Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Questions concerning a large oak tree

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
    Posts
    355

    Questions concerning a large oak tree

    I have a friend with a large oak tree that he wants to take down. I told him that I would pay for removal if I could have the tree. It is probably about 4' in diameter, 30' tall.

    I would like to have it sawn on site.

    First question :. What do I need to be aware of if wanting this tree for lumber? I know not all trees make good lumber, but what should I look for? I don't want to end up with a bunch of firewood.

    Second question:. What is the going rate to saw a log? I am in central Ohio.

    Thanks for all the help. I am just trying to figure out if it is worth the effort.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    beavercreek oh
    Posts
    93
    Well, I'll jump in with a few thoughts. First, what kind of oak, probably red oak or white oak. IMHO white is worth a little more. Is it a "town" tree or in the country? Some sawyers won't touch anything that potentially has any metal in it (screws, nails, etc). Look on Craigslist for lumber, under Materials section, Lots of individuals with sawmills selling lumber who might be interested

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    6,075
    Cutting up the tree is just part of the issues facing you. How will you mill, store, and dry the lumber?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    5,710
    A 30' tall tree or a 30' long log? If it's a 4' diameter and 30' long log you have yourself a monster that could yield 3600 BF of lumber according to the Doyle Scale. Finding someone with a mill large enough to mill a 4' diameter log it might be a real challenge, however. Look on Woodmizer's website for local contacts that contract mill. Be prepared to spend around $.0.50/BF and to pay extra for blades that get trashed if they hit embedded metal.

    Not many 4' diameter trees are solid anymore; they are often hollow more or less, so the amount of good lumber could be substantially less than first expected. The quality could be poor, too, especially in backyard trees. And if it's a pin oak I suggest you just let it go to firewood unless you like little knots every few inches. But if it's a solid white oak that baby could yield a motherlode of great wood and you could finance a new machine or two by selling some of it after it's dry.

    You will need a place to sticker the lumber to dry immediately after it is milled; there's no waiting a week or even a couple of days or you risk fungus setting in and staining the wood. You will need to build several bunks to build the stacks on and hundreds of stickers to sticker that much wood. There is going to be a lot of prep work to get ready, and a lot of sweat to move and sticker it all. But Fall would be a great time to do it so the wood can begin to dry but not too fast.

    Alternatively, you may be able to find a small sawmill to mill and dry the wood for you. You'll pay more but you'll do nothing but right them a check, and you'll have KD wood when it's done.

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
    Posts
    355
    Yes it is in an urban areas.

    Is there anyway of knowing how much, if any is bad in the center before cutting it down?

    I also just found out that it is a pin oak. So maybe not worth the effort.

  6. #6
    A photo of the tree would be very helpful.
    Paying for the removal and then paying the sawyer, stickers, covers for storing or kiln drying may get pricey. Now if you where to find someone with a slaber mill and you could handle the slabs well that may be a $ maker if you have the patients for the slabs to dry.
    James

  7. #7
    I'd start by drilling the trunk to determine if the tree is solid. Often when oaks get that big they're hollow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    5,710
    Whack the trunk with a baseball bat. If it's hollow you will hear it.

    Personally, I have no interest in pin oak. I like clear lumber and there were too many little knots in the one I milled for it to be of any real use to me.

    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    3
    An urban oak tree 4' diameter has been there for a long time. There is a very good chance it has a few pounds of metal in at least the bottom 10'. *If* you find a sawyer willing to mill it, the wood will most likely be stained black through out from the metal in it. Oak and metal don't mix well.

    Now on the other hand, there have been a lot of very nice boards cut from yard trees. Its a gamble.

  10. #10
    Metal in saw logs should not be a fear decision, it is an economic decision (when using a bandsaw mill). Based on my experience milling many logs that contained debris of various types, whether or not you mill the log should be based on accurate information. Certain types of metal can cause staining in logs, usually iron such as found in nails, staples, fencing, brackets, chains, horseshoes, etc. Metals with low, or no, iron usually leave no stain (brass, copper, aluminum, and lead), and metal that has been coated (galvanized or zinc) may not stain the wood as quickly. Metal stains travel down in the tree, not up.

    If you look at the bottom of a log and see the telltale black or blue stain indicating metal, you can look at the end of the log like the face of a clock (e.g. 2-4" out from the pith at 2 o'clock), the metal will be in the same location as the stain (except in logs with spiral grain). Check the top end of the log - if no stain then the metal is in that log, you just don't know where in the length of the log. If there is stain on the top end of the log that indicates that there is metal further up the tree - that doesn't mean there isn't metal in the bottom log (think tree stand steps).

    The metal stain will be a little larger than the object (a couple of annual rings around it), and extend from the object's location downward through the log - it will not be stained throughout the log, unless there is metal throughout the log. A sawyer may be able to mill around the metal location, and as you are milling you may be able to see the beginnings of the stain and dig the metal out before you hit it. I have found the wand-type metal detectors to be sensitive to metal like nails for a couple of inches into the wood but, considering that my forklift forks, loading arms, and the mill, are made of metal, detectors are difficult to trust when the log is on the mill.

    From an economics standpoint (based on my fees), consider the cost of hitting a nail while milling your log. Lets say that you have a 24"x8' walnut log on the mill, we are milling 4/4 lumber when we hit a nail in the log. Generally, my blade will cut through the nail, leave a scratchy pattern from that point to the end of the cut. We pull, or dig, the nail out. The blade will be changed, to be re-set and sharpened. There is a charge of $15 for hitting the metal. The log yields 200 bf of 4/4 lumber. At .50 p/bf milling fee, the milling cost was $100 + $15 for the blade. The metal stain affects half of the length of 3 - 18" wide boards (18 bf) so, instead of getting 200 bf for $100 (.50 p/bf), you get 180 bf for $115 (.64 p/bf). If getting that much walnut isn't worth .64 p/bf, then you shouldn't mill that log. Most of my clients don't stop when we hit metal in their logs. I have had clients pay for 3 blades in one log, and still consider it a good deal.

    It should be mentioned that not all species stain in the presence of metal, and not all blade-damaging debris in logs is metal. I have hit a couple of ceramic insulators, and even a ceramic, armor-piercing bullet, that left no stain. Metal that has recently been placed in the log will not have time to stain. If metal is removed, or has corroded away, the metal stain will remain. And of course, some things we hit in logs can destroy the blade, not just dull it. Drywall and deck screws are very damaging to the blade. A severely damaged blade may dive and damage the board being milled and the one below it.

    The type of mill, the cost of blades, the severity of metal contamination, and the usability of the affected lumber should all be considered in the decision to mill a log with obvious metal contamination (another good reason not to use paint to attempt to seal logs).

    It may be cloudy, but the sky is not falling.
    Last edited by Tom Hogard; 11-04-2018 at 12:07 AM.

  11. #11
    Very well written and informative, post, Tom. Thanks for posting it!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •