My late grandmother resembled that remark. She WAY overplanted the yards
on the small-lot house she owned, too close together and too close to
house. (No old trees, other than the old fenceline by street.
Subdivision was an old farm field.) Me and my brothers ended up ripping
out a lot of trees and bushes over the years.
Leave the tree alone and add a second story to the house. Ask a
qualified arborist to estimate the value of the tree...you may be
quite surprised. Losing the tree may in fact reduce the value of your
1. Cutting it down will likely diminish your property value more than an
addition will increase it. I'd rework my addition ideas.
2. "White" oak (and "red" oak) tell nothing about the species of the tree as
each color has many species in it and the characteristics of the species
vary widely. I have around three dozen "white" oaks about the size (or
larger) as yours on my property. They are live oaks - Quercus virginiana -
and the wood is only good to burn; it splits, checks and twists as you
wouldn't believe if you try to dry it. Doesn't burn real well either; hot
but not pretty because there are precious few things in it to gas and make
Trees like mine used to be good for ship building because the trees don't
know the meaning of growing up...the limbs twist and flop around like an
amnesiac, often bending down to the ground, and the ship builders could cut
out curvy stuff.
They are messy too. They just finished dropping tons of leaves and millions
and millions of acorns; they will start dropping blossoms soon. Those
things end but the dropping of twigs never does. All of which means I have
to blow off my courtyard bricks at least twice a week. They also drop *BIG*
limbs from time to time. I'm talking limbs that weigh many tons...they
split off the main trunk due to rot and/or weight...they get hit by
lightning. Fortunately, neither I nor the house has ever been under one
when it fell.
Despite their messiness I wouldn't cut down a single one.
3. You might get lumber out of it, depends on what it is. Ask a local
I've seen chainsaw mills that cut the trunk into slabs,then they get
stacked,stickered and dried for about a year,then need to be planed down
flat and to working thinkness.
You can also hire people who own portable mills to cut up your tree into
planks,they need to be stacked,stickered,and dried for about a year.They
usually work for some percentage of the finished wood,or charge a fee.
Wood magazine also ran an article about using a shop bandsaw(a large one)
to cut small,short sections of tree into planks that still need to be
dried,planed flat and to thickness.
also,"green",undried wood is good for lathe turnings.
Making lumber is something you can do yourself, but it is time
consuming, labor intensive, and messy. On the other hand, it is
grandly rewarding. Here is some info and pictures of some Burr Oak I
Don't let the greenies find you! How dare you cut down a mega-CO2-to-oxygen
converter for a remodel!
What you can make out of it depends on the equipment and skills you have.
You can rough it and chain saw some nice barn wood type lumber and add it
to your addition. You could make a porch swing. You could make a lot of
nice things if this is cut properly. Just make sure you have a metal
detector to make sure you don't cut into some nails.
Around here, the lumber harvestors won't deal with urban trees, mostly
because of the probability of nails, but also because its a lot tougher
cutting down a tree surrounded by houses than one in a wood lot.
Oak does make excellent firewood.
My father in law had some black walnut growing at a home he lived at.
When the state bought the house to bring a road through he harvested
the trees and made Grandfather clocks from the wood.He also made a
nice oval table by taking a diagonal slice out of one of the trunks.
He sanded it smoth with a floor sander.
Thanks to all who responded and for the helpful replies.
Although i didn't mention it in OP..
We do *NOT* want to cut the tree we were told by the
Builder/Contractor that the tree will not survive the nature of the
remodel and the tree appears to have grown past it's expectancy
anyways. They recommended removal.
I asked my question to make best of bad situation and to try and
honor the tree we like by using the wood in the house (furniture,
flooring, staircase, etc).
The problem is they built the house to close to the tree to begin
At the very least i plan to revisit the idea of saving it with
Builder/Contractor push the point a little harder.
Looks like the time and effort to cut/store/dry/season wood is going
to be problematic but doable.
Thanks for help responders.
Ask advice of:
(1) A cabinetmaker or antique repair shop in your vicinity.
(2) Operator of a sawmill in your vicinity.
Costs of transport (from your property to a user's) are
the second factor likely to determine utility. The first
factor is the particular species of timber and its
dimensions (before and after felling.) It is common
to discover theoretically beautiful and strong timber
has no market value locally (although in another
place it might be very valuable.)
I don't know about white oak, but I cut some red oak from my property
in 1983. I had to wait until the mill's blade was due for overhaul;
that is, where any "wire" in the logs would do the least damage to
the teeth. (And people - they had a death from flying wire a few
After sawing, the oak was kilned.
I use it for wood woodworking and still have about 200-300 bd ft left.
I also used red oak for firewood. Lots of heat and it splits easy.
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