Has anyone had a yard tree sawn into lumber?

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Forum topic by tinnman65 posted 10-25-2009 01:00 AM 2891 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1394 posts in 3975 days

10-25-2009 01:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut

I recently came across a black walnut log around 30” X 8’ that was almost cut up for fire wood. A friend called me to ask if it was worth anything, but after talking to our local sawmill I was told that if it was a yard tree they won’t touch it for fear of nails. He pointed me to a nearby Amish sawmill down the road. I was planning to give him something for the log to defer the cost of having it cut down. My question is what will this thing cost me to have sawed up and what is a reasonable price to pay for the log? Sorry I don’t have any pics of the log. It was funny when I went over to look at the log he had two people offer to buy pieces of the tree that were cut up on the ground he wouldn’t take any money from them and one guy got a nice crotch piece, he has since had a few people ask for the log. Woodworkers are everywhere looking for that brown gold!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

12 replies so far

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4466 days

#1 posted 10-25-2009 01:34 AM

This is going to be a short response because I am tired tonight from milling yard trees all day…Keep looking for a mill that will saw it for you. Will it have nails in it ? Probably. Is that a deal breaker ? Heck no. I have milled a few thousand walnut yard trees in the last few years, some of the most beautiful wood a guy would ever hope to see. (and yea a couple nails). As far as your questions about price. I would try to get the log for free first. The market price for walnut logs has plummeted. I get them delivered here for $0.40 bft on average. A 30” x 8’ log should yield 330 bft, so that delivered would be $130. If I had to go to a bunch of trouble (labor) to fetch it maybe $50. As far as milling rates they vary, I have heard $0.25 bft-$0.50 bft. I charge $0.35 bft, so about $115. Plus a sawyer will charge for a ruined blade, not all nails ruin the blade though. A new blade costs $20.

Do what you want, but don’t get in a bidding war with the other guys eyeballing it. If they want to get crazy and offer big money…let them.

View a1Jim's profile


117785 posts in 4138 days

#2 posted 10-25-2009 01:45 AM

Sounds like a great find

View rustfever's profile


779 posts in 3871 days

#3 posted 10-25-2009 02:12 AM

GRAB IT. You will love the results. You will kick yourself forever if you don’t.

My sawyer will charge $65/hour for 2 men and the saw. No charge if he dulls a blade. $30 if he ruins a blade.

Get the log, seal the ends, cut into flitches, sticker, and weight down the top. In your country, a kiln is the prefered process. Allow 6-10 weeks. If air dry, one year , assuming 1” thick boards.


-- Rustfever, Central California

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779 posts in 3871 days

#4 posted 10-25-2009 02:13 AM

By the way. I would assume not much over an hour to saw this log into 1” boards, depending upon thew saw. My sawyer has a Wood Mizer, one of the larger sizes, without the ‘Bells-N-Whistles’

-- Rustfever, Central California

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49 posts in 3964 days

#5 posted 10-25-2009 12:15 PM

Tinman, it looks like you have the answers you are looking for so no need to go further with more of the same. Daren Nelson seams to be right on target. One thing that might help though is do a search on “Google” I typed in ” calculating board feet in a tree” and an endless supply of info was at my finger tips. Hope this helps . One more thing about yard trees, $ IN THE BANK

-- Dave, Ohio,

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1394 posts in 3975 days

#6 posted 10-26-2009 12:31 AM

Thanks for the help,If I get the log I’ll let you know how it went. As for getting in a bidding war I totally agree I’ve seen it happen with other things to many times, as he is a friend I don’t mind giving him something for it, but not more than it’s worth.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3993 days

#7 posted 10-26-2009 12:40 AM

Darren gave me very wise consel on a yard tree last year.

Go for it. With the nice work you do you need more wood like the Masters needed more blank canvas. You do some really nice work, I really like the walnut table with the leaves. 100 years from now that will still be beauty in someones home.

Thank you again Darren.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View Rogue's profile


260 posts in 4031 days

#8 posted 10-26-2009 01:00 AM

We charge $60 if the person wants the whole tree. Alot of time though the person doesn’t want the intire tree and then we cut the log and give the person every third board. Depending on how bid the log is that can be a nice little stack’o’lumber. A sawyer who wont cut a yard tree is probably not someone you want to have to deal with anyway. I mean all it takes is a metal detector and any milwright worth his salts will have one.

-- Rogue

View woodsmithshop's profile


1395 posts in 4106 days

#9 posted 10-26-2009 01:13 AM

Darren, I have heard that a tree grown in the open will have twisted grain, like a spiral, I know the bark looks this way, is this true?

-- Smitty!!!

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4466 days

#10 posted 10-26-2009 01:50 AM

Trees that grow “in the open” like a yard or pasture will most often branch lower, where as trees fighting for light at the top of the canopy will shoot straight up making for longer/better lower logs. The trees in the open grow faster vs in the dense forest where they grow slower. The ones fighting for space/light/food have tighter grow rings because of this slower grow. Twisted trees happen in the open or in the forest. A twisted tree makes less stable lumber usually. I am speaking hardwoods here, what I have the most experience with.

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4086 days

#11 posted 10-26-2009 01:51 AM

A tree grown in the open will have larger growth rings, but not twisted grain.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

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5043 posts in 4454 days

#12 posted 10-26-2009 02:05 AM

$$$$money pit$$$$$

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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