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Thread: Pine, is it worth it?

  1. #1

    Pine, is it worth it?

    I have an unhappy pine tree in my yard. Its going to come down and am deciding if its worth trying to mill it for lumber, the small limbs will become firewood. The main trunk is maybe 18" in diameter and approx 10' in useable height. I did speak with one local sawyer who said they can be very "pitchy" making them harder to saw and difficult to dry. I am thinking it would cost me $400-$500 to have somebody out to do it, so is it worth it.

    Other option is having tree folks cut into large bowl blanks i.e. 16-18" slices cut in half. I know pine bowls arent the greatest but kept thick they have a rustic utility feel.

    Thoughts?

    Jon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
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    7,437
    If it's clear pine it would be worth it, but not for $400. Otherwise, IMO, no. An 18" log 10 ft long has 130 bf in it. My charge to mill it would be about $60 plus $1/mile travel plus $30 for any blade that hits metal. For one log, however, I would come and pick it up, mill it back home, then return the lumber.

    John
    Last edited by John TenEyck; 06-10-2021 at 4:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Jon, I didn't see your location but, if your estimated cost is accurate, you would be looking at about $2.85 p/bf for a yard tree, pine at that. That would be for green boards that would still have to be stacked, dried, and processed (depending on intended use). If pitchy, it could be difficult to cut depending on what the sawyer uses for lube. Referred to as an "unhappy pine" indicates that it isn't a tree in prime health and stressed pines are often extra pitchy. It would dry relatively quickly but the pitch will likely be a frequent problem unless the boards are kiln dried and the pitch is set by high temperature exposure (160 F +). If it has great sentimental value it may be worth the effort but cost benefit-wise, I would pass on it.
    Note: My use of the term "yard tree" is not intended as a pejorative. In my experience, trees that are grown in landscapes rather than woodlands have different growth habits (being pruned for shade, blocking a view, as a wind break, etc.) which may result in shorter trunks, spreading growth, and wider sapwood. They may also be more diverse species, planted for certain characteristics or colors, not species native to the local conditions.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the input, I think I will go to plan B. Once the guys start to take it down it will be apparent what the inside looks like. If I get some blanks out of it, great, if not then it will dry for firewood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,768
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenton View Post
    I have an unhappy pine tree in my yard. Its going to come down and am deciding if its worth trying to mill it for lumber, the small limbs will become firewood. The main trunk is maybe 18" in diameter and approx 10' in useable height. I did speak with one local sawyer who said they can be very "pitchy" making them harder to saw and difficult to dry. I am thinking it would cost me $400-$500 to have somebody out to do it, so is it worth it.

    Other option is having tree folks cut into large bowl blanks i.e. 16-18" slices cut in half. I know pine bowls arent the greatest but kept thick they have a rustic utility feel.

    Thoughts?

    Jon
    My thoughts.

    What kind of pine? I like to saw good, clear white pine when I find it. Virginia Pine, not so much. In fact I hate sawing Virginia pine, also called scrub pine. Has much more sap, coarser not-wonderful wood IMO. Most of my many dozens of huge pine trees are Virginia pine and I'm gradually taking down those that haven't fallen by themselves. (Shallow root system)

    The sap in pine needs to be "set" in a kiln or it may ooze out for for years, under finishes, etc. Some is worse than others.

    PPBs like green pine this time of year so spraying with boracare or something might be good.

    If you want to use it for bowls consider not cutting up the log into pieces until you are ready to turn. The other John Jordan said he puts the log off the ground and stores it in the shade. When ready to turn something he cuts off about 6" and throws it away to get rid of any end checks then cuts and blank and turns it right away.

    Be cautious burning a lot of pine indoors in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. The smoke can create a buildup in the chimney which if not cleaned out regularly can lead to a chimney fire. Great for outdoors, campfire, fire pits.

    JKJ

  6. PPB's are the least of your worries when it comes to pine. Beetles much bigger then that will hit it and hit it fast, within a week of dropping it this time of year. If you don't want holes in it the size of the tip of your pinky finger you need to mill it and get it tucked away or treated fast.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,778
    Bonfires are nice

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,768
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Bonfires are nice
    I love pine when pit burning brush, limbs, and logs. I dig a pit maybe 8'W x 6'D x 20'L and 1st throw some pine (or cedar) trees with a lot of small branches and needles. Set that on fire and then start loading other and small then larger wood on top. Pine gets hot so quickly it jump starts the whole process.

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