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Thread: maple tree to lumber

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    West Hartford, CT

    maple tree to lumber

    There is a large maple tree in the way of a new addition to the building where I work. It is about 24"-30" in diameter, straight to first branch which is about 30' from the ground. The tree will be taken down in the next few months to make way for the addition.

    I can't imagine what would happen to 750-800 bdft of lumber in that tree once its toppled, unless I can get some of it

    It's more of a dream... but what steps would I need to take to get this 2700 lb log from an inner city site to a sawmill to my home? and would it be worth it.
    Last edited by Greg Book; 07-22-2010 at 4:03 PM.

  2. #2
    any crane equipped flatbed can take it away so long as the crane can handle 4 - 8 thousand pounds

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    There's maple, and then there's maple, and not all maple is worth the rather considerable effort involved in having it custom sawn. Can you tell by the leaves which one it is?

    But for starters, assuming you want to go ahead, it would be nuts to leave the log 30' long; crosscutting it into, say, 10' lengths after felling would make it much easier to handle from the getgo. Summer isn't the best time to log, but if it has to come down when it's hot there's not much you can do, but you absolutely should end coat the log(s) with green wood sealer to reduce checking as soon as you can (i.e. right after it hits the ground).

    Before you have the logs actually sawn into lumber, you need decide whether to air dry the material or send it to a kiln, and if the latter, whether to kiln dry it right from the sawmill or after a few months of air drying.

    For air drying of any length of time, you'll need to be prepared to stack and sticker the wood as soon as you get it back from the sawmill, in a location that, ideally, gets some air movement but is out of the direct sunlight. If the stack will be in the weather (rather than under some sort of roof), you should cover the top of the pile with something, maybe some corrugated roofing material or exterior plywood, weighted down.

    Let us know how you proceed.

  4. #4
    You should recheck your math, that log will be much more than 2700 lb. If you have (or can borrow) a trailer that can handle the weight AND if you can load it, this should turn out good. If you have to pay for loading, hauling and cutting, it may not be worth the expense. I agree with cross-cutting the log. It is not likely that you will need maple lumber more than 8 ft long and it will be much easier to load two or three short logs.
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Several comments.

    First, 10' of 30" hard maple will weight around 2,700 lbs. The next 10' section ( assuming it averages 24") will weigh around 1,800 lbs. The last 10' section (assuming 18" diameter) will weigh around 1000 lbs.

    Assuming 30" DBH (diameter breast height), two 16' logs will have about 650 bd ft of lumber in them.

    Logs should be cut to length based upon potential defects in the logs, not based upon an arbitrary length. For instance, yard trees are notorious for containing metal; thus the bottom 6' or so of the log may need to be discarded. Above that, the log should be studied for areas that may result in lumber defects before bucking to length, so that you can obtain the clearest lumber possible. Kiln operators frequently have preferred lengths; it's best to consult with them and factor in their recommendation.

    Usually, with large logs it may be more economical to bring the mill to the log versus hauling the logs to the mill. It all depends upon the site as well the miller.

  6. #6
    Check around to see if you can find someone with a portable bandsaw mill. They exist all over and it would probably be easiest to have it milled on site and then you can do whatever you want with it. Some of the guys with portable mills will actually take part of the lumber as payment.

    If you have problems convincing your boss to let you take care of it, urban milling is becoming a very 'green' thing. There's no good reason to let a good tree go to waste now days.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Callender View Post
    There's no good reason to let a good tree go to waste now days.
    There's so much wood wasted; if you could be everywhere at once, with a truck and a chainsaw, you'd never have to buy wood again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Liberty MO
    There's so much wood wasted; if you could be everywhere at once, with a truck and a chainsaw, you'd never have to buy wood again.
    Amen to THAT!! Lots of logs that just go to the dump.. er.. land fill every day. I got several logs from a couple of trimmers that were removing trees. I would show up with a trailer and they would buck and load the logs for me. Haven't gotten any this year though, mainly because I don't have anywhere to put more wood.

    However, you have to be sure the trees aren't deseased or rotten/hollow.

    Often mill owners will also have kilns as well. If you deliver to the mill, you should be able to get logs cut and dried for about 50 to 75 cents a board foot.
    Mike Harrison

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