Would you mill this tree?

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Forum topic by DavidTTU posted 05-15-2015 08:22 PM 1208 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 1663 days

05-15-2015 08:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: locust tree mill

My parents are removing a large Locust (?) tree from their backyard, or at least I believe it is a Locust tree. The tree is leaning and they are scared it will damage the house if we have a large storm blow through.

I am a hobbyist wood worker. Would this make decent lumber? Is there enough tree there to mill? In your opinion is it worth paying a sawyer to mill? I was quoted a very fair, 100 setup fee and 100 per hour fee from the sawyer. I know nothing about the milling process and admittedly need help. I have a basement I could store the wood in while it slowly drys.

-- -David -- Lubbock, TX

12 replies so far

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2323 days

#1 posted 05-15-2015 08:33 PM

I would be afraid of sawing into hardware from clothesline hooks, kids building tree forts, etc. That will really raise the sawyer’s fee! I don’t think it’s worth it. Makes good firewood though.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1989 days

#2 posted 05-15-2015 08:57 PM

Like Quanter said, most sawyers don’t want to deal with yard trees because so many have metal in them. The other problem with that tree is the clear length looks to be quite short at 5 or 6 feet, if you could cut it off low. If you could get the tree service to leave you the biggest trunk piece for no extra cost and contact a sawyer willing to take a yard tree that might work out. The crotch part might make good turning stock.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2514 days

#3 posted 05-15-2015 09:07 PM

Neigh sayers!

Use the 5-6’ if you can, save that crotch too.

You might even save a short section of the larger branches near the crotch.

If you can get a mill to cut it, be prepared to pay for a couple of extra blades, (negotiate that in advance).

YOu will have some darned hard wood there, great for custom furniture, cutting boards and a lot of other stuff.

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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2514 days

#4 posted 05-15-2015 09:09 PM

If you are energetic, dig the root ball out. All of that is going to be beautiful wood, figured or not.

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

View AZWoody's profile


1346 posts in 1251 days

#5 posted 05-15-2015 09:16 PM

I have my own small sawmill and I would definitely mill it if I had a tree that size.

Any good sawyer will have a metal detector to check for any foreign objects. Even then, most sawyers will just have a blade fee for foreign objects and damage to the blade.

If I’m sawing for myself, I tell friends that are on the lookout for me, anything from 6 to 24” wide and straight runs no shorter than 4 feet. Length can be up to 18 feet I think on my sawmill but I really don’t like cutting over 8’ as the slabs are unwieldy and will tend to warp quite a bit more

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1426 days

#6 posted 05-15-2015 09:26 PM

Yes, the trunk is worth it. The fattest branches also. +1 saving the crotch. Saw em up into 1/2” – 2”- thick boards that you can slice up into the needed thicknesses after drying. Do more shopping around for sawing/milling services. Even ask anyone you know who owns a chainsaw, and do the Alaska Chainsaw Mill thing; may be the cheapest option. Not sure you would want to cut/mill/turn the root ball. May have geological inclusions. Whatever. Give it a go, regardless. The stump will have to go anyway.

View HerbC's profile (online now)


1764 posts in 2886 days

#7 posted 05-16-2015 02:21 AM

Do NOT store the milled lumber in your basement to dry. Drying wood needs good airflow to dry properly. If you put it in your basement you will wind up with a lot of mouldy, rotten lumber.

You need to prepare a place to dry the lumber outside. You need to create a stable base raised off the ground about one foot (concrete “cinder” blocks work). Place cross brace timbers across the stack area spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Lay down a layer of boards, then use “stickers” made from dry lumber to provide air flow space between each layer, placing the stickers directly over the primary timbers supporting the stack. Cover the top of the stack with something to shield from water (rain). Use either roofing tin or plywood. Do not cover with a tarp or plastic sheeting since that will trap water and condensation. Don’t expose the wood directly to sunlight during the drying process. Depending on your location and the thickness of the lumber it will take anywhere from three months to two years for the material to be dry enough to use for furniture projects.

Google for How to air dry lumber.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


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

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1249 days

#8 posted 05-16-2015 02:31 AM

That’s what they invented metal detector for.

-- I meant to do that!

View tomsteve's profile


790 posts in 1246 days

#9 posted 05-16-2015 01:07 PM

If I had the tree, mill or access to mill and money for it, I’d mill it. Up to the to Of the crothc and firewood the rest. Unless they are large enough to get 2-3” thick slabs.

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1710 days

#10 posted 05-16-2015 02:53 PM

If it is really Black Locust, be aware of what you have … an extremely dense hardwood that will last as long as 100 years in direct contact with the ground. It is a great wood for fence posts and clearly other outdoor projects. A pain in the ass for most everything else. (Or so I hear, I’ve never worked the stuff myself.)

-- Jesse Felling -

View lndfilwiz's profile


106 posts in 1628 days

#11 posted 05-16-2015 03:46 PM

Having used Black Locust for fence post for many years, I have seen post last 35 years in the ground. I built two poles barns using locust. One barn was built with 6”X6” posts in 1980 and you can’t push an awl more than ½” into the ground level of the posts. If you try to put screws into seasoned locust, You will either strip the heads for break off the screws. Believe me, I have had it happen many times! I have found if you try to cut seasoned locust with a chain saw you can watch sparks come off the chain. I has some locust cut for floor boards and had to pre-drill them to install them in a barn.

-- Smile, it makes people wander what you are up to.

View WDHLT15's profile


1748 posts in 2503 days

#12 posted 05-17-2015 01:41 AM

In my opinion, hiring a portable sawmill to come in and cut one 5 – 6 foot trunk section would not be economical unless the tree has great sentimental value. There is a 100% probability that it has nails or other metal in it since it lives so close to little boys and other humans. At $25 a blade, the boards can get very costly.

Limb wood makes poor lumber because of compression and tension wood.

If cost is not an issue to you, then do it. Then, do what Herb advises when it comes to stacking and drying.

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

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