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Forum topic by KC9HKW posted 02-19-2018 03:25 PM 785 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 903 days

02-19-2018 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut question

In the picture below are some branches I cut off some American Black Walnut trees from my parents house where i grew up. I hated the thought of that beautiful wood going to waste. i would like to try and make a valet box out of them. I am looking for some suggestions on how to square them up so i can start making boards with them. Thanks!!

4 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2575 posts in 4249 days

#1 posted 02-19-2018 06:07 PM

This problem is a bit complicated. If the wood is not dry yet you either need to let it dry for a year or more in a cool dry place either as whole logs or cut into boards. Either way I would treat the ends with a wood sealing compound (usually paraffin based) or some people just apply a couple of coats of latex paint. This will help reduce the end splitting during the drying process. Getting the wood properly dried is the biggest problem.

To get it cut into boards it might be best to locate a shop or sawyer (someone with a portable band saw mill) who can do it for you.
These logs appear small enough to cut on a large shop bandsaw. If you do that yourself be sure to create a flat side to work from first (for safety)....I would use a chain saw to make this first flat side. the easiest way would be to cut it right down the center. Although a center cut board would be the widest they are the most prone to cracking and cupping during the drying process. You will get the nicest grain by quarter sawing it. You might shorten them first for easier handling.
If you are good with a chain saw you could slice overly thick boards and then plane them down after they are dry.

-- Les B, Oregon

View jdh122's profile


1167 posts in 3624 days

#2 posted 02-19-2018 06:26 PM

Depends on your tools. Bandsaw and jointer make the easiest work of it. My usual process is to screw it to a flat board and use that flat board (on its edge) to keep the small log from spinning while I run it through the bandsaw, following an approximate line freehand. Then joint that cut on the jointer, turn the log 90 degrees and cut it freehand again. Joint that side (making sure to maintain perpendicular against jointer fence). Then you can use the bandsaw fence and slice it up.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 2030 days

#3 posted 02-19-2018 06:43 PM

If you do have a bandsaw, look up some bandsaw milling jigs and see if any of those will work for what you have?

Definitely seal the ends as mentioned but do not wait for the logs to try. That will allow internal cracking that you will then see as you cut open the boards. Once you cut them, stack them with stickers and put some weight on top and allow them to dry. If it’s inside, having a fan on them will help circulate the air and whisk away moisture.

If it’s outside, make sure there’s a covering placed over them to keep the rain, sun and other weather elements off them.

If you don’t feel confident in being able to do it on your own, look on craigslist or google to see if there’s a local sawyer in your area. Mind you, if the logs are too short, many of them will not want to mess with it.

View Steve's profile


2109 posts in 1389 days

#4 posted 03-01-2018 02:22 PM

I did something recently and started off with a small round piece.

Depending on how big in diameter the branches are, you can build a sled to rip them into slices on the table saw. But a bandsaw would be your better and safer bet.

I’m far from an expert on this, but I have successfully sliced up two pieces so far.

Here’s another small log I sliced up on the table saw and currently have drying.

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