hoarded walnut inheritance, how to sell?

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Forum topic by JAM1230 posted 02-19-2018 03:25 PM 1584 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 907 days

02-19-2018 03:25 PM

My dear father left us a lot of walnut boards/slabs. We inventoried it and have approximately 850 boards, most are 1-2 inches thick and 6 feet long (there’s some 9”x 18”x9’). He collected it for probably 30 years, mainly finding trees in the middle of a farmer’s field and offering to cull it for the farmer. Then he had it sawed (please forgive my lack of vocabulary) and air-dried it under a raised barn. How do I go about selling it? I’d like to sell the whole lot of it if possible. How much? We are located in southeastern NC.

22 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


18098 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 02-19-2018 03:42 PM

Whoa. Thats a boatload of walnut. Id start by reaching out to local hardwood dealers. Youve likely got a lot more than any average joe would / could afford. Being stacked in flitches (sequential cutting from the same tree) makes it even more appealing IMO.

What i would do is to calculate an approximate board footage. (legth x width x thickness (in inches) / 144). Rough sawn, depending on location, id imagine $2-3 a board foot with the thicker / nicer stuff going for a little more money.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View PA_Walnut's profile


1 post in 906 days

#2 posted 02-19-2018 03:55 PM

I would like some more details, please. PM me with your contact info and I’ll call you. Thanks!

View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 2034 days

#3 posted 02-19-2018 04:05 PM

Definitely interested but getting it over to me is the conundrum.

If you do have any questions or want some suggestions, send me an email. [email protected]

View JAM1230's profile


6 posts in 907 days

#4 posted 02-19-2018 10:11 PM

Thanks for your input. I should add that the first pic is the opposite side of the 2nd pic. I’m adding more pics of the other sets. We actually have two “barns” located on family property, but it is isolated and I worry about someone going in and hauling it all off. (one of the barns is more junky, we didn’t even count the wood there).

Do people ever auction off a collection such as this?

View Rayne's profile


1314 posts in 2350 days

#5 posted 02-19-2018 11:13 PM

Man, I wished I lived a little closer. Would love to have some of that walnut; not the whole lot though…just a hobbyist. lol. Hopefully you’ll be able to tell us who you end up selling to and hope I can get some at that time.

View Andybb's profile


2793 posts in 1413 days

#6 posted 02-19-2018 11:42 PM

Whoa. Thats a boatload of walnut.
- chrisstef

No. Sorry. I think it officially qualifies as a s**tload of walnut! I think we all wished we lived closer to you.

Welcome to lj’s and sorry to hear about your dad.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3377 posts in 2304 days

#7 posted 02-20-2018 12:12 AM

I am always trying to find reasonably priced walnut. It has become very hard in last couple of years. Wished I could get some of this to AZ. sigh…

Selling a pile of large air dried walnut slabs carefully created by a passionate wood worker will require same passion (and lots of time) to get best price. Individual slabs like those can sell for $20-30+ per bd foot, depending on amount of figure. Even a plain old flat sawn 5/4 live edge slab sells at retail for $15 bd/ft, despite retail prices of Walnut lumber @ $8-$10.

Currently 4/4 & 5/4 wholesale kiln dried FAS walnut lumber sells for $5-7 per bd/ft, with the Chinese markets scooping up majority of US output if you believe the lumber wholesalers in western US. Large units of 8/4 sell for $7-8 at wholesale. Common grades sell for little less. Air dried usually sells for more than steamed/kiln dried.

You will likely get largest inheritance amount if you can find a lumber retailer that specialized in Fitch log sets.
Also Lumber is expensive to move. So another trick to maximizing income will be to find a local retail outlet, or lumber wholesaler to buy this lot (.vs. a lumber broker). NC is filled with large number of lumber suppliers that could either buy it, or suggest other outlets for a lot sized sale. I have bought air dried Walnut from Beard Hardwoods and McIlvain in past. McIlvain is not too far from you, and even carries walnut log fitch sets.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 2034 days

#8 posted 02-20-2018 12:16 AM

You could try to auction it but beware all the charges. Many will charge up front for them to do their inventory and listings and then you’ll pay a pretty good chunk to them as a percentage of the sale.

If you’re not close to people interested, then that could really limit the amount of bids you would get and you would get a pretty pathetic amount to you in the end.

I assume you don’t have a lot of time to sell to people individually but weekends? I would really go the craigslist route and figure a board foot price that you would be happy with and start selling. Selling as a lot is convenient but you really have the opportunity to make a lot of money with what you have.

View JCamp's profile


1211 posts in 1361 days

#9 posted 02-20-2018 12:27 AM

I hav a little different approach. Do u know any loggers or saw mill owners that u trust? They might buy it in bulk and resell or put u in touch with some of their contacts. If nothing else they might give u a ball park figure on what it’s worth. U never know. It might b worth more selling it in different chunks. If u want a few hundred/thousand quickly u might post some of it on Facebook or craigslist

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2296 days

#10 posted 02-20-2018 12:43 AM

You’ll never sell that quantity for anywhere near retail unless it’s parted out.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JAM1230's profile


6 posts in 907 days

#11 posted 02-20-2018 02:10 AM

Yep, I think it IS more than a boatload (and you haven’t even seen all of it!). The pictures I’m adding are in the “junky” barn (or shed) and I think it has some interesting pieces although I don’t know if they are what people are interested in.

Two big questions: 1) what about insect damage and how does it affect the price? and 2) the property is relatively isolated although there is a wood fence around it with a locked gate…my fear in showing it on weekends and to multiple people is that someone will come back and help themselves.

My dad was an artist at heart and I’m attaching a pic of a madonna sculpture he did that is out of walnut I believe.

last pic from the inventoried stock:

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

299 posts in 1585 days

#12 posted 02-20-2018 02:15 AM

Nice,all I can add is be patient about selling it.
You have a goldmine and its worth getting some advice.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4458 days

#13 posted 02-20-2018 02:23 AM

>assuming you don’t need to sell your dad’s
land you could move some to your home and sell
it from there. Selling the whole lot will take
years this way but it might be fun depending
on your definition of fun.

>auction it and don’t be surprised at how little
you get. I’ve seen auctions of lumber lots from
large shops liquidating sold for a pittance.

>take your time finding a buyer for the whole
lot, perhaps hiring a broker to help.

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1305 days

#14 posted 02-20-2018 03:32 AM

Check on local rigs as well, here in PA air dryed walnut can’t be sold due to a walnut blight. You might be fine but better to be safe than sorry.

You might contact Rick Hearne at Hearne Hardwoods. He is always interested in flitches especially if you have some figured wood in there.

Good luck!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View JP4LSU's profile


109 posts in 957 days

#15 posted 03-01-2018 01:55 PM

I’m sorry for your loss. Your father has taken great care in organization and keeping logs together. That is so desirable for furniture builders, etc. As mentioned above if you go about selling this with the same care and passion that your father has taken to collect this treasure, you will get a lot more for the lots.

I would not auction unless you have to sell property and need it gone quickly.
If need to do this quickly, you might contact some hardwood sellers, but have somebody that is knowlegable of the prices to go to bat for you in dealing with them. You won’t get retail but it will be faster.

Other wise you can sell chunks at a time for slightly under retail and make a lot of money. Your father made this investment and sweated to collect this wood for the exact reason as this. It’s an inheritance and take the same care and love with it that he has shown to your family. Out of respect to him, if it was me, I would maximize the value of the inheritance and go the route that will garner the most money.

I sure wish I was closer. I’m marvelling at these pictures and would love to be able to participate in buying some.
Best wishes and good luck,

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