The dying apple tree

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Forum topic by ErikB posted 08-19-2009 06:01 PM 2288 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 3485 days

08-19-2009 06:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: milling

So I have this apple tree in my back yard that’s old, big, and if it falls (which it’s showing signs of doing), it could hit my house. So, before I take it down I was wondering if the wood is anything worth saving? I could rip it on my bandsaw and save it for a project to be named later. Is it worth it? I’ve heard in the past that apple wood is hard to work with and tends to twist.


6 replies so far

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3720 days

#1 posted 08-19-2009 06:37 PM

I’d at least sove a few larger pieces. If it doesn’t work out, you’re not out much. I’ve done a few things with apple and it looks real nice. It turns great. If you can get it dried after you mill it down then even better.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View lobro4's profile


207 posts in 3451 days

#2 posted 08-19-2009 07:30 PM

Of course if you can save some pieces, why not. On another note is that Apple is a terrific wood for smoking meats! If you can’t/don’t use it for lumber, I bet you could get a little cash or maybe some free ribs from a BBQ enthusiast in your neighborhood. Man… just the thought makes me hungry.

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4124 days

#3 posted 08-19-2009 07:33 PM

Apple makes beautiful tool handles.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3887 days

#4 posted 08-19-2009 07:43 PM

apple wood has beautiful grain patterns. I would definitely mill it for lumber and let it dry.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3509 days

#5 posted 08-19-2009 07:49 PM

Ditto on all the top…I keep the smaller pieces to hack up and use in the Bar-B-Que as they give tremendous flavor. The bigger pieces are great to turn…or as accents to other projects…and as mentioned above…it’s one of the benefits of doing this as a hobby….you can use the entire tree..(I even use the leaves for compost!)....

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3541 days

#6 posted 08-19-2009 09:00 PM

Wait til winter if you can. Cut and save every piece from any fruit tree. Logs and large branches—4inches up, cut up to 4’ length. Paint all cut surfaces ends and branch cuts with 2-5 coats of Weatherbeater latex paint. Put it in an outdoor shed unheated for 1-3 years. Do the same with branches 2-4”. These become picture frame pieces, small furniture parts, canes and walkers, bed parts, rustic furniture parts. Everything smaller can be cut into craft pieces for mini-christmas, troll and doll scenes. All remaining branches cutoffs and anything else you dont want to use becomes wood for the food-smoker/BBQ grill. I use all fruit wood. Apricot, apple, plum and pear make excellent handles, turned objects, finials, door and drawer pulls and most will take a high polish with a progression of grits and elbowgrease. Now for the painted logs and branches: If left to dry on thier own they will twist, split and generally leave you with “rustic” (read not high quality artisan materials) material for interesting but not fine quality objects. They need to dry slowly and use only the best pieces. Remember the rest goes to the smoker pile. The logs can be resawn on your table saw with a simple jig for the crosscut sled. Same for ripping on the band saw. I usually don’t cut boards greater than 5/8” I don’t select out spalting, weak wood or outright rot at this stage. I make those decisions when constructing panels for the final project.

Fruitwood holds bark well dried in this manner but you must be ginger in removing any paint on the bark. Walking sticks, canes, buttwhackers and such look great with a mix of bark, underbark, sapwood and heart wood. Sticks are not fine furniture if they crack from uneven drying. All these woods have very uniques grain patterns and make wonderful stock for whittled figures, scandinavian flat-plane carving and all types of turned objects. I rarely stain or dye the wood and with enough time, sanding and buffing the object delivers a most wonderful finish.

A handful or two of twigs, chips or sawdust on the grill makes just a hint of wood smoke flavor for red meat, fish and chicken wheels. Not a bit should be wasted from any fruit wood—I keep 3-4 large garbage cans on hand. Dried and ready to smoke. Funny but fruit smoking wood was the only thing at my rummage sale that got the asking price. ($8/paper garbage bag-full). People just seem to go goofy for fruit wood. If you do too, I bet you’ll get a better price for your products because of your enthusiasm.

Not that I have any strong opinions. Best wishes, spj

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

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