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Black Walnut Tree4/3/14
I have a Black Walnut Tree that is over 11' in circumference at 5' high on the trunk. The trunk is limbless for about 25'. The tree is over 50' tall. The limbs are straight and thick as well. I am in NJ.
I am taking it down because it is destroying my garage. The house is historic and we have to maintain the garage.
I want to use some of the wood for a fireplace mantel and to make a dining room table. However, there is going to be a great deal of wood left over.
I know the retail value of this wood, but I have never sold wood before, and I am not a lumber yard.
I got a price to fell the tree and deliver it to the mill. I am working on the milling part.
I plan to cut the trunk into 3" x 8' slabs. I plan to cut the limbs into 8' lengths at their thickness. My idea/hope is to sell the remaining wood and let that person either kiln dry or air dry it themselves. I will kiln dry my own.
Any advice anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. I need to recoup my money of course, but if anyone has an approximate value I would appreciate it. If there is a better way to cut the wood please let me know.
Any knowledge would be appreciated.
If it is solid with no metal in it, your best bet is to sell it for veneer... then take the money and buy whatever you want...
Could you please explain what you mean by metal? If you mean nails or hooks, I don't think that is going to be an issue.
How do I find a veneer resource?
IF everything is as stated AND not hollow the first 2 cuts could be veneer and that would help ALL your cost offsets IF it doesn't meet EC's statement of yardtree in which what I've read it does indicate. IF you can sell the first 2 cuts that should leave you with approx 5-6 ft before the crotch...maybe long enough for a mantel or beautiful table top material if you like rustic. The limbs can be risky sawing due to stress on the growth pattern is usually one sided (offset pithe) and that usually results in twisting/warping boards. Full fletches on large curved limbs can produce beautiful benches!!
check out my website, there are some yardtrees but most are field/woods trees.
Metal....can also be wire insulators. ANY foriegn object in a log is danger to sawyers.
IF it's as close enough to a garage to be causing havoc then the gamble is it has metal or foriegn objects. if it's been around that many years somebody(s) has attatched something to it ESPECIALLY if it's in the city.
Veneer resource...check with a local forestry agency...most of their services are free. He may also be able to help you identify a few of the tale/tell signs of metal prior to cutting....bark inclusions etc., etc.
T.Tim has info you asked about.. after you cut it down, you can often see black or other colors on end of log indicating metal in the log... also check with local mills as they will normally know who buys veneer logs in your area...
Wow! Thanks Tennessee Tim & EC Aumiller,
I'm pretty certain there is no metal. The house was built in a period in my town when it was occupied by the wealthiest of Manhattan. These houses were their "summer cottages." (Wouldn't that have been a nice life?) It is also between 2 garages on a decorative median that has never had fencing. I don't think the city would have allowed them to hang anything from the tree up until the late 70's when the town kind of fell apart. I know the owner that lived here then and they say it never had anything on it during their time here. The space on either side is very tight.
So, I'm going to cross my fingers. I hope it works because I cannot afford the cost, but I already have a crack from floor to ceiling on all 3 walls of my garage. Now to find a veneer place and the mill.
I really hope this works out. You have made me hopeful.
One more question. I have not climbed up to measure the arms but I can tell they are at least 12" in diameter and a good 15' in length at that size, obviously diminishing a little. Do you think making a 6' solid mantle out of that would be a bad idea?
When you have it sawn, especially anything above the butt logs... saw them an inch or inch & half larger than you want the finished mantel.. after they have been kiln dried or completely air dried, then you will have room to flatten it down to finished size to get any warp, bow, etc out of it..
Thanks man. I appreciate it.
Most mills would go over it pretty thoroughly with a metal detector. Even so, chances of selling it as veneer would be slim to none. 11' circumference translates to 42" diameter. Using the diameter as a basis to scale the height, it looks like you've got a 12' butt log. The lumber calculators I found on line base their calculations on a minimum of a 16' log and max 40" diameter (740 bd ft Doyle, 731 bd ft Int'l 1/4) Multiplying that by 12/16 to compensate for the shorter log, and multiplying by 1.2 (22/20)square (since area is proportional to the square of the radius), I estimate 666 bd ft Doyle, or 657 bd ft Int'l 1/4. With the narrow kerf of the band mill, I'd estimate around 750 board feet in the butt log. Very few sawmills can handle logs that size without breaking them down with a chain saw mill. What I typically do in this situation is to cut four 3" thick slabs out of the center with the chain saw mill, cut the remainder of the log in half, and mill them on the band mill. As much as it pains me to say this, milling branches is a lesson in futility. You might get some wood suitable for rustic furniture, but don't count on a mantle. Here's a photo of what happens, due to the stress in the wood.
If I were bidding on the tree (and I would ONLY bid with it ON THE GROUND), I would go as high as $1.00/ bd ft for the butt log only. Probably not enough to recover the cost of removing it. I hope this isn't too discouraging. I would be very interested to hear how it all works out.
Picture didn't come through. Here's another try. Lots of stress in this one!
Nonetheless it has to come down. I am doing my research and my homework so I can recoup as much as possible.
I'll let you know how it all turns out.
My father bought many trees like that for veneer... once it is down, it will be fairly easy to see if any metal in it... check with someone in the area who buys veneer... the most they can say is nope, but good possibility it will sell for veneer if metal free..
When it is down, measure the logs above the fork.. the picture shows it splitting in the center and much more curvature than what it looks like you have... also I would have cut the one in the picture differently... shorter, with curve down and split down the center..
Define limbless to 25'....the pic, if my calculations are correct shows approx 14' to the first crotch or knot...this is by pic hieght versus stated width and cross checking according to building guessimates story hieghts. It can be a dandy IF things are good BUT that close to 2 garages and NO metal or foriegn objects would be one in a thousand odds.
Now as a risky miller I'd saw it BUT to consult it's a jewel...not until it's down and checked thoroughly.
It appears to have a nice but cut!!
Thanks for all the input. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
I just sawed a large walnut that was brought down by the recent ice storm.
I have never seen a log more full of tramp metal than this one was. Turns out the kid who lived there (he's in his 60s now) built a tree house in it, steps, platforms, nails everywhere.
I hit a nail on every cut. I had to sharpen my chain 8 or ten times a day to cut it into pieces small enough for me to handle.
Was it worth it - well, I worked on the weekend, I got really good at square filing, sadly I used up a fair amount of the tooth length on an expensive chain, and there are black stains all through the wood - but it tells a story. I will pull the nails before further processing.
My metal detector did not register any metal due to the fact that these nails were so deeply buried in the log.
I love walnut more than I hate yard trees, so it's worth it to me.
Richard, I'm sorry I thought the posts were putting my website there also.....it remembers the email automatically..???!!!
Enjoy and have a Blessed day!!