Tree hit by lightning, is lumber worth saving?

Is there much chance of getting usable lumber out of a lightning-struck tree?
A friend of a friend has a walnut tree that was killed by lightning, and I seem to have right of first refusal on the wood. I haven't seen the tree yet, so I don't know how large or how straight it is, or how much damage the lightning did. I'm wondering how much internal damage it's likely to have, that won't be visible until it is cut into lumber.
Anyone have experience sawing up lightning-killed trees?
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:>Is there much chance of getting usable lumber out of a lightning-struck tree?

Like JOAT sez, take the free wood. Tom Work at your leisure!
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I've cut a few lightning-struck trees up for firewood. Damage seems to depend on the strength of the strike. Some aren't damaged much. One 2' diameter red oak was pre-split right in the log. Each firewood length would split into three pieces when I cut it off.
Cut the trunk and look at the end of the log. You'll know whether you have boards or firewood.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him. - Thomas Carlyle

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Yep - crapshoot. Put it on the carriage, slab it, roll as required to saw for grade. You may get less than you hoped for, but you'll get all that you can.

tree?
I
yet,
have,
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Around here a lightning struck tree is called a devil wood tree by the old-timers. They say that the wood is no good for fire wood because it won't give in heat when burned and the lumber will ruin a saw. What is your experience with it? I have never had a chance to use any of it myself.

tree?
I
yet,
have,
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Sweet Sawdust notes:

Has to be the south. I've used several oak trees as firewood after they were hit by lightning. No useful lumber in them, but they did no damage to my chainsaw and gave off the same amount of heat as did any other red oak.
Charlie Self "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." George Orwell
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Wed, Oct 13, 2004, 1:36am (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (DougMiller) questions: Is there much chance of getting usable lumber out of a lightning-struck tree? <snip>
Apparently. Some years back I had a tree hit. I left it as is, and sometime later was asked for some of the wood, for a project. Don't recall if for turning, or what. But, it was long enough after the strike, insects had gotten at it, and it was useless.
If I recall right, the asker had used some before.
I'd say take it, but get at it fast.
JOAT Flush the Johns. - seen on a bumper sticker
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in message

Hi Doug, Happens all the time with walnut. When you go take a look at the tree, take notice to see if it's the largest walnut in the area. I don't know if it's the water content in it, but it always takes the largest (trunk circumference ), not tallest) when it hits walnut. I offered one farmer $6,000 for one in particular, since we had bought another even larger. He wanted to let it grow a few more years and that spring ligtning struck it and it was firewood. Sad thing is, I of course, warned him this happens, and he thought we were just working him.
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in message

Depends on the strike. I have about 1300 bf of QS WO that came out of a tree that was lost to lightning. If not for the lightning it would have gone to a veneer mill. It's a really pretty flitch and there is very little lightning damage. My knee-jerk reaction is that the damage will mostly be near the surface since that's where the water is. Also remember current travels on the surface of conductors (assuming some low frequency assumption which probably won't hold for a lightning bolt -- consider the lightning voltage as a delta function --- fills all frequency space). Also I've never played much with plasmas, especially lightning induced plasmas so I could be completely wrong on this case. hex -30-
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (hex) wrote in message

I've found it interesting after working in the southwest (Arizona) and now in East Texas to see the differance in the effect of lightning strikes. I'm talking mostly about pine (Ponderosa vs. Southern Yellow Pine). In the SW, most lightning strikes blow the tree all to hell and start a fire and may or may not kill the tree. In the SE, you seldom see more than a strip of bark peeled off, but the tree will most likely die (maybe the secondary bark beetles; Ips Ambrosia, Turpentine, etc.) The wood in these trees in the SE seems to be fine as we have salvaged many thousand board feet of this type of dead timber. Walnut, and other hardwoods may be a totally different animal.
Fred
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On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 01:41:34 -0700, Fred Miner wrote:

Interesting observation, as Ponderosa lumber is softer than SYP. Would be nice if someone could describe Doug Fir strikes.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"


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The damage depends more on the strike itself, not the species. If it's a "wet" strike it spends most of its energy on the outside.
SW is more likely to be dry lightning, which may explain his observation. I've seen anywhere from neatly peeled bark to standing splinters on the same species.

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On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 10:15:47 -0500, Australopithecus scobis

The Doug Fir strikes I've seen have involved blowing the top out of the tree and sometimes a strip out of the side. Many times it is just a burn down one side clear to the ground. I'm not sure that there is really a pattern on a species by species basis as I've seen the same things with Ponderosa and Western Larch (Tamarack). One thing that does seem to be universal is that the wood gets heated a lot, I've found big chunks blown out of green trees where the pieces were cooked completely dry, less moisture than kiln dried. I suspect that the heating and subsequent steam is what blows the trees apart and may be what causes cracking in the trunk.
Still, for the OP, I would suggest cutting it and seeing what is there.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 10:13:56 -0700, Tim Douglass

I've never seen a lightning-struck larch. If our larch get hit, they burn.
Not quite as bad as Australian gum trees, but you get the idea.
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in message

Doug, I can't believe you're asking this question. Didn't anyone in this group see, "The Natural?"
Wonderboy O'Deen
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     snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Patrick Olguin) writes:

Or at least The Simpsons? (That bat didn't fare quite as well, IIRC.)
--
Jeff Thunder
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
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