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Author Topic: Length To Cut Walnut Log  (Read 1178 times)

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Offline bobbys9

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Length To Cut Walnut Log
« on: September 15, 2018, 03:26:44 PM »
I am getting ready to have my 31" walnut tree cut. The main trunk has one knot (remains of 3" branch) at about 6'. It continues straight and round for another 5' or 6'. I would like to get 2 live edge slabs from the main trunk, as well as 5 or 6 from the section above which has 2 sets of branches at opposite sides. Those will yield slabs about 7' in length. My intent is to sell most of the slabs to defray the cost of getting 4/4 lumber for a project.

The person that is going to saw the log suggested cutting to the knot, providing 6' slabs. Given I want to get the most for the 2 slabs, would I be better advised to make the cut higher, include the knot and have a longer length? Does longer command exponentially higher prices?

Furthermore, I will be transporting the slabs after they are thoroughly dried. Could the longer length of a 2.5" slab be too heavy to carry without equipment?

Also, would it be worthwhile to dig the top side of the trunk, which is a foot higher than the back side to increase the length of the log?

Thanks.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 04:48:10 PM »
How about some pictures of the trunk from different angles?
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 05:29:57 PM »
Pictures would be helpful.  As far as the butt log I suspect the presence of that 3" knot indicates that this tree grew in the open and probably has more as you get into the log, good or bad, for what it's worth.  
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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 11:42:54 PM »
Well, a 12ft slab is definitely worth more than a 6 foot slab.  A slab dining table is typically 8-12 feet long.  countertop slab is often longer than 6 foot too.   We do need to see a pic of the log to make sure, but a little branch knot on the log should be inconsequential. ...but to confirm that we need to see a pic.  You can get a little more length of the slab by including a little more of the crotch at the top.  

I don't understand if you are thinking you can get some 4/4 from this with the slabs?  In any case, if you're going to slab it, slab the whole thing.  The exception to that would be if there is a carpenter ant nest in the log, and you can only slabe half the log for clean slabs.  Then you can take the rest and cut lumber from the rest cutting any ant nest away from the boards.

You didn't saw how it is going to be slabbed or by who?  The guy who is cutting the tree down, make sure you mark where the logs are to be cut.  Don't leave it up to him.  Also, don't dispose of the upper limbs if they are 10 inches or bigger.  They can be milled into useable lumber too.  I even take limbs in the 4-8 inch range and mill the sections that are in one plane on two sides into 2.5 or 3.5 inches thick.  The extra 1/2 inch is for planning them later.  These make good live edge 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, or 3x material.  You can always edge them later if you need to.  You can use them for furniture, railings, etc.  Also don't think that a knot cannot be in a board, they can add character and if you cut parallel to the knot, that is if you're using a bandsaw and you put the knot sticking out one side or the other in the horizontal plane, you'll likely get some crotch figure when you saw through it.  Post some pics, and ask for help if you're having trouble understanding how.
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Offline bobbys9

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 01:45:01 PM »
Thanks for the input. I have only one pic of the tree, but it may make my narrative make more sense. Not the best, as I shot through a screen. Hope this helps. The 3" knot is not really visable, but as I said it is about 6' from the ground.

 

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 02:22:33 PM »
Looks to me from your pic like one long log right up to under where the branching starts (above the branch going straight out the side on the right, right below the first two big branches going out either side). Not seeing in the pic any reason to cut it shorter.  How long  would that log be?  
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 03:03:46 PM »
Proceed with the expectation that the logs will produce quality slabs.  Don't second guess it.  Let the results tell you how long to trim the slabs if at all.  Of course you will saw with any defects in mind.  A knot/limb doesn't necessarily equate to a defect especially in a slab.  Figure as a result of a limb, knot or crotch is often very desirable.  

We can look at lots of photos, but only opening the log will reveal what's there.

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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2018, 03:07:34 PM »
I would sell the bottom log as a 3 sided saw log.  Then take a log from below the 2 45 degree opposing branchs right up to the top of the fork and leave 1 foot on each branch.  You've got another 16' saw log in the branch on the left and another above the tall crotch.  I am guessing at measurements.  In any case, no reason to cut anything short, in slabs crotch wood, knots, etc are often considered enhancements.  
Liking Walnut

Offline Ianab

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2018, 05:27:33 PM »
I'd keep the main butt log intact (~12ft?) even with the knot. When you saw the log, you position and cut with any obvious defect positioned so it has the lease effect. . So for example, if you are slabbing you would have that knot either vertical or horizontal. Vertical would put it smack in the centre of some of the slabs, and you call it a "feature". When you make a table, you stabilise it with epoxy and carry on. If you left it horizontal, then the knot would be in the slabs around the pith, but those are often messed up be the pith anyway (usually crack?). So you might want to rip that section into smaller boards anyway. 

But bottom line, if you saw a 12" log, you can always look at the boards and slabs later and decide of they should actually be 6 ft long. Some may be better like that, others will be fine (and more valuable) left at 12ft. If you buck the log to  6ft, you can't join them back together. 

As for weight? Yes they will be heavy, especially green off the mill. But you need to think smart. Two guys can usually pick up one end of a heavy slab, and swing it onto a trailer etc, then pick up the other end and load that. Same thing to get it off and on to the drying stack. If you are absolutely stuck with moving it, you can still make it into 2 x 6ft pieces in 30 seconds. 

