View Full Version : Logs to lumber question....

John Pollman
09-12-2005, 11:14 AM
Hi All !

I haven't posted in a while because it's been a busy summer. I'm getting ready for Fall and I can't wait. Other than leaf removal, it's my favorite time of year ! A few months ago I posted a question about having a BIG Ash in my yard milled into lumber. This was for future reference but at this point it's become clear that it has to come down. The dreaded Emerald Ash Borer has killed it and most of the Ash in the entire area. :( This tree is probably 100' tall and about 32" diameter and the main trunk is dead straight and about 22' to the first crotch. It looks to me to be a good candidate for the mill. I've found someone with a portable mill to do the work. Now I'm getting bids on cutting the thing to prepare it for the mill. I plan on having most of it milled into 5/4 and some 4/4 stock. Then I'll move it to the basement and stack it for drying. Anybody have a ballpark idea as to how long it might take until it's useable ? The guy with the mill said that he's seen it take as little at 90 days to get down to 12%. That seems pretty quick to me. I've also got two big cherries out back that I may do the same thing with if I can afford it. They're both at least 70' high and one is about 20" diameter and the other is about 24". If and when I do get this done, I'll let you guys know. Maybe I'll just post in the for sale forum with some good useable wood for anyone in the SE Michigan area that wants some for a reasonable price.

Thanks for any input !


Donnie Raines
09-12-2005, 11:18 AM
Ash takes a while to air dry. I would guesstamate the one year per inch theroy will apply here. However, if you have excllant air circulation around the stack, low degree of humidity where the lumber is stored....you may be useing this stuff in 9-11 months. Be sure to seal the ends...bugs love to enter the end grain and munch on this stuff.

Ralph Barhorst
09-12-2005, 11:19 AM
I believe that it takes about one year per inch of thickness to air-dry hardwood. Of course, that depends on the drying conditions. It sounds like that ash tree is going to generate a lot of nice lumber. You shouldn't have much trouble selling some of it to recover your costs. I may even be interested in some of it.

John Pollman
09-12-2005, 11:25 AM
Thanks guys, I was figuring at least a year anyway. But I may take a small chunk of it and take it to a local yard that does kiln drying. That way I'd have some to use while the rest is drying. I've got a good size area in the basement that I can devote to the storage/drying process. The guy who's going to mill it told me to just paint the ends of the logs before it's milled. That will save a lot of time painting individual boards after they're milled. Maybe even a dehumidifier left running in the area would help also. I've got calls in to about 5 tree companies and I'm waiting for estimates. As soon as I get a reasonable one I'm going to have it taken down and milled. I'll let you know when it's all ready. ;)

Thanks again !


Dick Strauss
09-12-2005, 4:04 PM
I've found that most folks don't want to load your lumber into their kiln unless it is close to a full load.

Some of the sawyers will do 50/50 splits on the milling. In other words you give them 50% of your lumber in exchange for their services. This way it doesn't cost you $ out of pocket but the sawyers usually make out a little better for the hassle.

Here are some websites sawyer info and hiring links:


Let me know if you need more info and I'll try to help...

Best of luck,

John Pollman
09-12-2005, 4:19 PM
Thannks Dick,

I'll have to look into it a little further. Those links look like a great start though.


Wes Bischel
09-12-2005, 4:44 PM

If the ash died from EAB infestation, are you sure you'll be able to keep the wood? It was my understanding that in MI and OH the trees were to be removed and chipped to less than 1" chips - then the chips would be burned at a power plant (OH - not sure about MI). Is this still true? Though I'm in PA, we have two large ash trees in the front yard so I would like to mill the lumber as you propose if the time comes. I just didn't think we would be allowed to.

John Pollman
09-12-2005, 4:53 PM

It is still possible to do what I'm proposing. The EAB (Emerald Ash Borer) resides in the cambium layer between the bark and the actual lumber. Milling will remove this layer and the lumber inside is very much useable. I'm torn between which to use but between the Ash or the two huge cherries I have, I should have enough to build a complete set of new kitchen cabinets. (Boy would that earn me some brownie points with the LOML). :D

Jim Becker
09-12-2005, 4:54 PM
Just one thing...stacking it outdoors is preferable for drying so you have proper air circulation. It will take longer to dry indoors.

John Pollman
09-12-2005, 4:58 PM
I think you're probably correct on the point Jim. Besides, the wife just gave me the evil eye when I told her where I was planning on storing all of this material after it's been milled. ;)