I have a few 6" diameter by 15" long English Walnut limbs of a tree
that was recently cut down.
My brother in law is going to cut them down into boards. He said to let
them dry for a couple years before I use them. How do I do this? Is
there a quicker way?
how thick are they cut? figure 1 year dry time for every inch of
thickness for normal air drying on stick spacers called stickers. to dry
quicker add heat but not to much as it will lead to problems . depending
on the part of the country your in and relative humidity, i would
suggest after air drying for a couple 3-4 weeks take it up to about 112
degrees with air circulation with relative humidity lower than the
moisture content of the wood and it will dry much faster.
look up kiln drying on the web.
I haven't tried using limbs for project wood, but from what I've read,
it's far from ideal because limbs are a mix of compression wood (bottom
of branch) and tension wood (top of branch). When this mix of wood is
ripped into boards, these two types of wood will almost definitely not
dry evenly, but instead will cause the board to warp, twist, bend, cup,
I have had experience with a 2x4 from a tree that must have been
leaning - when I ripped it into 2x2s on the bandsaw, it went from a
straight board to 2 wildly curved boards. Crazy - I'm glad I wasn't
using a TS where it could have grabbed the blade and bound up.
I'm not sure how this type of wood affects turning - hopefully someone
else will contribute to that question.
Check out the following article for more info:
Sorry to spoil your great idea - is there any wood left from a straight
trunk of that english walnut?
All of the above is true, and turnings are generally spun oversize, left to
dry and contort, then re-turned for circular. Don't need straight boards
All you ever wanted to know about drying and wood at
Right price, too.
I'd saw five or six quarter hoping for useable four.
Not only that, but even if you managed to get the boards small enough
to straighten and flatten in the beginning, the normal seasonal changes
would be exaggerated by the compression/tension issue such that you
would have boards that squiggled around like a frightened python.
As for turning the wood, I can't say. But I imagine the same issues
would come into play with seasonal changes.
On the other hand, you would have absolutely deLIGHTful firewood...
On 1 Jun 2006 10:44:08 -0700, wood email@example.com wrote:
It's great for turning, but don't ask how to dry it if you value your
sanity- anything from dishsoap to burying it out in the yard wrapped
in cheesecloth while performing Voodoo rituals is fair game in that
Good to know...thanks. One of these days I'm going to take the plunge
and get a lathe. The only reason I don't have one now is that, if I
did, I really wouldn't leave the house at all anymore.
BTW, if you go the Voodoo route, should the feet be from a right-tilt
or a left-tilt chicken? :-)
On 1 Jun 2006 18:26:51 -0700, wood firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Left tilt, though some say a right-tilt is ok when the moon is full.
But in any case, you have to soak yourself in alcohol for a bit, wash
your hands with dishsoap, put on a mask of PEG, let the wood sit for a
while on the cool floor, then stick it up on a high shelf in a paper
bag and rotate 3.7 degrees on it's axis every second Tuesday for
several years, microwave it, boil it- and then do the aforementioned
Of course, sometimes they still crack even then. :)
Lathes are fun, but they really are an odd little world unto
You could make a kiln. A lot depends on the conditions under which you
store the wood, too. Proper stickering(allows airflow around all
sides)can help. These are pretty small pieces to begin with, and
allowing for checking, splitting, movement, etc., may eat up a lot of
your stock. Perhaps others here can advise, too. Tom
1" thick lumber stickered and kept in a hot attic for one summer should
be useable that winter.
Wood frokm tree limbs (DAGS "reaction wood") is reported to have
poor stablity so one might keep that in mind when planning
Each one who has responded to your question is right. Indeed they are.
but what have you got to loose except some time? I wouldn't bother with
a Kiln myself, not for those few small pieces. I would only air dry. I
do like that idea of putting those small pieces in the attic during the
summer. I never thought of that. The heat up there would really drive
that water out.
Who knows how it will turn out. At that size, even if they twist and
warp badly, you may be able to match two pieces which are twisted or
warped into a nice shelf. Imagine the two upright sides each twisted in
the opposite direction and placed between two shelves so that a smaller
shelf was at the top, and a larger shelf at the bottom, with the sides
twisted out to make that bottom shelf a curved shelf. What an Eye
catcher it would be. How many would ask you how you managed to do that?
The key is always to make use of what you have available to you. There
is always a way to either fix, or to make use of some flaw in a piece of
wood. I have seen many beautiful item made which was greatly enhanced by
a flaw in the piece.
Yes, each answer is right and correct. Each has a valid point which only
you can evaluate. I know that I have made things out of some woods
which others said should have been firewood, but they came out as
Note the even if a piece twists, bends, and cracks very badly, you can
always cut it down even smaller to make things like pens, handles,
candle holder, and such. It does not have to be kept as large pieces.
Gentlemen, I than each of you for your answers, they bring back many
memories of the times when I cut down trees, cut into lumber myself with
a chainsaw, air dried, and then built with, and used for many projects.
Yes even some for the firewood for my wood burning furnace. Even the
bark could go into the furnace.
Not being an expert like most here, I did cut up some walnut a friend
had stacked up for firewood outside. I don't know if that made a
difference - it wasn't protected from rain/snow etc so it went from
wet to dry and back again.
I made several boards about 3/8" thick by about 18-20" long and maybe
5-6" wide. II've used them for a lot of little projects as trim and
handles and even box lids and they haven't given me any grief after a
couple of years glued together.
Nothing but high-tech massive macho machinery for me. I whacked off
the bark with a hand axe and then cut the logs on my Grizzly 14"
bandsaw and sanded them on a belt sander. Eventually I bought a DeWalt
thickness planer and now use that to finish the stuff off.
On Fri, 2 Jun 2006 10:09:07 -0500, "Bob Moos"
Agreed. I have no intention of being a sawyer. :) It's just
something I'd like to know how to do, so if I do happen to come across
a nice tree being taken down, I can do something with the trunk.
Ideally, I'd like to find a mill in my area where I could just take
the odd tree trunk to and have it cut for me. But I haven't found
that yet. The local hardwood dealer will only do sawyer work for
very large volumes, and thus it's neither cost effective for them
I was wondering how things would get started with one of these
devices. I found the web site for the device you mentioned. That
site explains a lot about how rough beams and planks can be made with a
chainsaw. That certainly looks to be something that's within my
budget and I'd be able to do.
Good advice. Although not the subject of this thread, I was mostly
interested in this type of device for doing tree trunks.
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