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Forum topic by BrindleDog posted 09-21-2021 10:35 PM 815 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BrindleDog

127 posts in 320 days


09-21-2021 10:35 PM

I noticed that there was a free wood listing on Craigslist while I was at work today. I grabbed what was left on my way home. The person giving it away said it is Walnut . I’m a newb but assume the marks in the wood are stains from fungus or decay. I’ve seen people selling maple with this quality. Although I can see that the wood was on it’s way to rotting, most of it is very dense and hard, even the stained sections. I chiseled some of the darker staining and noticed that it was superficial with thin lines in the end grain. You might be able to see in the photos.

Here are some questions I have:

-Should this wood still be usable? If no, ignore the questions below.

-Should I dry it in log form or split it/saw it into quarters or some other dimension?

-Paint or wax the ends?

Where should it be stored?

-Is there anything I can do green with the limb wood. Is it suitable for spoons or carving?

-How would you mill it?

Eventually I will have a bandsaw with a 9” resaw capacity but I’m still in the process of restoring it. I’m hoarding cheap materials while I build my shop. Thanks for any advice!


22 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

19367 posts in 2381 days


#1 posted 09-22-2021 12:09 AM

Based on what I can see of the bark, it doesn’t look like Walnut to me. Looks like maybe Cherry?

In any case, if it’s solid, it’s useable. When I get pieces like that, I will either split them in half and remove the pith then seal both ends and the split/sawn face or I’ll just seal the ends and leave it in that condition somewhere off the ground and out of direct elements to dry until I’m ready to use it. I use Anchorseal personally.

As far a carving it green, that’s the best way to carve it. Give it a go!

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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BrindleDog

127 posts in 320 days


#2 posted 09-22-2021 02:29 AM

I don’t know what I’m looking for in identifying by the wood. There were a bunch of walnuts laying around and they are everywhere here in Cincinnati. I don’t even know what a cherry tree looks like. Is it a form of wild cherry or what? I see so many people talk about cherry but I’ve never once come across one in Cincinnati.

I’m guessing that splitting it will reduce the drying time.

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pottz

20663 posts in 2227 days


#3 posted 09-22-2021 02:45 AM

hey worst case you got some firewood !

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Kerux2's profile

Kerux2

490 posts in 2975 days


#4 posted 09-22-2021 03:10 AM

Walnut is pretty much resistant to any kind of decay or virus/bacterium. But it is susceptible to insect attacks. If it has sat for a long time it’ll have very little checking on the end. Although the sapwood will check. I don’t think this is walnut… but you’ll never know until you cut into it. Below is a couple pictures of what a walnut tree ought to look like after lying on the ground for three years. I’ve been cutting it up for bowl blanks on my Saturdays.



-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

7959 posts in 2630 days


#5 posted 09-22-2021 03:14 AM

With no dark heartwood, I doubt it is walnut. It does look like it may have some spalting so you will probably get some interesting wood from it. Black cherry is a native cherry that pretty much grows in the same range that black walnut does so you may have them in your area too. They actually do bear edible cherries but they are usually too bitter.

My approach to spitting the wood is like Kenny’s recommendation. Cut 1-2” slice from the center including the pith. Then take that slice and cut the middle ~2” out of it to remove the pith from that. This leaves you with 2 prime quarter sawn pieces from either side of the pith that are very stable and great for turning tool handles or even milling into 1/2 to 3/4” stock for making boxes. Even split, the 2 halves of the log will take a long time to dry. You will get faster drying once you mill it to your desired thickness. If you cannot process the chunks soon, seal the ends. I’ve had the best luck with Anchorseal. The Rockler green wood end seal is exactly the same thing and about half the price as Anchorseal. It is best to store it out of the weather and especially out of the sun. Don’t be surprised if you see beetles emerge in a few weeks. If they were sitting outside or dead on the stump for a while, the beetles are very likely already there.

BTW, that one chunk looks like it has some vines growing on it. I cannot see it well enough to tell but be careful just in case it is poison ivy. Even old vines can cause a reaction.

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

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Kerux2

490 posts in 2975 days


#6 posted 09-22-2021 03:26 AM



- Lazyman

I’m wondering if it is Butternut? Butternut is prevalent in Western and South Western Ohio. Cherry will check up really fast if laying around at any length of time… especially in the summer.

