Chestnut Wood... Is it suitable for milling?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Albert posted 01-04-2015 02:38 PM 2116 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Albert's profile


544 posts in 4600 days

01-04-2015 02:38 PM

My neighbor cut down a monster chestnut tree and I have an opportunity to get some free logs from it. Is Chestnut worthwhile taking to the mill to cut into boards for use as craft type projects?

18 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2872 posts in 3932 days

#1 posted 01-04-2015 02:42 PM

Yes. Usually it is wormy but wormy Chestnut is not cheap

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5229 days

#2 posted 01-04-2015 02:45 PM

Paul, chestnut was widely used for making furniture and many other things before the species was nearly wiped out by blight in the early 1900’s. It’s pretty rare now, so I would definitely take advantage of the opportunity.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View summerfi's profile


4383 posts in 2698 days

#3 posted 01-04-2015 03:09 PM

Chestnut is becoming like gold due to it’s rarity. If this was a living tree then it wouldn’t have worm holes, which is even rarer (I note you are in WA state and assume this is an American chestnut). Be sure to seal the ends of the logs immediately to prevent splitting, and then definitely have it milled and properly stored for drying. Chestnut is a beautiful wood, relatively light but strong, decay resistant, and easily worked.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View bondogaposis's profile


5953 posts in 3362 days

#4 posted 01-04-2015 04:31 PM

Absolutely, chestnut is hard to come by these days.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3486 days

#5 posted 01-05-2015 01:30 AM

Is it Chinese chestnut? If so, the leaves will be hairy on the underside.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View yooper's profile


228 posts in 3838 days

#6 posted 01-05-2015 01:36 AM

I just finished up a small table with reclaimed chestnut – some wormy and some pre-wormy. It’s great lumber to work with.

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3981 days

#7 posted 01-05-2015 05:27 AM

Why, may I ask, did someone cut down a living Chestnut tree in about the only state where they still exist?

View Albert's profile


544 posts in 4600 days

#8 posted 01-05-2015 02:23 PM

it was living but only barely, branches breaking off endangering people and cars and some rotten spots.

View Albert's profile


544 posts in 4600 days

#9 posted 01-05-2015 02:23 PM

no leaves this time of year.

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4904 days

#10 posted 01-05-2015 02:41 PM

I 2nd Cranks question. I hope an Arborist gave a professional opinion before this Gem was cut down as where I live hefty fines exist.

Its some of the most expensive indigenous hardwood trees if it is the American Chestnut, and they are nearly extinct from a pathogen, The majestic beasts girth can bridle some west coast trees. There are now disease free saplings available for re-forestation but you would be lucky to see one at the local nursery.

I can see from your projects page and skill set that you have the ability to serve the old tree well and making some heirloom furniture, cabinetry, bowls and the sort. Having a friend and colleague who once did a kitchen in wormy chestnut, it was like love at first sight.

Your a very lucky man

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

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 4077 days

#11 posted 01-05-2015 02:53 PM

I would doubt it’s one of the original American Chessnuts. they were pretty much wiped out. However, chesnut is one of the finest woods there are. My cousin’s old homeplace was built entirely from it in the 1800’s. Have not been in that house in 30 years, but it was a magnificent site to behold.

I remember a story a years back of a guy hunting in the Jefferson Nat Forrest and said to have spotted one of the monsters. A professor from VA Tech went and looked and it was a rare specimen of the original, still living. I remember them taking cuttings from it, to try to cross with the foreign version to produce a resistant tree to reproduce. Never heard more.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3525 days

#12 posted 01-05-2015 02:53 PM

I have one wide plank left in my arsenal. I’d take everything I could get, if I were you.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View summerfi's profile


4383 posts in 2698 days

#13 posted 01-05-2015 03:28 PM

There are definitely surviving specimens of the American chestnut on the west coast, where they are isolated from the blight pathogen in the east. I personally saw one in northern California last summer, and there was a recent LJ post about another one that was cut in WA state. The chestnut was not wiped out (i.e. extinct) in the east. If you walk through the woods in their natural range, you can see lots if young coppice sprouts from old root systems. The problem is they are attacked by the blight before they reach mature size. The American Chestnut Foundation has been working for many years to cross the American and Chinese chestnuts to develop a hybrid that has most of the characteristics of the American while retaining the blight resistance of the Chinese. They are now in the production and outplanting stage of the process.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


17230 posts in 3629 days

#14 posted 01-05-2015 08:19 PM

I would suppose he cut it down because he either wanted to, or felt he needed to. It’s his tree, his perogative.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3981 days

#15 posted 01-07-2015 05:05 AM

I would suppose he cut it down because he either wanted to, or felt he needed to. It s his tree, his perogative.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

I would not be so sure about that.
I have known many people who for one reason or another were fined, and even jailed in one case, for doing things like cleaning out an old gulley or hauling in fill dirt to be able to use swampy land on their “own” property.
These days it’s ALL the governments (through EPA) land. We just get to carefully use it in certain ways and pay taxes on it.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics