50 feet tall, 10"-12" trunk at the ground, 7"-8" 15 feet up. Straight as an
arrow. It's on the ground (blew over in a storm) and it's mine for the
How do I go about harvesting the tree? I have a big ass bandsaw to cut it
up. I've never done this before.
Thanks for the help.
I recently bought Lonnie Bird's "The Bandsaw Book" in anticipation of
getting a bandsaw for myself. It's got some information about milling
raw logs. I skimmed over that section since it's not in my immediate
future, but he built a sled to mill logs.
Hopefully you'll get some links to good info online.
With a tree that big, the pounds quickly become tons. This is not a job for
an amateur. Here in Maine there are plenty of small sawmills that will be
glad to load the tree on their truck, take to the mill, cut as directed and
deliver the wood to you for drying. I had a similar situation six years
ago, the wood is still under cover drying.
Agree - Unless your are equipped to handle it this might turn into a back
and bandsaw breaker. If you are going to try it yourself get at least one
Check local yellow pages for saw mill or hardwood dealer. A dealer might be
able to send you to an area sawmill. You might even find someone who can
kiln dry it. Otherwise clear some space for long term air drying. The wife
might not agree but at some point you might bring boards inside (good dry,
heated basement?) for stacking. Remember, each board should stacked and
spearated from others to allow air to reach all surfaces.
I'm no expert, but I have done a couple of trees in this fashion.
With that in mind...
First of all, it's a lot of work! This stuff is HEAVY and unwieldy!
As soon as possible, within HOURS, you should coat all end-grain cuts
with a sealer. I have been using paraffin dissolved in mineral
spirits, but there are several commercial products on the market.
They are rather pricey. From what I understand, latex paint is the
least desirable product to use, but it is better than nothing.
Asphalt/tar based roofing products are usable as well, but make a huge
mess on your tools. This is necessary to reduce/eliminate cracking
and checking of the wood. There is an interesting PDF available from
the US Forestry Department (FPL-GTR-118) at:
These links change periodically, they just can't leave things alone...
Other interesting things to read at:
So, after cutting the tree up into lengths to suit you, endcoat ASAP!
Consider saving the lowest chunk near the rootball for turning
purposes. Also, any Y's or large branches in the trunk. This is
where you will find the most interesting burls. Then split the
remaining sections into halves, preferably cutting exactly through the
center - probably with a chainsaw, 'cause you ain't gettin these into
a bandsaw. This is to reduce/stop the radial drying cracks.
After this is done, you can relax somewhat and cut the remainder at
your leisure - within reason. Keep the cut sections out of the direct
sun, off the ground, and watch for insects and fungi.
Make a jig that will hold the uneven lengths of trunk flat on the
bandsaw. This can be as simple as a 2x6 screwed to the side of the
log, shimmed with door shims to level and secure. Then with outfeed
and infeed tables, cut these heavy suckers into planks with a good,
clean 5/8 x 3TPI hook & steep-set raker blade. Timberwolf makes a
good one designed for green wood. Ceramic blade guides seem to work
well here, as they tend to rake the sap and muck from the blade while
cutting - in addition to keeping the blade aligned and temperatures
Your method of cutting is up to you, you can try to read the grain and
slab into the most desirable grain, but after you try cutting one of
these, you'll probably be glad to just get it over with... ;-)
Quarter-sawn, Flat-sawn, it's all up to you and how much effort you
want to put into the job!
If the wood is of some value, you might consider using a commercial
sawmill. They can do a good job much faster, and with less waste.
Thanks for all the great tips. I have secured a pickup truck but no able
bodied helper. Hopefully, I can lean and slide the logs into the truck. I
do have a heated, humidity free basement that should be adequate for air
drying. The owner informed me he already cut the trunk at the places I had
pointed out that I would cut it. Damn, I hope he did it right. Oh well,
it's free wood and it's walnut. Going over there Saturday with my chainsaw.
I offered to clean up the residue in exchange for the wood.
I have had several trees cut down on my property that I wanted to make
into 1" thick boards. Turns out that there is a guy that has a
portable saw mill in my area. He pulls it behind his pickup truck and
charges a very reasonable rate. Look in the Yellow Pages or ask around
the lumber yards or wood-working stores to find out if there is
someone in your area who would do the same.
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