-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Kerux2's profile

Kerux2

490 posts in 2975 days


#7 posted 09-22-2021 03:32 AM

As to milling it… what are your project plans? Depending on what the species really is… you may want to make sure you cut the pith(s) out.

I can share with you how to cut it up for bowls.

-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

7959 posts in 2630 days


#8 posted 09-22-2021 03:35 AM

Ah. I never think of butternut because it is rare down here in the south and never in Texas unless planted. It is related to black walnut, the wood is lighter in color and is sometimes called white walnut. The nuts are similar but are oblong compared to the nearly round black walnuts. Butternut is an excellent carving wood. Probably second only to basswood.

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

View BrindleDog's profile

BrindleDog

127 posts in 320 days


#9 posted 09-22-2021 03:59 AM

I have no idea about the wood species. I had a similar post about white oak in which the species was debated. Is there a more scientific method for identifying by grain and bark? It’s discolored, hard as a rock, and is only checked on the outermost sapwood.
I don’t have any specific plans and am open to suggestions. I just want to maximize the material and make nice things out of it. I don’t have a lathe at the moment but am looking at one on Craigslist.

Is milling with a chainsaw the fastest method? Too wasteful? I have an 18in 220v bandsaw that can resaw 9 in. I’m in the process of replacing bearings and generally restoring it. I could buy a frame saw blade to break it down to bandsaw sized pieces.

I might just seal it with the rockler product and let it dry slowly. Is there any problem with this approach?

View Kerux2's profile

Kerux2

490 posts in 2975 days


#10 posted 09-22-2021 05:08 AM

If those larger pieces are smaller than your 9” height… you could just wait till you get it done. So, yes, you’ll want to wax the ends. If you don’t have wax. Titebond II glue will work just as well for the time being and it is cheaper than Anchor seal.

-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

7959 posts in 2630 days


#11 posted 09-22-2021 11:17 AM

One way to ID a wood is to look at the end grain at magnification (10-30x is good). Take a sharp knife or chisel and cut the end grain smooth and compare to pictures on wood-database.com. It is a good source of information about different types of wood and they always have a close up of the end grain. Of course you need some idea what to compare to but you can start with ideas above. If you know what the leaves or fruit, nuts, seeds or flowers of the tree look like that makes it even easier.

EDIT: For large diameters or lengths too cumbersome on my bandsaw , I usually use my chainsaw to slice them. Since the primary goal to remove the center juvenile wood around the pith to minimizes cracking, you can waste that side of the cut to conserve the rest of the wood. The 2 quarter sawn pieces I mentioned above are just a bonus if you can get them.

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

View BrindleDog's profile

BrindleDog

127 posts in 320 days


#12 posted 09-22-2021 01:44 PM

So remove the center of each log no matter how I cut it up? When logs are flat sawn do they remove the pith?

If I were to go ahead and mill it or split it, should I coat all sides with anchorseal or whatever I chose?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

7959 posts in 2630 days


#13 posted 09-22-2021 02:01 PM

The reason that some flat sawn boards warp is because they usually do not bother to remove the pith. The juvenile wood around the pith, which is up to about the first 10 rings, depending upon species and how quickly the tree grew, is the biggest cause of warping so I try to remove as much of it as I can without sacrificing too much wood. If you can take a single ~2” slice from the center (and then remove the center 2” from that) , that is typically good enough in my experience.

You only need to coat the end grain. The moisture escapes much more quickly from the end grain than side grain and sealing it helps it to dry more evenly. That is why cracks typically start forming from the end first. If I mill a log into boards before it starts to crack, I usually don’t bother coating the ends. Just removing the juvenile wood and properly stacking it with stickers and weight on top is usually good enough.

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

View Kerux2's profile

Kerux2

490 posts in 2975 days


#14 posted 09-22-2021 04:49 PM

I would concur with, Lazyman. The pith is the main enemy. This is how I do it when I am making bowl blanks. What you can’t see is two 45 degree blocks on both sides of the log holding it still.


-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8858 posts in 1817 days


#15 posted 09-22-2021 05:23 PM

My guess is it’s Maple, but it doesn’t really matter, it was free, and if nets you some useable wood, it’s a win. If it’s spalted enough to matter, and still not punky thats a major win.

-- Think safe, be safe

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