal and you won’t have to worry about your tools.

Hmm… $800 for the whole job? You’re basically stealing from that guy. LOL Most people I know charge between 10 cents and 25 cents a board foot (depending on how hard the wood is or how long it’ll take). Even at 10 cents a foot, if you had 11000 bf of lumber, that’s 1100 bucks. I probably wouldn’t cut every log to the same size though. With that much wood, I’d cut some at 4/4, 6/4, 8/4, 12/4, and 16/4. Maybe even some other odd sizes too depending on how each board was looking.

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

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1130 posts in 1133 days


#9 posted 08-29-2012 12:01 PM

First, with 13 logs with 70” of circumference (not diameter), you do not have anywhere near 11,000 BF. It will be more like 2000 or so. If you measure the small end diameter (not circumference) of each log and the length, I can tell you how many BF that you will get, give or take a few.

The stickers should not be more than 1” thick. 3/4” is OK for oak. Do not put a fan on oak. It has to dry slow or the internal stress from too fast drying will cause internal checking and hineycomb. Stacks should be about 1 foot off the ground. The base must be very level. There should be a cross-beam under every row of stickers, and the stickers should line up vertically. Keep the stack less than 5’ wide. 4’ is good. Make sure that your stickers are uniform in thickness and 1” wide is the max that I would use. Don’t cheap out on the stickers and end up with wood that is not flat. Stickers should be on 2’ centers or less. 20” is good.

The stack needs a roof with an air space on top, the sides should be open all the way around. Do not stack in a building or closed shed. You have to have natural air flow. Drying is all about air flow.

Having wood sawn is exciting! Goood luck with your project.

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

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willy3486

77 posts in 2054 days


#10 posted 08-29-2012 01:47 PM

As far as sawing here in Tennessee the price isn’t that bad as other places. I had another guy to quote me about the same price but maybe less since they were estimates. But he was a few hours away and that was cost prohibitive to bring his stuff for no more logs than I will have. As far as lumber I have seen oak boards in this area for between one and two bucks a BF advertised. But then wages and other stuff are lower as well. So I guess it all balances out.

As far as total board feet I thought it was high as well. The way I calculated it was to go to http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/calculators/calc.pl

To give you an idea I put in 70 inches into it for the circumfrencce of a log about 2 feet wide. I did measure around the log to get the 70 inches. The log then it is 8 feet. I clicked on the doyle scale and it gave me an example of 2178 board feet. So that was what I was going by. So did I do it wrong and how do you estimate correctly? What I would like to know is how wide and big of a stack I will have. To be honest 11000 board feet is way more than I need to store now. I have a area for one good stack so I am hoping that will be all I have. But if it is bigger I won’t complain. I am not a professional woodworker ,its a hobby for me. But I absolutely love woodworking and I can’t stand the thought of wasting those logs by burning them up when the road comes through. In the past if there is not many trees they cut them down and burn them.. This road has put me so far behind that I probably won’t have time to even think about using the wood until it is good and dry.

Anyway thanks for all the info. Does anyone have a link to a calculator or a formula to figure out how many boards a novice like I am will have from the logs? I have about 4 that are between 65 and 70 around, about half left are in the 50 to 60 range. and the others are less than 50.

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Doss

779 posts in 921 days


#11 posted 08-29-2012 02:47 PM

WDHLT15, love those stacks man. You say no fan and I say fan (but I forgot to say that this is if you are in a space with little airflow. That’s my fault). You are correct probably moreso than I am.

We have some red oak in a utility shed with very little airflow and a small box fan on low circulating air around the shed works fine (the soffits are wide open). This is all at 6/4 and 8/4.

The rest we have covered and stacked in the open (like WDHLT15’s except our structure isn’t as nice).

Willy, you would do well to duplicate WDHLT15’s stacks and stickering advice. He does a lot more of this than I do.

Also, my skim reading got the best of me. I thought they were 70” diameter (which is huge). 70” circumference… not so much. A 70” diameter logs yields almost 10x more BF than a log that is 70” circumference. Each log you have (if 70” circumference) is yield around 180-210 BF (depending on the taper and shape).

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

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willy3486

77 posts in 2054 days


#12 posted 08-29-2012 03:16 PM

I intend to heed WDHLT5 advice as well as others. I will do as he says on the stacks and stickers. I think I will see if the guy I get to cut it has some stickers and just buy some from him. I will shoot to make my stack look like his as much as I can. Doss on your post I figured out how I got off on the lumber BF. I was putting in the circumference number of the log instead of the diameter. I wrote down the measurements and I will recalculate them. I had used that and estimated I would have over 4 stacks. I would love to have 4 stacks but I have no place for that many. I was thinking while I was looking at the logs I might have one stack. I can handle that better. As far as cutting it the one estimate I got was quoted was 45 an hour and it would roughly ad up to 800 bucks worth of time. Does this sound ok? The other guy was suppose to come and look but didn’t. From what I described he said he could do it for about the same. What I don’t want to get into is paying more for the wood than I could buy a stack for.

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Doss

779 posts in 921 days


#13 posted 08-29-2012 04:22 PM

If you end up with about 2500 board feet, that comes out to about 32 cents a board foot which is in line with what the sawyers around here normally charge (a little higher, but well within that range). I’m usually a little cautious about paying people per hour on something like this. You can definitely end up dragging a simple operation out for a long time period. I’d really like to see something like a price per board foot or price per cut foot (since you can cut logs thicker than 4/4 obviously). Your guys may not offer that though.

If you can, get them to quarter saw as much as possible. Flat sawing has its purpose, but quartersawn wood usually is nicer (depending on the species). It’s probably going to take more time though, but it yields a better product IMO.

Chances are you’re not going to find lumber (red or white oak) anywhere near 32 cents per board foot. Even finding it at $1 per board foot is probably not going to happen. So, I wouldn’t feel like you’re getting ripped off because you’re not going to find this any cheaper unless you happen upon someone giving it away.

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

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Scsmith42

125 posts in 1334 days


#14 posted 08-29-2012 05:41 PM

Willy, you want to use dry stickers, not ones cut from green wood. Green stickers will trap moisture and result in what is called “sticker stain” on your wood. Also, find out if your sawyer mills for yield or grade. You want the latter.

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

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Prplhrtjarhead

80 posts in 763 days


#15 posted 08-29-2012 10:32 PM

Once you start talking about it, it doesn’t take too long for someone with great advice and examples of such to add their 2 cents. Great post with photos WDHLT15!

-- "We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness." R. Reagan, "The Speech", 1964

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