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Minimum Diameter that you would harvest a black walnut

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 08-05-2014 02:09 PM 1581 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ScottKaye

471 posts in 1416 days


08-05-2014 02:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut sawyer kiln air dried

I have 5 acres of woods behind my home that have probably 40-50 black walnuts that are at least 12” minimum in diameter Of these, I would say about a third are 16-18” in diameter and a few are approaching 20-24” or larger in diameter. These are all “forest” trees and not “yard” trees hence they spent all their energy producing their foliage and branches in the canopy of the trees not all over the tree like a yard tree does. I figure that the 16-18” diameter trees have at least 30-40’ of useable “log” lumber before the trees start to really branch out. There is a Sawyer near me that charges 35 cents a BF which I feel is reasonable enough. He also has a “dehumidification kiln” that holds 2k board feet and he charges 50 cents a bf for that as long as I help load/unload the kiln. I would be responsible for felling, cutting and stacking the logs in a centralized location so the sawyer wouldn’t have to move his setup. Getting the logs out of the forest wont be too challenging as my neighbor has a 40 hp. Kubota that we can use to pull/chain the logs out. So what do you guys think? Should I take down the 16” trees and larger? Is it a worth while endeavor? I figure Walnut is selling for on avg $6-7 (unsteamed) at my local supplier. It would cost me $.85 a bf to have the sawyer cut and kiln dry the wood. I could sell half the wood for $4-5sh a bf depending on quality via craigslist etc. That would leave a nice tidy little profit and I would get to keep some of the haul. Side question, how well does Walnut burn? I would imagine it would burn slower than oak since its a denser wood? Need to find a use for the canopy branches

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"


16 replies so far

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#1 posted 08-05-2014 02:19 PM

I’m have little expertise, but I would suggest that you check to see what folks are actually able to charge on CL in your area for the wood before counting on the economics of it all. Around my area walnut goes for $3.50bf from sawmills ($6bf at local woodworking store, $11 at Woodcraft).

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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mahdee

3551 posts in 1231 days


#2 posted 08-05-2014 02:24 PM

I think I would hold on to them. Cut enough of the largest ones to pay for your need for a few years and let the rest stand. An old saying goes, others planted and we ate, now we plant so others can eat. Good luck.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Fred_Woodworker's profile

Fred_Woodworker

5 posts in 854 days


#3 posted 08-05-2014 02:27 PM

I agree With CharlesA and i Add that you Should I take down the 16” trees

-- try to make the Woodworking Better , http://www.bestwoodworkbooks.com

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

726 posts in 2421 days


#4 posted 08-05-2014 03:22 PM

Black walnut trees generally have 3-4” of sapwood when young and healthy, leaving you a circle of about 6-8” of heartwood to use (most people want nothing to do with the sapwood); square that out then remove a couple square inches for the pith (useless wood) and you will end up with some small boards to work with. It will be straight grained, pretty wood, but the yield will be small for the effort. If you are going to snoop into doing this, I’d suggest taking 1 tree and seeing what you end up with before knocking down a bunch of them. I’ve been at this for a few years, and have learned that for my purposes I’d let them stand.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1184 days


#5 posted 08-05-2014 03:30 PM

I’d do selective removal that would be nurture the smallest trees so they might had a chance of growing big like the others. This would of course be after ensuring it would make the most sense economically. All I’ve gotten before was limited to about 24” and around 800lbs. so I could handle it myself and mill it with a chainsaw, followed by air drying. The financial investment was minimal as I only go after free trees, but the labor investment is substantial as everything was pretty much moved by hand.

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Nomad62

726 posts in 2421 days


#6 posted 08-05-2014 08:44 PM

Didn’t mention earlier black walnut burns very well, long and hot but it stinks. Best for wood stoves, open fires aren’t very welcoming.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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Ocelot

1470 posts in 2101 days


#7 posted 08-05-2014 08:49 PM

I’m thinking you won’t net much money from them right now. Ask your sawmill guy how much money he would net from such a tree.

-Ocelot

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jmartel

6568 posts in 1613 days


#8 posted 08-05-2014 08:58 PM

I would take down 1 or 2 of the largest trees, and use them. Let the others continue to grow. As you use up them, maybe pull another larger one down as you are reaching the end of your stack. That way you have plenty of time to let the smaller ones grow some.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1939 days


#9 posted 08-06-2014 02:37 AM

I, too, would limit the harvest to trees that are 18” in diameter and above. Let the smaller ones grow.

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

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1412 days


#10 posted 08-07-2014 12:10 AM

What ever you do don’t skid the logs out. make a dolly or cut then into the desired lengths and carry them out. Most sawyers I have encountered either won’t saw a log full of dirt from skidding, or charge you for the blades he ate up.

View mporter's profile

mporter

253 posts in 2041 days


#11 posted 08-07-2014 12:30 AM

You need to seek the advice of a forester. Although I am one, a forester needs to see and evaluate the property. Unless you want to ruin your stand of trees, I would not high grade the trees. It’s a very stupid thing to do. You need to employ single tree selection, and take maybe 5 trees out. Get the basal area to around 80 square feet per acre. This will release the walnuts you leave. To not open the stand to far. Word to the wise, veneer walnuts bring big money. I have personally priced out several 20000 dollar trees.GET A FORESTER INVOLVED!!

Taking the largest trees is the dumbest thing you can do. Period.

View AnonymousRequest's profile

AnonymousRequest

861 posts in 1012 days


#12 posted 08-07-2014 12:53 AM

Excellent advice^ Have a forestry plan made and implement it.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#13 posted 08-07-2014 01:22 AM

Now I’m curious. Where do you find a forester?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

565 posts in 1400 days


#14 posted 08-07-2014 01:36 AM

you can generally find a forester through local state or provincial govt agriculture dept. They take great pains to foster semi-agricultural endeavours by farmers, they may even have a list of farmers with woodmizer saw mills, kilns, etc.

Years ago there was a walnut tree that according to news reports was 80 ft to the first branch. It sold for many tens of thousands to a veneer mfgr, but net result was that everyone thought that their tree was worth as much or more. Walnut went sky high as everyone thought they had a gold mine and wouldn’t sell.

I’d be talking to the ag. folks.

Eric in Calgary

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1939 days


#15 posted 08-07-2014 01:53 AM

Taking a few black walnut trees that are mature on your property to have sawn so you can enjoy the lumber is not “stupid”.

Cutting only the biggest and best trees on a whole property and only leaving the cull trees is bad forestry. This is called high grading.

I did not read in your post that you intended to “high grade” all the timber on your property. Just select out a few black walnuts.

You can take a few, and leave the rest to grow. You could even plant some walnuts in the spaces created and in another 100 years, there will be more mature black walnut for someone to enjoy.

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

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