I need to cut big oak tree on my front yard as it dangerously leans towards
the house. The tree is in excellent shape. I am thinking for possible
ripping the tree to boards, drying them and then using in various
woodworking projects. Is it realistic and makes sense? Has anyone ever done
this? What the issues can be and what I need to really accomplish that
There are those that are more knowledgeable but if the growth of that trunk
has been at an angle, that may not be a good choice to use for much other
than firewood perhaps.
The part of the trunk close to the house is under compression, with the
other side in tension. When you cut it for boards, you could end up with
curly Q's when that tension gets relieved and the wood starts to dry.
Or, and often even more fun, weighted wood that is stickered nicely can open up
like a broken zipper as it passes through the saw...or it can clamp down behind
the blade. All sorts of fun with reaction wood.
"It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from
H. L. Mencken
I just had some logs taken off my property last fall and the loggers took
leaning trees as well as straight standing trees. They were only concerned
for the normal stuff like how far up the tree the branches were, etc. They
didn't care about the lean. These logs all went off to become veneer,
hardwood boards or furniture. Cherry often grows with a lean around here
and birch does almost everywhere, and you see a lot of those woods around,
so I wouldn't think the lean causes a lot of problems.
You can hire someone with a portable mill to come to your house and saw the
wood for you. You will then need to stack it with spacers in between each
board so air can flow through it. You will need to place weight on top of
it as well and keep it dry. It has to dry for about a year for 1" thick
boards. Alternatively, you could take the boards to someone who could put
them in a kiln to dry much quicker. BTW, do you know if it is a red oak or
a white oak?
Judging from the nature of the question I'd have to say that it does not
make sense for you to take down the tree, which is leaning dangerously
towards a house, and saw it into boards.and what you need is someone with
the experience and equipment to do the job for you;
As for keeping and drying the boards, if you have the space to sticker and
store them for a year or more while they dry, that does make sense.
Have you made your own judgment that the tree must come down, or have
you consulted with a licensed *arborist* to determine the health of the
tree and it's likelyhood of causing you trouble in your area(frequency
of bad storms, etc.).
I have a near 95 yr old Black or Silver Maple that leans over my back
deck and some limbs towards the house and I'd never think of removing it
unless my arborist said it was necessary. In fact, when I put on an
addition, we "Root pruned" the tree just to protect it since the
basement came near and it's been fine...so far, 6 years later.
I chose to rely on the expert with the experience rather than my own
flight of paranoia or worry.
"The measure of a man is what he will do
Your house, your family at risk, your insurance company, your premiums, and
you let someone else make the decisions?
You were already committed to keeping the tree, I should say, and found
confirmation. Had the *arborist* detected a different lean in _you_ , he
might have come up with another decision.
Lot of former tree-lovers who built hereabouts have done a bit of clearing
after they experienced the problems that bare dirt under dense foliage can
cause with carpeting, and shade with mosquitoes, to name a few. I keep a
mile of paths brushed and mowed for when I want a walk in the woods. At
home I like sunlight, safety, and no taste of bug dope when dining
Yes, I consulted several tree experts and they share the same opinion: tree
is dangerously leaning towards the house. I would do everything possible to
preserve the tree, as it is very beautiful and provides important shade over
the house, but I wouldn't risk my family and house. No one knows when a
disaster may strike, the tree is over hundred years old for sure. Just two
weeks ago a branch from other huge oak fell across the street. The branch
and the tree was in excellent condition, no rot whatsoever. Last year I also
had another huge oak fell on neighboring playhouse parking lot. The tree
itself was also in excellent condition but the very base was completely
eaten out by unidentified bugs that caused tree to fall. That tree I was
able to cut and plat myself for firewood. now I have another firewood for
two lives. Since I am probably going to remove that oak on front yard I
would be more then happy to use the wood for my woodworking projects, at
least it would then pay for itself for removing the tree.
Don't even think about felling it yourself. If it's close enough to
cause a problem, it's a hard enough fell that you need someone
experienced, and with adequate insurance.
I don't know how much "lean" is, but typical oaks in my neighbourhood
are substantial enough that a leaning trunk is stil usable for timber.
Branches are usable too, but they have to be treated as reaction wood.
There's a good trade in "knees", ready-curved timbers for specialist
jobs such as boatbuilding and timber framing. Find matching pairs of
big "cruck" timbers and you're talking good money.
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