The top log with the branches and fork is going to make the more interesting slabs, and less useful lumber. I'd concentrate on getting that slabbed for sale, if you want more straight lumber for yourself from the lower log. 

Like Nativewolf points out, if the top "branch" is reasonable vertical (hard to tell from one picture), it would make another small saw log there.  

And of course, be prepared to modify the plan once the log gets opened up.  :D
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Offline cwimer973

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2018, 07:03:53 PM »
How wide can your saw cut?  And now long are your rails?  That’s the best place to start.

Now, do you own a forklift?  No then stay under 8’.

Are you over 50?  Yes then stay under 6’.

Do you own a circle saw that can only cut a certain depth, then only cut that thick.

When selling slabs people love a smooth (non-chainsaw) edge with anchor seal that will show the true end grain.

Put some water on when slabbing and take pics, much easier to sell when you have Wow pics and label each slab accordingly to the pic.

Good luck and post some pictures when cut.
Your Fellow Woodworker,
- Chris

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2018, 07:44:07 PM »

Are you over 50?  Yes then stay under 6’.
:D :D :D :D :D What's that got to do with it? :D :D :D :D :D
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Offline cwimer973

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2018, 08:36:05 PM »
Thought I would get a rise out of someone, ha ha...I hit 40 last year and my 10’ slab days are almost disappearing, lol ...well at least until I pull in a forklift and she kills me.
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2018, 09:35:52 PM »
From a maximum financial possibility I agree with Nativewolf, that 3 side clear butt log will capture the best value for you while leaving you with the character slab wood.  Honestly - it also leaves the greatest potential of metal for someone else to deal with.  You can work around hardware in lumber, no so much with slabs. 
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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 01:21:54 AM »
I stand with what I said above.  Get 12 foot(plus a few inches) slabs if you can.   Definitely use those upper trunks/branch logs for lumber.  

Again, how is this going to be cut?  with what equipment?
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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2018, 03:58:31 AM »
Thought I would get a rise out of someone, ha ha...I hit 40 last year and my 10’ slab days are almost disappearing, lol ...well at least until I pull in a forklift and she kills me.
Age and cunning beats youth and enthusiasm most times  :D
And a tractor with forks trumps both.  ;)
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Online mike_belben

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2018, 08:13:15 AM »
... My intent is to sell most of the slabs to defray the cost of getting 4/4 lumber for a project...
When one endeavors to generate revenue from trees there is a hierarchy of risk that increases the longer you stay in the production line.  A tree masks the maximum defect on the stump by the nature of offering the least possibility for examination, like a truck on ebay.  There are beatiful trees out there that are completely hollow.  Selling them standing allows one to sell some bad with good and shift the risk to the buyer as to.how good the trees really are.

 Each stage of processing is another roll of the dice that major defect will show itself and fair market value will drop.  It is a speculative business.



More specific to you..  if you have that tree felled and bucked to sell a 3 or 4 side clear walnut sawlog with 2 sound ends, it is almost guaranteed that you will have made money to buy your finished project wood and keep the crotch slabs for yourself without wading into that risk pool.  If you proceed with slabbing the buttlog, the risk increases that you may be paying a sawyer for board footage sawn plus 5 blades from iron strike and only recouping a few bucks from some short pieces trimmed around the big rot tube potentially lurking in the center.  No one knows whats inside and just like the equipment auctions, all bids are final.


With only one tree to dice up, how far you proceed should be decided upon by your capacity to absorb the risk of a poor outcome.  You dont mention any other trees to help offset the expense of this one.  If there were ten, the risk would be spread over a bigger basket.  Just some things to consider on the business side of it.

(Edit) but on the other hand that tree was your tree so i understand if its about the sentiment regardless of the financial layout.
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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2018, 10:23:34 AM »
Here's one log I agreed to take while standing.  Once cut There was a huge Carpenter ant next in half of it.  I got 2 pretty good slabs, and one that had ant nest in it and will take a bunch of epoxy or inlay work. to make a decent slab of it.  The other half I just had to salvage what lumber/boards I could.


 
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline charles mann

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 11:06:59 AM »
Here's one log I agreed to take while standing.  Once cut There was a huge Carpenter ant next in half of it.  I got 2 pretty good slabs, and one that had ant nest in it and will take a bunch of epoxy or inlay work. to make a decent slab of it.  The other half I just had to salvage what lumber/boards I could.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

For me personally, that nest gives it character, but that is for my usage. Other buyers may want clean solid wood. 
I just hope my walnut isnt a bust when i slice into it. When i felled it, it was SOLID, all the way (12’) to the branching section, which i left 2’ of log on the branch with 18”-24” of limbs. 
Some parts of the conopy section will only yield knife handles and pistol grips or other small do-dads. Hopefully 46” at butt and 38” at top of log will yield a good amount of 9/4 slabs for tables or kitchen counters and the branch section, maybe some bathroom counter tops or end tables. 
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Offline cwimer973

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Re: Length To Cut Walnut Log
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2018, 05:59:36 PM »
When dropping these guys leave the branches on to absorb the hit...lots of the open area in jersey in backyards they hit and crack down the middle.  I assume this is for most species but 1/3 of the Walnut I turn down when I check the drop site.
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