Black Walnut Tree DOWN advice wanted

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dupont6480

Tim
Senior User
Today a friend of mine called and stated one of his large Black Walnuts fell during IRENE. . .
He has a horse farm and it is blocking one of the gates and needs it gone and has offered it up to me if I can move it. I have a friend who has a saw mill, tree cutting business to include trucks, bobcats etc. I need advice on proper way to cut, move, season and dry the wood (how and how long) and proper way to cut in sawmill and when. . . so someday I can make some nice furniture and wood projects with this gift. My friend stated that the black walnut is toxic and the sawdust can cause problems with the horses and all the sawing and debris needs to be contained during operations. Please provide any and all advice on how to conduct the phases of this op and thanks in advance. Tim Note: I have not seen the tree yet so I can not provide length, girth etc at this time and will do so ASAP. (I am out of town at the moment)
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
Tim -

Black Walnut is indeed toxic to some extent, dust control is important. When milling, I would be sure the mill is well away from the horse corrals or pastures. Wear at least dust masks.

As far as the sawing goes, one of the sawyers will probably have better info, but here's my 0.02 worth.

> Be sure to coat the end grain with AnchorSeal or paraffin dissolved in mineral spirits to prevent differential drying and end checking.

> Flat sawn vs. QS - I don't think walnut offers alot in terms of meduliary rays which would be revealed in quarter sawing. IMO, QS will only benefit in terms of dimensional stability during drying. I think I would choose flat sawn.

> Drying - (all credit to Scott Smith) time will depend on how thick you saw. Assuming it is milled Sept/Oct, and putting it up in Virginia Beach - I think you can expect the following to reach 20% MC: 4/4 - ~110 days, 5/4 - ~150 days, 6/4 ~210 days, 8/4 - ~270 days. These are based on the red oak tables, but walnut and red oak should be similar drying time.

> The usual info about stacking with stickers, flat level surface, air flow through the stack, covered to keep rain off and strapped to help reduce twist and warp all apply.

Hope you made out OK in the storm. I lost 6 oaks, 2 poplars and some smaller trees over in Windsor. Now I need to find a place to stack out all the resulting lumber! A friend has a pecan down in his back yard so I have been offered 1/2 of it to help him clean it up.

Best,
C.
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
My suggestion is toe up the small end so the pith is level on both ends and have it sawn through and though (bark on both edges). 4/4 (1 1/8") for anything under 16" diameter on the small end 8/4 (2 1/8") or 9/4 (2 3/8") for anything above 16" diameter. If sawn and stacked right, 4/4 will dress out to 3/4", 8/4 to 1 3/4" and 9/4 to 2" - by sawing through and through you get the whole log and can cut out sections of the boards you need to build stuff. In other words, there is less waste and can be sawed in a matter of minutes, which will be cheaper for you to have it sawn. When you stick every 12" for air drying, you can assemble the log back together and ratchet it back down with ratchet straps to help it dry straight.

Something like this, but you could do a better stacking job :)
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
Jeff -

Would you suggest the same advice for the Pecan tree I have to deal with? I don't know the diameter yet, and the throat on my portable mill is 14", so I may have to do the 1/3 modified QS, ripping with the chain saw first if the log is too big.

Thanks!
C.
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Jeff -

Would you suggest the same advice for the Pecan tree I have to deal with? I don't know the diameter yet, and the throat on my portable mill is 14", so I may have to do the 1/3 modified QS, ripping with the chain saw first if the log is too big.

Thanks!
C.
Nah not with pecan / hickory - it's very common, easy to come by and cheap. I would just saw it into boards. Use your edgings for the BBQ, it makes a great pork shoulder :)

I would however advise to saw that hickory up as soon as it's cut off the stump. Sawing dried hickory logs will set a saw blade on fire and is rough on the mill.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
My experience is purely using wood, not cutting up trees (other than for firewood) but the lumber you want is in the trunk of the tree, not the limbs. Limb wood wants to warp due to tensions from when it was part of the tree. Limbs make good firewood. I would only try to get lumber from the trunk. Probably that is what others do.

Air dried walnut is far superior to kiln dried wood that has been steamed. Never let anybody steam walnut. It makes the sapwood a little darker but it makes the heartwood dull and listless. Air dried walnut is so much prettier. I love the purple highlights it sometimes has.

Crotches where the limbs come off of the trunk will have very pretty figure but will also be less stable. You might want to cut them a little thicker and try and think what you will make from them. They make great table tops and drawer fronts.

Also remember that sun bleaches the color out of walnut. I wouldn't worry about the rough lumber but when you finish a piece, I would use a finish with a UV blocker to slow this down. Cherry gets darker from sun, walnut gets lighter.

Jim
 

dupont6480

Tim
Senior User
Chris,
Sorry, had to leave the area again unexpected. . .
Thanks for the great response and all the information.
I am still spending every free weekend (when not traveling) trying to get the workshop finished.
I have decided to call my friend and just take the trunk (8 feet long, 16-18 inches diameter) I will treat the ends as recommended but not sure how long it will be before I can get it milled.
Hope you did not have too much damage on your property. We only had 2 trees down and the rest large limbs etc.
Take care,
Tim
 

dupont6480

Tim
Senior User
Jeff,
Great information. Thanks for the quick response. Sorry I did not get back to you sooner but had to leave the area.
Tim
 

dupont6480

Tim
Senior User
Jim,
Tree turned out to be smaller than envisioned. . . Decided I will only take the 8 foot trunk and see if I can get it milled. Thanks for the great information.
Tim
 
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