Oh boy, I've got a pile of cherry...

Now I've done it. We recently had to take down a very big black cherry tree on our property for fear limbs would fall off and hit the house or a car. Anyway, I asked the guy if there was any chance I could get a little bit milled as I thought it would be nice to make a box or something small from a tree that came from our land, all .14 acres of it. He said "Sure, I have a friend with a mill".
Well, today I came home and pulled in the driveway and in the back, at the far end of the driveway there is a pile of cherry in 12' lengths, about 10 foot wide, and about 2' hight. Each one is ~4/4 or 5/4. I stood there thinking what the hell am I going to do with all of this? It is milled to thickness, but the edges need to be cut to width, so there is a reasonable amount of waste.
I went and got my next door neighbor who also does some woodworking. He said he has a spot on his land that we can use to stack it. I found a good document on stacking so I think I'm good there. But should I cut the wood to width before I stack it or just leave it in it's "uneven" state and wait for it to dry? It will be outside for the most part.
-Jim
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First off, let me be the first to say "you suck". Congratulations.
I would leave the edges as-is if space it not a major concern. You never know if you will want to just a few short in-line-with grain boards from an S-shaped stick. Or you may *want* that sapwood for an intentional color contrast.
Also the rough edges will help you reassemble the puzzle of the tree if you want adjacent boards for optimal matching. Keep things in "flitch order" if possible.
Basically, you save space but loose options when you cut off the edges.
-Steve

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Others have said to leave the edges and I agree, but it might be a good idea to scrap the bark off while it is green, insects and decay love bark.
It will be much nicer to work with later sans bark.
Notes on air drying, the further from the ground the stack is the better, 12 inches at least and make the top layer some junk lumber or sheet metal roofing, you can lose a good deal of material from sun damage and drying too fast. I would paint the ends with cheap latex paint or melted wax, cherry is bad to split while drying especially the wides.
I know all this sounds like a lot of work but it will save you a lot of valuable wood.
basilisk
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What a cleverly disguised drive-by gloat. You suck, you know that? <G> Dry first, dimension later. Upscale said it: get a moisture meter they're cheap enough these days.
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I'd cut it after it's properly stacked and dried. You might also want to pick up a moisture meter.
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[...]

Way cool. In addition to the other advice you've already received, I'd suggest getting hold of a copy of "Fine Woodworking on Wood and How to Dry It" if that isn't the "good document" you already have. There's loads of good information there, not only on stacking, but on all aspects of the drying process.
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I have seen some big cherry trees cut down then cut into little pieces of firewood Nice to hear about one being saved

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I have done tons of air drying over the years: If the boards have sawdust on them, wash it off with a garden hose before stickering. That sawdust holds moisture and dirt dust that can mold and mildew, causing black discoloration on the lumber. If you are in a low humidity area, you may want to wet the boards daily so that they don't dry too fast, however you don't want the boards to rot. Do this as best you can so that the wetted boards drain well. Don't sticker the lumber in direct sunlight...some boards will dry too fast. For air drying lumber, a slow-drying process is best. Fast drying lumber will check and warp.
Check around for a kiln and see if the price for kiln drying is in your budget.
Sonny
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Thanks for all the replies. I'll post a picture of it all when I get a chance. The best part was my wife asking "Great, how are we going to get rid of all of it..." I love her.
I did find this web site:
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G5550
So, I won't cut it down, get it way up off the ground, and put "sticks" in between it and cover it with something for a roof. I'll look around for a kiln, but I have no idea where one could be. At the risk of CSE making a midnight run I'll tell you I am on the NH Seacoast, so if anybody knows of a kiln in that area please let me know.
-Jim
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Will you look at that! So, now, we are reduced to second best. The guy gets some free lumber and pushes us to the side. Pfffttth! That's even worse than gloating.
Sonny
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Perhaps the New Hampshire Directory of Sawmills & Lumber Wholesalers would help
http://extension.unh.edu/forestry/sawmill/sawmill_dir_print.cfm
I love Google.

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Thank you for that. Turns out Rand Lumber is right around the corner from me and they do "custom drying". I haven't lived in this area all that long and don't know a lot of the local business'. I don't have a truck so I'll see what the cost would be to pick it up. Had I known there would be this much I would have gotten ahead of this and had them deliver it there. I like saying "this much"...
-Jim
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Oh, man. You need to 'splain to your wife that what you've got is worth a lot of money, even wholesale. Share with friends, make projects. Cherry may well be the sweetest North American wood to work, and the most beautiful.
Of course, what you've got doesn't look anything like that black crap sold in furniture stores...be glad of that.
About a year from now, properly stickered and covered cherry should be down to usable dryness. Check with a meter. Finish dry in your attic for maybe two or three weeks for cabinet wood dry. Once dry, move the wood indoors.
And, most important: ENJOY! You have a once in a lifetime deal.
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First of all, your doing it all wrong. You need to store that wood on my property where it will well taken care of. What's your address - I'll come and get it for you. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself.
P
wrote:

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-Jim
Woodweb has a forum on drying. http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/sawdry.pl
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