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Paul, chestnut was widely used for making furniture and many other things before the species was nearly wiped out by blight in the early 1900's. It's pretty rare now, so I would definitely take advantage of the opportunity.
 

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Chestnut is becoming like gold due to it's rarity. If this was a living tree then it wouldn't have worm holes, which is even rarer (I note you are in WA state and assume this is an American chestnut). Be sure to seal the ends of the logs immediately to prevent splitting, and then definitely have it milled and properly stored for drying. Chestnut is a beautiful wood, relatively light but strong, decay resistant, and easily worked.
 

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I 2nd Cranks question. I hope an Arborist gave a professional opinion before this Gem was cut down as where I live hefty fines exist.

Its some of the most expensive indigenous hardwood trees if it is the American Chestnut, and they are nearly extinct from a pathogen, The majestic beasts girth can bridle some west coast trees. There are now disease free saplings available for re-forestation but you would be lucky to see one at the local nursery.

I can see from your projects page and skill set that you have the ability to serve the old tree well and making some heirloom furniture, cabinetry, bowls and the sort. Having a friend and colleague who once did a kitchen in wormy chestnut, it was like love at first sight.

Your a very lucky man
 

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I would doubt it's one of the original American Chessnuts. they were pretty much wiped out. However, chesnut is one of the finest woods there are. My cousin's old homeplace was built entirely from it in the 1800's. Have not been in that house in 30 years, but it was a magnificent site to behold.

I remember a story a years back of a guy hunting in the Jefferson Nat Forrest and said to have spotted one of the monsters. A professor from VA Tech went and looked and it was a rare specimen of the original, still living. I remember them taking cuttings from it, to try to cross with the foreign version to produce a resistant tree to reproduce. Never heard more.
 

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There are definitely surviving specimens of the American chestnut on the west coast, where they are isolated from the blight pathogen in the east. I personally saw one in northern California last summer, and there was a recent LJ post about another one that was cut in WA state. The chestnut was not wiped out (i.e. extinct) in the east. If you walk through the woods in their natural range, you can see lots if young coppice sprouts from old root systems. The problem is they are attacked by the blight before they reach mature size. The American Chestnut Foundation has been working for many years to cross the American and Chinese chestnuts to develop a hybrid that has most of the characteristics of the American while retaining the blight resistance of the Chinese. They are now in the production and outplanting stage of the process.
 

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I would suppose he cut it down because he either wanted to, or felt he needed to. It s his tree, his perogative.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop
I would not be so sure about that.
I have known many people who for one reason or another were fined, and even jailed in one case, for doing things like cleaning out an old gulley or hauling in fill dirt to be able to use swampy land on their "own" property.
These days it's ALL the governments (through EPA) land. We just get to carefully use it in certain ways and pay taxes on it.
 

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But you were sure enough to assert it was a 'live tree.' Judge the cutter, judge the regulation as you wish, but the OP was about the worthiness of chestnut.
 

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I agree with most of what's been posted. It would be really surprising if it was a mature American Chestnut. Young ones do grow but the blight that took them nearly to extinction lives harmlessly in Oak trees and can infect Chestnut trees that are miles away. Few trees grow past a couple inches in diameter. Some adult Chestnuts exist but most that are identified are cataloged and protected. For all of these reasons I say you should definitely have the tree professionally milled. It would be a shame to loose half of it in a chain saw mill or something else with a huge kerf so take it somewhere professional. The wood that you get out of it will be great to work with regardless of what kind of Chestnut you have. If its an American Chestnut you'll have some really really valuable wood on your hands.

The only chestnut that folks can generally get their hands on now is reclaimed Chestnut from barns, etc… which is often flawed or pockmarked with holes so if you have any that is free of flaws then you may really have struck gold.

I'd love to see some pics if you get post some.
 

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Don't forget about Horsechestnut. Not a true chestnut (actually more related to maples), but it's common, grows large, and is often just called chestnut by laypeople. Easily distinguished from true chestnuts by the opposite buds.

My 2 cents…
 
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