Cutting and Drying Cherry (Laural?)

Greetings,
I removed what I believe to be a cherry laurel from our yard this year and would like to attempt to use the wood for woodworking rather than chunking it into the fireplace. I live in the southeast (GA), and the tree was about 30' tall and 18" or so at it's base. It became infested with eastern tent caterpillars every year.
I could be wrong on the species, cherry laurel wood purportedly is white in color, but this wood is reddish, becoming more so on exposure to the sun. There is a 3/4" white ring around the tree (sapwood?) under the bark, but the remainder of the wood is reddish. There are red pitch pockets and veins scattered in the grain - along with some black pencil-lining. Characteristics that all make me think "cherry".
I DAGS on the question, and have read many web site pertaining to drying wood and now have more questions that when I started.
Briefly, the tree was removed a week ago. I cut it into 5' logs that were barely manageable. I painted the ends with a shellac based primer. They were moved to the garage. Nothing else has been done.
I cut one of the branches into 2" thick slabs, planed it flat to look at the grain structure, and exposed it to sunlight. It's actually quite beautiful! And the more sun exposure, the redder it gets.
Either way, I want to attempt to reclaim this tree. I have only basic woodworking tools available. 14" bandsaw with riser, chainsaw, 13" planer and 6" joiner, hand planes. And minimal storage space. ;-)
Any suggestions as to how to proceed? In 100 words or less? I don't have or want a kiln, air drying is the only possible method.
Should it be slabbed while green or wait until the "free (sap) moisture has evaporated?
Debarking?
How can I reduce/eliminate the stress cracking that this wood is obviously prone to? The logs began to crack at the ends within a day of cutting.
Approximate dry time?
Any other real-world experiences?
Thanks, Greg
Greg G.
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On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 14:30:54 -0400, Greg G. wrote:

yep
sounds like cherry so far.

air drying is fine. do it in a cool dark place.

as soon as possible.

as necessary to get it through your band saw, remove insect infestations and keep it drying straight. if the moisture content is high (at this time of year it probably is) the sapwood will be wetter than the heart and will shrink more as it dries.

mill it. it's cracking because it can't shrink evenly while the rings are whole. slice it up and the stresses won't be fighting to keep things round. you'll get cupping, depending on how you cut the log.

1 inch per year.

watch for powder post beetles and other critters. they can turn your nice wood into junk quickly.

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snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com said:

I hope so - either way, it's nice looking wood and I plan to build a coffee table for SHMBO from it. I want to use the highly figured burl from a crotch for a jewelry box - since I don't currently own a lathe.

What about control of the humidity? Is too low a humidity level going to cause additional cracking or case hardening? I heat the garage in the winter, and the humidity level drops considerably below it's already low levels - 5-10%.
Would it fare better placed outside under a tarp - stacked on concrete blocks and stickered?
I also have a vaguely heated basement area that stays warmer than outside, but not truly "heated".

I'll get on it...

Good to know. I processed some white pin oak last year, and beetles ate thousands of pin holes through it within days of it being felled. It's still interesting, but not what I was after...
So winter would be the best time to fell a prospective tree for lumber usage?

Makes sense. I'll assume cutting oversize makes it dry slower, but leaves room for post dry processing/planing/straightening.

I was afraid of that... ;-)

See above Oak comment. They LOVE that stuff... Dinner bells ring when they hear the chainsaw.
My only remaining quandary is how to cut. I am splitting the logs in half with a chainsaw. A lot of waste, but they won't fit through the bandsaw otherwise. Trying to "read" the grain to maximize grain attractiveness is a tough job! Flatsawn? Quartersawn?
If this keeps up, and wood prices keep getting higher, I'll going to get a woodmiser... Yea, that's the ticket. They want $7.80 bd.ft. for Cherry in Atlanta.
"Dear - I need a giant 40" bandsaw with a hydraulic log lifter to build you that coffee table..."
Thanks for the information! I was thinking of letting it dry as logs 'till spring before cutting it up, but apparently that would have been a mistake.
Dr. Know
Greg G.
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Greg wrote:

Cherry Laurel is an evergreen. Sounds more like wild cherry. Makes nice bowls. If you cannot mill it immediately, it is nice to have some wax emulsion to paint on the end grain.
--

Gerald Ross, Cochran, GA
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Gerald Ross said:

I believe you are right - it IS wild cherry - not laurel.
I found a great publication printed by the US Agriculture Department/ Forestry Service:
General Technical Report FPL-GTR-118 Joseph Denig, Eugene M. Wengert, William T. Simpson
Look for it online as a PDF. Covers all aspects of lumber handling, from sawing trees to milling to drying techniques.
Greg G.
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[...]

Sure sounds like cherry. Post a picture of the bark to abpw (alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking) for positive ID.

Contact Wood-Mizer (www.wood-mizer.com). Their customer service dept can put you in touch with owners of their mills in your area.

No problem... stack and sticker, keep it dry, keep air moving through it, and you'll be fine.

ASAP.
Not necessary IMO.

Paint the ends with a sealant. Rockler sells a good one, but the name of it escapes me right now, sorry.

One year per inch of thickness, plus one year.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller said:

I may get around to it... I believe it is wild cherry, however.

This tree is not big enough to warrant that, but I will do so when anything larger comes along. We had a large 120' poplar removed last year from the middle of the driveway (!), and I cringed when I saw them throw it into a chipper. I know it's "just" poplar, but what a waste. I have built several nice projects from poplar. And it's great for prototyping. They get almost $3 bd. ft. for poplar here.
I'm trying to convince SWMBO to move away from this nasty city, and into the woods on 10-15 acres. Clearing minimally for a house and selective cutting/clean-up would result in more wood than I could EVER use in my lifetime! I would BUY a wood-mizer if this happens.
She doesn't want to leave the high speed internet connection. (We work at home doing IS/Programming support work.)

I put a shellac based primer on it, but I may pick up some paraffin and dissolve it in mineral sprints and retreat. It's what I had handy at the time...

This is the part that pains me. I want to use it - NOW! ;-) Guess that leaves plenty of time to decide what to build and change my mind 10 times...
Thanks for the information!
Greg G.
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When I lived in Las Vegas I had some fresh cut 4/4 cherry. It dried in 10 days. The garage temp was 120 and the R.H was 10%.
Ray
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Ray R said:

I wish... The relative humidity here hovers around 85% in the summer, with temps in the 90s dF. In the winter it goes down to 15-25% - temps ~25 dF.
If you don't run air conditioning in the summer, all the wood in your house cracks the following winter... Doors warp, Cabinet joints separate.
Greg G. (In the SouthEast)
Greg G.
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