Walnut slab questions

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Forum topic by Rink posted 05-03-2018 04:23 PM 1059 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rink's profile


156 posts in 646 days

05-03-2018 04:23 PM

I acquired some walnut slabs a couple of weeks ago. I picked them up the same day they were milled. Because of space limitations, I had 2 11’ pieces cut to 7 and 4 feet. One is 3 ” thick and one is 2” thick. They are about 20” wide. Being a noobie to working with wood slabs, I didn’t realize when I bought them that they may have to sit around for 3 years before I could use them.

Right now I have them as shown in the picture. The ends are painted with latex.:

I live in New Jersey, where the winters go well below freezing and the summers can get humid.

I have them sitting toward the back of my garage. Not optimum (for the wood OR my garage), I know, but it’s the only appropriate indoor space I have for them. They are VERY heavy, and there is no way I’m going to get them into my attic.

-Can I leave them in my garage and expect decent results?

-Should I re-stack them in my backyard for the spring/summer/fall months and then move them back into the garage for the winter? Is it okay to put them near (not touching) the side of my house? Wouldn’t I need to worry about bugs outside?

I’m not invested enough to build a shed or a kiln, but I could build some small shelter…. Any advise appreciated.

Last question: The guy I bought the slabs from just emailed me last night that he just milled some more Walnut. 2” thick, 20”-26” wide, 9’ and 10’ long, $100 each. I don’t really NEED to buy more walnut slabs, but is this an amazing deal that I should jump on?

Also, this is my first post – I’ve been lurking for a bit, and finally sticking my toe in the Lumberjock waters!


10 replies so far

View Tabletop's profile


139 posts in 1356 days

#1 posted 05-03-2018 06:06 PM

Hello Rink great to have you with us. I’m no expert on drying lumber but there are several on here that appear to be. The only thing that would concern me about your stack of lumber is not where it is but how it is stacked. I’m thinking a sticker every foot between each layer and make sure your supports on bottom are flat

I recently bought three walnut slabs, kiln dried, 10’ers. I straight lined both sides on one and straight lined one side on the other two. Making a conference table that averaged 40” wide. I paid $1250 for the three of them. So if you can just leave them alone for a few years it is a great investment in my opinion.

Again, I’m not an expert in drying lumber but I have stayed at a holiday inn. Have fun be safe!

View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 682 days

#2 posted 05-03-2018 06:27 PM

Did you paint or wax the ends? That would be a good place to start if you haven’t already.

Like tabletop said, a sticker a foot would definitely make me feel better about your stack of wood.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1112 days

#3 posted 05-03-2018 08:11 PM

As to buying the others…each one is roughly 36 board feet … a market price for our area of roughly $8.25 per board foot that is almost $300.00 each. For $100 each I think would go get them if you have the space to let them dry and have any future use at all. Even if you don’t really have a personal need you can always sell them later. Walnut never goes out of style, it never gets cheaper and it is always hard to find in large slabs.
I don’t know about most places, but a big thick walnut slab is just not something you can wake up one day and say, “today I think I will go get me some walnut slabs” and actually jump in your car and do it.

View UncleBuck's profile


251 posts in 689 days

#4 posted 05-03-2018 08:51 PM

make sure they are stickered every 24 inches and i use ratchet straps to pull them tite, one on each end about a foot in and one in the middle. air dry is a year per inch.

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View UncleBuck's profile


251 posts in 689 days

#5 posted 05-03-2018 08:52 PM

been selling my walnut for 6.00 bf

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View AandCstyle's profile


3265 posts in 2865 days

#6 posted 05-03-2018 09:27 PM

David, they should be dried slowly initially. Ideally, they would be stickered as indicated in previous posts outdoors so the wind can blow through the stack. Also, as mentioned, get them on a flat surface about 8-10 inches above the ground. Cover your stack with anything that will keep rain and snow off the stack and place as much weight on top as you can. The year per inch is a “rule of thumb” that is often suggested, but a better option is to purchase a decent moisture meter that doesn’t need to be super expensive. Next year you can make a very inexpensive solar kiln with plastic and a fan.

I would definitely pick up all the additional slabs I could afford. My son purchased a nice 11’ crotch for $1100 here in NoVA so I am confident I could sell them to that lumber yard for more than $100 each.

-- Art

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


4535 posts in 1996 days

#7 posted 05-03-2018 10:30 PM

Personally, if I have the room, I prefer to let them dry inside. Too many variables outdoors even if covered

+1 on adding more stickers. One thing not mentioned by others is that the stickers between the slabs should be aligned from top to bottom. If you stagger them, you could wind up with wavy or bowed slabs. Probably less of an issue with 2-3” slabs than it is with 4/4 lumber but still a good idea.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Rink's profile


156 posts in 646 days

#8 posted 05-04-2018 02:29 PM

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

It turned out that one guy claimed all the wide boards. I saw them and they were beautiful, some with good crotch. But he had some logs laying around from higher up the same tree. I picked one and he cut it for me on the spot. I ended up with more than 100 board feet – 10’ x 2” x 12-15” for $100. Some nice crotch grain, too, although a couple of the boards have bark inclusion with long cracks, which will require a work-around. The odd thing is, he knows he’s selling low. In fact he suggested that I sell a couple of boards on Craigslist to pay for the whole lot.

Anyway, I now have too much wood to store in my garage, so outside it goes. My plan is to lay down and level some cinder blocks, put a tarp over them to keep ground moisture off, run 4×4’s down each side over the tarp, and then sticker and layer the slabs. I’ll make some sort of tarp roof to go over it. It will be 10’ long.

Trying to decide if I should make the structure 2’ wide and 4’ high (one slab per layer) or 4’ wide and 2’ high (2 slabs per layer). The first will be easier to layer and weigh down evenly, the second will be more stable. Leaning toward the first.

Any advise on how to avoid mistakes would be appreciated.


View AandCstyle's profile


3265 posts in 2865 days

#9 posted 05-04-2018 09:37 PM

David, if you get the base level, stability shouldn’t be an issue. Look at how lumber yards stack their stock and you will have your answer. Hint: tall and narrow is better both for weight and for air circulation.

-- Art

View Rink's profile


156 posts in 646 days

#10 posted 05-06-2018 02:56 AM

Spent the day building a shelter for my new wood. It’s 10’ wide, and about 2 1/2’ deep. Stacked, stickered and painted. I’m satisfied with the way it came out. Now I just have to wait a long time.

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