Maple Tree in the geezer stage of it's life...

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Blog entry by HalDougherty posted 07-16-2012 02:27 PM 9223 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I woke up this morning and when I let my shop buddy out for her morning search for ‘that perfect spot’ to take care of her doggie business and I found a huge limb broken out of the big maple tree near my front walk. The pictures are a little dark because the Sun was just rising when I took the pictures. I’ve been cleaning it up and while I’m resting I’ll write this blog entry before I finish cleaning it up.

This maple tree was planted when my 2 story farm house was built sometime around the turn of the century. It has been in decline for a while now and broken or rotten limbs are nothing new. I made a blog post a while back about the trees in my yard that would one day become lumber for gunstocks and furniture. I’ve removed the broken limb and smoothed the cut as best I can. After the stores open today, I’ll go to the nursery and get something to cover the wound. But, to get to solid wood, I may have to remove two more limbs that are attached to this portion of the maple tree. It’s about 32” in diameter and the log will be over 16’ long when it’s cut. The tree is gnarly and twisted, so the wood inside will be spectacular. You can see from the ripples just under the bark that some portion of the tree will be tiger maple. There’s also some ambrosia beetle damage, so the colors in the main trunk my also add to it’s natural beauty.

I’ll have to wait till the tree is milled before I see how much figure will be in the wood. The tree is spectacular and provides shade for my front yard. The trees around my house keep my home at least 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding field. I sure hate to lose it, but time and gravity are just not anyone’s friend…

The tree with the broken limb is right above the gas can on the maple log I found listed on Craig’s List yesterday. My 2 story farm house is right behind the trees. You can see how big this tree is in relation to my house. The wind storm we had a few days ago, dropped the small maple I have behind my SUV, on a fence and the farm owner wanted it removed. I was going to carve a thumbhole stock for a Ruger 10/22 today, but it looks like it will be a late afternoon project or I’ll have to put it off till tomorrow.

I’ve cut the limbs into chunks to make bowls and rolling pins from some of the wood, but I’ve got more bowl blanks here than I’ll ever be able to use. Anyone who is close to East Tennessee is welcome to have some of this beautiful wood. I’m sure there will be a lot more available before I am finished cleaning up my front yard.

I had a windstorm about 10 years ago take down 3 of the big maples and at that time I didn’t have any woodworking tools or any way to get the logs sawed into lumber. The only chunk I was able to save is a 3’ square block from one of the trees. I have used parts of it to make small items and the grain is fantastic. I’m hoping this tree will be just as beautiful. I may cut it into flooring to replace the damaged pine floors in the farmhouse instead of making gunstocks or rocking chairs from it. Too bad I won’t be able to show Dr. A.D. Miller, who built this house, and was the first to live in it, floors made from the wood of the maples he planted when he had the home built. I’ve cut poplar from trees on the property to make siding to replace the rotten siding on the house too. I’m sure he would be pleased to see how his trees are being used to bring his home to its original beauty.

-- Hal, Tennessee

9 comments so far

View Post_Oakie's profile


84 posts in 3163 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 03:30 PM

Thanks for sharing. Sad to lose the tree, but I hope the lumber meets your expectations. Look forward to seeing the photos. If I lived over your way, I’d be willing to cut it on shares. Of course, if you want to haul the log to southwest Missouri, bring it on!

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4246 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 04:06 PM


This maple is sitting about 20 yards from my Timberking 1220 sawmill… It’s a manual mill so getting the butt log to the mill will still be a lot of work. The darn log will be too heavy to roll with a cant hook.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3216 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 04:24 PM

Wow, that is going to be some beautiful wood! It is a shame to see beautiful trees go but it is alway good to see them put to good use instead of just carted off to the dump or shredded in the the chipper by the tree guys!

That is really cool you have such history around you as well, thank you for sharing!

Have fun cutting her open, as grizzly as that sounds, but there is nothing like pealing away the layers of a tree to see what she has locked inside!

Your Friend,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Roger's profile


21051 posts in 3813 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 08:29 PM

Also sorry to see that awesome Maple fall. Nate said it best. Good luck.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View HerbC's profile


1819 posts in 3869 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 08:48 PM


Sorry to see the storm damage to your maple tree.

I would advise you to check with a qualified arborist regarding the need and suitability of any type of “dressing” to cover the wound. I’ve read that such treatments generally are unnecessary and may in fact cause further damage.

And if you can’t move that log with your cant hook, get a Logrite MegaHook

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Post_Oakie's profile


84 posts in 3163 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 09:06 PM

... or a Lewis winch. I’ve parbuckled many a log onto my mill with one. If you’re not familiar with parbuckling, the winch line goes over the top of the log and around, attaching back to the frame of the mill (or trailer, or whatever). When you pull the line, it rolls the log right up. Easy as pie.
Sweetgum parbuckle, Parbuckling a sweet gum log onto the trailer

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

View BuyoMasilla's profile


104 posts in 3557 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 09:43 PM

I’m glad to see that it fell away from the house.

-- Dreaming of the day I might joint two pieces of wood square..........

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4246 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 10:17 PM

Herbc, I’m not going to try to save it. I’m going to take it down soon and plant another one in it’s place. My Summer and Fall project is to cut poplar boards, make siding from them and replace the siding on my house. I hope to be done by September… When I have some free time, I’m going to take down this maple and a couple of others that are in bad shape too. Right now I can salvage at least 80% of the tree and use the lumber. If I put off taking the trees down for a year or two, the rot may/will spread and I’ll lose more usable lumber. Over the years, I’ve already lost 3 and wasn’t able to salvage the lumber. This time the tree won’t go to the burn pile. I’m sure Doc Miller would like to see the trees he planted when he built the house used to fix it back to the shape it was in when it was new. Some of this maple would look great as flooring or new kitchen cabinets or a rocking chair for the formal living room.


That’s the only way I’ve found to move really big logs. I don’t have a lewis winch, but I have a 3000lb electric winch and two big manual winches. One of them is mounted on my log arch and I use it to parbuckle logs onto the sawmill’s log deck. The biggest log I’ve loaded, and turned on my mill was 38” in diameter and 16’ long. It was red oak and I couldn’t budge it with a cant hook on level ground to get a chain under it.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View pbyrne's profile


81 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 07-20-2012 05:56 AM


I’m glad to see you are able to get some good lumber out of those maples.

I am busy flying fire for the next few months so, I’m watching a lot of good trees burn.
l’ll be back to working my mill in the fall. I always look forward to working in the woods and milling during the fall season. Here is a picture of a blaze we worked recently in Utah. We have since moved on to Mcall Idaho and may be in California next week.

Take care,


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