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Thread: logs to lumber, advice needed

  1. #1
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    Default logs to lumber, advice needed

    About a year ago my mom had a tornado come thru her property (near Hickory, NC) and knock down a bunch of huge trees. In the spring and summer I was able to cut up some of these trees and make a pile of about a dozen straight 12foot long logs. They've been stacked up off the ground but are outside in the elements. I hoped to have them cut up by a local portable sawmill in June but his machine has had issues and apparently, as of early October, still does. The pile is a mix of oak, maple, and pine, and at least a foot in diameter each.

    My initial intention was to save the lumber from going to waste, and decide what to build with it later. (Any excuse to make sawdust, y' know?)

    I live in Florida and I don't know much about making lumber but I'm guessin someone here does. Do you think it's still worth the effort or has it all turned into firewood, or frass, by now?

    Thanks for the help.

    dennis

  2. #2
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Tap the logs with a mallet. If they ring they are OK, if they sound dull and mushy, not so much.
    The Hudson bay Company boat builders would hold a pocket watch against one end of the log and have a mate listen for it at the other end to judge soundness of potential ]keel timber. You could do the same by having a helper tap with a light hammer and listening to the transmitted sound.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Google the "WoodMizer" and other portable sawmill sites. Most have links to local sawyers who use their machines. Get somebody to slab the logs out for you. The oak may be Live Oak, in which case it could be pretty valuable. The same may be true of the maple. The pine is probably worth sawing, but likely won't sell for as much. A lot of those guys will dicker on the price of their services and some might barter for a portion of the lumber, or so I've heard. I sure wouldn't just let it lay there. Much better to get it stickered and drying properly.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    I suspect the maple will be spalded. It doesn't take very long for wet logs to be attacked by fungus and other micro organisms.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I suspect the maple will be spalded. It doesn't take very long for wet logs to be attacked by fungus and other micro organisms.
    Spalted wood can be sought after by high end furniture makers.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    1' logs don't give you much to work with if you are cutting lumber.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Nip the ends off and knock off a bit of bark and have a look.
    There will likely be stain and worm holes in the maple and pine(depending on species) but the oak should be ok
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Google the "WoodMizer" and other portable sawmill sites. Most have links to local sawyers who use their machines. Get somebody to slab the logs out for you. The oak may be Live Oak, in which case it could be pretty valuable. The same may be true of the maple. The pine is probably worth sawing, but likely won't sell for as much. A lot of those guys will dicker on the price of their services and some might barter for a portion of the lumber, or so I've heard. I sure wouldn't just let it lay there. Much better to get it stickered and drying properly.
    Even better, contact the local saw filing shop and ask who's running a portable mill in your area. There are many brands, and quite a few home made mills around but they all get their blades sharpened.
    The guys who run them will be able to assess your logs, and tell you whether they're worth cutting or not.


    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    I've done that with Red Cedar and Douglas Fir.
    Get a Band saw guy to do it cut Through and through.

    More expensive for quarter sawn at 1 foot dia.
    PaulF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  11. #11
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    My guess is that after one year they will all be OK still unless they were standing dead and already starting to rot. There may be bugs under the bark, but they probably haven't gotten thru the sapwood yet, not too many anyway. The ends may be pretty well checked if you didn't seal them with a couple or three coats of paint, but that may not go too far into the log yet.

    Sore 'm up as soon as you can. Through and through is OK, but one square edge will save you a lot of time later. Stack the lumber with stickers on leveled bunks in a cool dry place out of the sun and under cover. A carport with three walls would be ideal. You don't want to dry them too quickly. The stickers do more than allow ventilation and even drying, they also stop the carpenter ants from tunneling between the layers. They can do a lot of damage in a hurry.

    Paint the ends of the logs before sawing, it's much easier than painting the individual boards ends. Do it now.

    Under the best of conditions air dried takes about a year per inch of thickness.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    My guess is that after one year they will all be OK still unless they were standing dead and already starting to rot. There may be bugs under the bark, but they probably haven't gotten thru the sapwood yet, not too many anyway. The ends may be pretty well checked if you didn't seal them with a couple or three coats of paint, but that may not go too far into the log yet.

    Sore 'm up as soon as you can. Through and through is OK, but one square edge will save you a lot of time later. Stack the lumber with stickers on leveled bunks in a cool dry place out of the sun and under cover. A carport with three walls would be ideal. You don't want to dry them too quickly. The stickers do more than allow ventilation and even drying, they also stop the carpenter ants from tunneling between the layers. They can do a lot of damage in a hurry.

    Paint the ends of the logs before sawing, it's much easier than painting the individual boards ends. Do it now.

    Under the best of conditions air dried takes about a year per inch of thickness.
    Good advice!

    Stickering carefully and accurately is very important. Poor stickering forces kinks into boards and makes them much less valuable. If you have a thickness planer I recommend running your sticks through it as real accuracy is a VERY good thing here. I've seen a lot of lumber ruined by people doing a rough job of stacking and stickering.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  13. #13
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    X2 on the "saw soon and stack" premise. Get on Craigslist or ask around for a portable sawyer. I had a 10' tall cedar (WRC) blow down a couple of years ago and now have a couple of units air drying in my sheds. Ready to work at this point. I think it cost me around $800 and I have a couple of 2" slabs I've been offered $200 apiece for...but those will become tables

    IMG_3940.jpg

  14. #14
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Good advice so far. I want to emphasize how important it is go get those ends sealed ASAP. The best is the day they are cut. Now it's just 'soonest'. Paint works ok, sorta. A wax emulsion is better. They sell goops specifically for the task as well.

    http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=7384.0
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Thanks to all for your advice...heading up there in a week. My sawmill guy (retired pastor) has his 'Mizer working again and I hope he can get the job done next week. My smallest log is around 12inches but most are closer to 20 inches. I'll slop some oops paint on the ends as soon as I get there. One tree I couldn't access is at least 36inches in diameter, but I'd have to destroy so much just to get to it, presuming I had the heavy equipment necessary, which I don't. Several years ago the pastor cut up a bunch of holly for me (up to 15inches wide!), so I have a bunch of 4/4 slabs here in Florida, waiting for a plan. Had to have it fumigated for powderpost terrorists before I let it anywhere near my property. Thanks again to everyone!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Almost forgot...would coating the ends with epoxy work? dries clear. last long time.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Epoxy is an expensive option, AND breaks down with UV exposure. I wouldn't.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Get someone's left over paint at the recycle or the dump.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Epoxy is an expensive option, AND breaks down with UV exposure. I wouldn't.
    I usually photo-document everything, but not this. I do have many examples of this about the house, as I use my leftovers anyway. Would not do this where life depends on it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Never mind the old paint and such, not the right tool for the job. If you are going to Hickory anyway, just go by Klingspor's woodworking supply and get a gallon of Sealtite. This is the wax based stuff purpose -made to seal end grain. The rest of you can order online from them. Their main business is sanding products for the furniture industry, but they also have a retail wood working division, with tools, finishes, etc. 4 stores across this state, but the home store and corporate HQ is in Hickory.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by surfdory View Post
    Almost forgot...would coating the ends with epoxy work? dries clear. last long time.
    Cheap water based house paint works well. So much the better if it is from and old can of left over paint that has thickened up.
    Jay

  22. #22
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    Default Re: logs to lumber, advice needed

    Anchor Seal is another brand of the wax emulsion.

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