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Forum topic by Sapling posted 08-29-2009 01:09 AM 1324 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sapling's profile


2 posts in 3158 days

08-29-2009 01:09 AM

Hello everyone. Just discovered this site a week ago and have spent a bunch of time viewing “project” pictures, reading comments, etc. You folks have a fantastic site, full of beautiful project pictures and commentary. I’ve always had an interest in woodworking, but seemingly never the time or motivating event to get me started. As of now the only tools that I have that could be remotely connected with woodworking are a few chisels, hammers and a chainsaw (ha, ha) but I’m fascinated by the prospect of turning some bowls, plates, etc. so I think I know what my first purchases will be. Now to a few basic questions, if you would be so kind as to indulge a novice with what are probably idiotic questions.

On my little ranch, and via properties of friends, I’ve got access to standing timber of probably over 20 different species of hardwoods. So I’m itching to get out there with my chainsaw and start building up an inventory of seasoned wood. I assume that it is very important to minimize cracking, etc. in the drying process, so: should I put wax, white latex paint or some other similar product on the cut ends immediately after cutting? Or let the logs “season” for a few days before “painting” the ends? I have a 3 sided cattle shed that I plan on using for air drying, unless you folks advise me that I need a 4 sided, fully enclosed structure.

Another question: If I were to cut down a big pecan tree, in hopes of having it sawed into boards for later on making a table, is it best to air dry the log for a period of time (how long?) and then take it to a sawyer? Or should I take it to the sawyer “green” and then either let him kiln dry the boards or take the boards home and air dry them?

I’ve got loads of other questions, but will wait a while before I pester you with them.

Thanks in advance,


10 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3787 days

#1 posted 08-29-2009 01:18 AM

Sapling, the ends of the boards should be sealed to prevent checking since wood will lose moisture faster through the ends. Any type of product that seals the wood- latex paint, wax, etc.- will work but the consensus is that Anchorseal, a product designed for this type of application, works best.

The second question I really do not have an answer for. If I were in that situation I would take them to a sawyer as soon as possible in order to start the drying process. Air drying will take about a year for each inch of thickness.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 3484 days

#2 posted 08-29-2009 01:33 AM

The wood will dry alot faster if its cut into boards while green (unseasoned) but taking them to a sawer can be expensive. Depending on how big the logs are, you may even be able to cut them into boards yourself. you can buy a chainsaw mill which aren’t too expensive to cut the logs into usable sizes so you can put them through your bandsaw; or better yet you can make your own chainsaw mill quite cheaply like this one-

but this all depends on what you already have and how much you are looking to spend

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3530 days

#3 posted 08-29-2009 01:36 AM

Welcome to Lumber jocks Sapling. Find someone willing to saw the logs first, they like it green. Not to discourage but some can be picky about what they cut. You can air dry under a roof, but go here and read up.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3542 days

#4 posted 08-29-2009 01:40 AM

Welcome to Ljs seem the others have this question handled

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3239 days

#5 posted 08-29-2009 01:51 AM

Check with Woodmizer (it’s a portable sawmill company)

They used to keep a list of local owners you could contact to give you pricing for cutting up logs.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3355 days

#6 posted 08-29-2009 01:24 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks! Lots of friends with lots of talent!

I look forward to your projects and posts.

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3780 days

#7 posted 08-29-2009 04:23 PM

It seems to me everytime I take a tree out of my woods, mother nature has done a much better job of providing hundreds of little saplings around the tree I take out than I could plant myself.

Taking a “few” trees out of my woods will never affect future generations. My woods is quite capable of regenerating itself without my help. Unless you clear cut and trash a large section at a time, I’m sure mother nature can fend for herself.

Sawmills are cheap, particularly when you compare the price to the big box stores. Paint ends, saw green, sticker flat as possible, 1” = 1 year for air drying. The kilns around my parts are not really expensive to get your wood in a couple of weeks. Even at a $1 a bf for sawing and $1 a bf, it would still be cheaper the the store.

I’m guessing $$ varies quite abit from region to region. I would prefer to get a sawmill on site. It’s much easier to handle the sawn lumber (I get tired of lugging logs around.)

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3429 days

#8 posted 08-29-2009 06:23 PM

I agree with the above posts. Saw green and sticker. I use a local sawyer who is set up with a large stationary bandsaw. He removes a 3/32 kerf instead of 3/8. About every 5th or 6th board is found wood instead of sawdust. I only pay 25 to 30 cents per board foot of milled wood. No smooth faces, just cut to my specs. I can have an entire flitch or have him focus on standard lumber sizes, depends on what I want. I would treat the ends as logs, lots easier than indiv boards.
As far as stickers go, I bought mine from the sawyer and just recycle them over the years. This way, they are all the same thickness on all four sides, much flatter stack. Don’t forget to weigh down the top with cinder blocks or something heavy.
Heads up, pecan and hickory WILL attract bugs. I recommend kiln drying for these two species. I have asked sawyers and they don’t know of anything to treat the wood with to keep the bugs and beetles away that won’t stain the wood. You might ask an exterminator.
Hope this helps. Just a few things I’ve run into the last several years. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4902 posts in 3925 days

#9 posted 08-29-2009 07:14 PM

I do not suggest that the logs be stored uncut unless the bark is removed first. Bugs, BUgs, BUGs, BUGGGGGGS will eat your wood. Rough saw and sticker. Oh, buy a moisture meter.


View Sapling's profile


2 posts in 3158 days

#10 posted 08-31-2009 03:26 PM

Thank you very much for all the comments and links. They are very helpful and informative.

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