Just bought a bunch of Red Oak

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Forum topic by MaroonGoon posted 05-17-2013 02:02 PM 2372 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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281 posts in 1928 days

05-17-2013 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut oak cedar

Well, I saw on craigslist where someone was selling “black walnut” so I drove 30 minutes to the sellers house. She had three stacks of lumber piled up. From left to right is Cedar, Red Oak and Walnut. However, I got confused, because when I looked at the walnut it was all a cream color. There wasn’t any “black” in the walnut at all. I guess it was kind of foolish of me to expect any walnut to be black walnut, but I know better now :) I understand that black walnut is the prized walnut that everyone raves about, but is there still a value to this “regular” walnut here?

Anyways, the seller was just trying to get rid of it all and was selling everything for $1.50 per board foot so I was bound on buying something. So I ended up getting around 90 BF of Red Oak. The seller said that she had cut down the trees and milled them up about 3 weeks ago so it still has a lot of drying to do. I am going to my shop after work today and stacking them with spacers and painting the ends with latex paint but is there anything else that ya’ll would recommend doing? This is my first time drying wood under my own watch.

*EDIT and forgive me for not getting any close up pictures! I didn’t think about it until it was too late and I was driving home :-/

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

21 replies so far

View HerbC's profile (online now)


1744 posts in 2829 days

#1 posted 05-17-2013 02:38 PM

You need to maintain reasonable air flow. Best to stack outside, protect the wood from direct sunlight, don’t stack close to wall or fence which will block the airflow. Use stickers (spacer sticks, typically 3/4” thick), spaced every 16 – 24” apart horizontally. Align stickers vertically to provide support throughout stack. Cover top of stack with old metal roofing or plywood, something to keep the top of stack from getting wet from rain.

Air-dry for six to twelve months, then move into shop, allow to acclimitize.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2928 days

#2 posted 05-17-2013 03:37 PM

The English walnut I’ve seen was still a nut brown, not creamy at all; I’d tend to think it may have been something else, sometimes trees are difficult to tell their type. It tends to be brittle and more difficult to dry without damage, but what remains is nice, nice wood. Buck and a half a foot, not bad at all really. Nice score

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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1544 posts in 2101 days

#3 posted 05-17-2013 08:43 PM

Sounds as though if it was from a nut tree on her property it is either Hickory or Pecan (a Hickory kin) both are poplar in Texas. Super hard when dried. Had she milled then 4/4 5/4 or 8/4? If you got room at your place it’d be worth a trip back with a trailer and make her an offer to get some more. IMHO.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

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293 posts in 1817 days

#4 posted 05-18-2013 12:53 AM

Not familiar with all your trees down there but do you have Butternut? It looks the same as Black Walnut except for the color. An old trick lumbermen use is to stack green B. Walnut and Butternut every other layer till the Walnut color bleeds thru the Butternut(when you cut a sample it’s all the way thru). This lets them sell Butternut as high price B. Walnut.

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1544 posts in 2101 days

#5 posted 05-18-2013 07:51 AM

bold1, Thanks for that tip. Grreat knowledge. Any other trees provide similar stacking, coloring tricks?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View MaroonGoon's profile


281 posts in 1928 days

#6 posted 05-20-2013 09:33 PM

Thanks for the info guys! If I had any more cash for wood I would certainly head back there. Maybe she will have some more in a couple of weeks when payday arrives :) got it all stacked this weekend and painted the ends with latex paint.

I hope the pic turns out fine. Just uploaded it from my phone

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View MaroonGoon's profile


281 posts in 1928 days

#7 posted 05-20-2013 09:33 PM

Oops turned out sideways. Try not to break your neck looking at it! Sorry guys

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4910 posts in 3930 days

#8 posted 05-20-2013 10:43 PM

Don’t confuse poplar with popular.
Wod is wood, and if you can use it, go forth my man.


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Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1918 days

#9 posted 05-20-2013 11:28 PM

just my point of view, I place the stickers every 24”. I just figure it can’t hurt.

View MaroonGoon's profile


281 posts in 1928 days

#10 posted 05-21-2013 01:30 AM

I placed them around 24” apart. At least close to that considering the boards were a tad longer than 8’. Have you guys used adjustable straps or just weigh it down with cinder blocks to try to prevent warping? Or is that even necessary?

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View WDHLT15's profile


1732 posts in 2445 days

#11 posted 05-21-2013 12:21 PM

I use 5 stickers for 8’ lumber. One at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 feet. You want stickers close to the ends of the boards. Stack the best boards on the bottom. You could add a layer of stickers on top of the last layer and add any other dry lumber dead-stacked on top to serve as weight. There is already some cupping, but you cannot do a whole lot about that. Looks like nice lumber.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View MaroonGoon's profile


281 posts in 1928 days

#12 posted 05-21-2013 02:21 PM

This is the amateur woodworker in me so forgive me if this question has an obvious answer, but if some ends have already begin to cup, then will this eventually start cupping throughout the entire board or will it be limited to the ends if proper actions are taken? (painting the ends, weighing it down, etc.)

I know that cracks will spread throughout the entire board so thats why I ask. I wouldn’t mind losing a little bit off of the ends but I would hate for all of my wood to be cupped and unusable :-/

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#13 posted 05-21-2013 03:26 PM

Cupping has more to do with how fast the tree grew and the way it was cut than anything else.
Quarter or riff sawn will cup less than flat sawn, but as the moisture leaves, the growth rings shrink and cause the cupping.
Not much you can do that I know of except sticker, stack, weigh and/or clamp or band and then just let it do its thing.
All wood is usable, even if severely cupped or twisted. You just have to be selective where you use it and deal with extra steps to get to flat stock. Usually means extra cutting, planing, jointing and culling.

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Don W

18686 posts in 2537 days

#14 posted 05-21-2013 03:41 PM

It’s unusual to have a crack spread throughout the entire board. Like Michael mentioned, I typically cut a cupped board in half before planing, then it takes less to get it flat.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 1868 days

#15 posted 05-21-2013 04:53 PM

crank49, your idea of why boards cup is certainly unique and it’s a view not held by me. I quarter saw all the logs off my property and that of neighbors. I not only get better looking wood in general, but I get more stability. Boards will cup opposite to the growth rings of plain sawn boards. That’s a fact. They may even cup when they’re stickered to dry, the pressure being greater than the weight holding down the boards.

Cutting can induce bowed or twisted wood if the wood was in tension when it was growing. That’s why most folks don’t want to use a limb for woodworking, not matter how thick it was. The tension in the limb which holds it up against gravity can cause a lot of movement in a board when it dries, or even when it’s sawn. That’s why it’s a no-brainer to use a splitter on your table saw.

Want less cupping? QS your wood. The increased waste is worth the increased value and workability.

-- --Dale Page

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