Thickness of Live oak

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Forum topic by coachmancuso posted 06-02-2013 12:37 PM 1757 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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259 posts in 1930 days

06-02-2013 12:37 PM

I am going to build 4 dining room tables out of the 35 year old oak tree that is in my Mom’s front yard. How thick should I have the pieces cut. Also how long will that take to dry? She is having this tree cut down because she does not want it to go through the house this hurricane season. I also will be building live edge end tables also. Anyone else in this area need some wood?

-- Coach Mancuso

9 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4930 posts in 3959 days

#1 posted 06-02-2013 02:24 PM

How are ya gonna dry the wood? Air drying is about 1 year per inch. Got a moisture meter?
I know that your question was about thickness, but if ya rush the drying, you’re gonna have problems.


View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

109 posts in 1968 days

#2 posted 06-02-2013 05:39 PM

35 years old does not sound like a very big tree for live oak. How big is the diameter of the tree? If it is smaller than 36”, you will not get a full width single slab dining table. If less than 24”, then you will be hard pressed to get a nice set of bookmatch slabs for a table either.

If you are just cutting it up into lumber to do a glueup panel for the table top, I would say that 5/4 would be a good thickness so that you can get it dry easily, and still have a 1” or 7/8” thick top panel. Anything thicker might work, but you have to be very careful now that it is hot summer time that you don’t dry it too fast and end up with honeycomb on the interior of the boards.

But my opinion is by no means the most experienced sawyer in this bunch.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 2250 days

#3 posted 06-02-2013 06:02 PM

Where are you located?

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1930 days

#4 posted 06-02-2013 06:09 PM

The base of the tree is 9 foot around and it grew very large very quick! I am in Lakeland. I am going to just air dry it that is the only way that I know to , I do not know anyone with a kiln.

-- Coach Mancuso

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1867 days

#5 posted 06-04-2013 11:57 PM

Sounds like a potential for a 24” – 30” slab.

From what I hear, Live Oak is particularly difficult to dry without it checking, or forming cracks. It is very hard too. Prepare for some labor. :-)

It was a favorite of shipbuilders, and also used for wagon wheels.

One of these days, I’m going to buy some land and harvest live oak and pine to build a dream cottage for my family.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1954 days

#6 posted 06-05-2013 12:08 AM

Do you have any pictures of this Live Oak? I’d love to see some that had been milled.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1930 days

#7 posted 06-05-2013 01:30 AM

The tree is not cut down yet . Will be cut down in 2 weeks

-- Coach Mancuso

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2486 days

#8 posted 06-05-2013 01:37 AM

9’ circumference at the butt gives you 34” diameter including bark. I would figure about 28-30” usable diameter at the center, less on either side of a center cut, and you don’t want to use the center portion.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Hmlee's profile


18 posts in 1923 days

#9 posted 06-06-2013 11:40 PM

Most of the wood I work with for tables (oak, ash, sycamore) I buy at 6/4 before it gets planed. I have worked with 8/4 before and, while thick, it produces a beautiful table top if you’re capable of working with it.

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