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Author Topic: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar  (Read 1156 times)

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Offline motzingg

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Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« on: November 05, 2018, 11:22:36 AM »
In the next week or two here i'm going to be taking down two nice trees that are just in the wrong location, too close to the house and crowding out better trees. 

One is a 14, maybe 16" red oak that is pretty clear almost 20' up,  the other is a poplar that is split into two 10" main trunks but more knotty. 

I have a couple projects around the house i'd like to use the wood for, but i'm not sure how much i'd get out of any of them.  My tree guy said they have no commercial value, but if i can get some lumber for little projects around the house, the sentimental value might be worth a slightly lopsided financial decision. 


Here is the question, is it worth trying to find a small operator with a backyard milling operation to mill these for personal use?  How much might that cost? 

Also, what is the best way to prep the logs? do i want to keep them as long as possible, or should i cut them 8-9 feet?  I'd probably be using the oak to make a nice thick-sawn rustic coffee table, the poplar i'd be using in small pieces.  Probably cut it into as many 2" thick boards of reasonable sizes as possible. 

Online derhntr

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 12:58:27 PM »
The trees sound like they are worth milling for the lumber. Might be hard to find a sawyer to saw them due to small amount of logs. Good luck. 
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Offline sealark37

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 01:42:16 PM »
The key to your answer lies in the storage area available to you.  If you have the space to stack and sticker the resulting lumber until it is properly dried, then buck the logs into 8', 10', or 12' lengths.  Seal the ends with some paint, and keep them off the ground.  Call WoodMiser to find a sawyer close to you.  Determine whether you want to haul the logs to him, or he brings the mill to you.  Saw the logs into 5/4 boards.  Ask the sawyer if he will quarter-saw the butt cut of the red oak.  If he will, great.  Take the boards to the storage, and sticker/stack with the stickers the sawyer cuts for you.  Wait a year or so until the whole mess dries out.    Forget the above if you don't have storage space.  Split it all for firewood.    Regards, Clark

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 04:24:24 PM »
I would cut the oak trunk in two and try to keep the poplar the same lengths, say 10'.  Unless the log wants you to cut it otherwise.  A bit simpler to stack lumber that's all the same length. 

You'll get out of the logs whatever is in them, minus a little sawdust. 

If you have the logs ready to saw, side by side at an accessible level location, and there is a portable sawyer nearby, cost should be quite reasonable.  I would estimate about 2-2.5 hours if it were me. 

Post your town, state in your profile you might get more useful advice on this. 

DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT   2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker, hydraulics everywhere), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.

Offline samandothers

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2018, 04:45:50 PM »
If you have use for the wood and a place to dry once cut then it may be worth it.  If you have the means to move it may be less $ to carry your logs to a sawyer, just a thought.

Length may be dictated by your desired use and the length of the trunks.

Offline motzingg

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2018, 06:07:26 PM »
Thanks, good advice. I'll probably get them into the longest, straight and manageable sizes possible.  8-10 feet, since anything much bigger might prove a challenge for moving them. 

I'm in Eau Claire, WI, about 1,5 hours east of minneapolis right along I-94.   I have a good dry spot in a machine shed i could stack and store them for a year or 2, and I could haul them a reasonable distance to find someone to cut them.  

Besides calling wood miser, any tips on finding someone local? Seems like a lot of people doing this at this scale are more on the hobby side of the business and not out there putting up adds everywhere. 

What kind of paint do i want to use? Just regular latex house paint do the trick?  Just slop it on there?  Being that we are a few hard frosts into winter I would guess there is less moisture in the wood than there would be in the summer when the sap is running, I'd guess that is probably a good thing. 

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 06:08:41 PM »
motzingg,

Limiting your search to only one manufacturer will reduce the likelihood of finding a mill close to you.  Although manufacturers may have a list of customers that have their brand mill, other sources may have more options for you.  There are search functions here on the Forum that are not type or brand restricted; in addition to sources like WoodWeb, Portable Sawmill Finder, and most state forestry agencies have a directory of sawmills within that state.

Quarter-sawing a 14" log would be interesting... :P 
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Offline reswire

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2018, 06:11:03 PM »
Craigslist, generates most of my milling jobs.  Maybe try there for a local sawyer?
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Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2018, 06:56:39 PM »
   If they were my logs I would saw them into lumber - then again, I have a mill.

   Do you need the lumber? If so for what purpose(s) and when do you need it? I get customers asking me all the time "What would you make out of this log? My reply is "I would make whatever kind of lumber I needed and the log would yield" If you are not a woodworker and are just going to use the wood for siding a shed, no reason to quartersaw (unless you want the prettiest shed on the block) because that would give you less return although higher quality wood for other applications. You need to know what kind/size lumber you want before you buck the logs and I'd be sure to leave about 6" excess for trim on each log. 

   The first thing any sawyer is going to ask you for is a cut list with your wishes for the number of highest priority, longest and most desirable wood. Then when we get this we try to cut the longest, biggest logs to get the high priority off his cut list first. Obviously I can't cut a 12' long 2"X8" out of a 10' log. A lot of my customers tell me "I want this many 2X4, 2X6 and 2-2X12's and cut the rest into 1" sheeting." then I have my marching orders and do my best to get that first and maximize return of the rest. We normally generate some thin lumber as trim cuts to get the thicker stuff. 

   When you do cut the logs into lumber, as mentioned above, you need a place to store it with plenty of ventilation and and generally (at least the tops) dry. It must be properly stacked and stickered for air flow to air dry properly. If making furniture you may need to find someone with a kiln to dry it to around 6 % moisture which is almost impossible in many climates to air dry. I don't see your location but around here we estimate one year per inch of thickness for air drying and that still won't be furniture quality.

   Tom is right about not limiting yourself to mill types. The FF list here is all types of mills so check them first. Woodmizer does have a convenient Pro Sawyer network for referral. If you need more sources you might call the other major mill makers and ask them for a list of their mill  owners in your area and they may can help. 

    Good luck. Please report back what you did. We get this question all the time but many never let us know what they did and more important what they learned in the process which helps us all.
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2018, 07:35:18 PM »
Sending you a PM. ;)
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2018, 09:56:23 PM »
FB marketplace.  Lots of people find me on FB.  Search sawmill or even lumber and ask the people with ads if they can mill your logs.
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Offline motzingg

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 10:30:26 AM »
Thanks for the responses, yeah i don't exactly know what i would be making with it.  I do some sand casting and buy poplar for making patterns and it is expensive as heck, nice hard tough wood with that doesn't warp as you cut it.  

I'm not much of a woodworker but that red oak sure is pretty.  My wife wants a coffee table for the rec room, but i'm not sure if she wants to wait 2 years for it, haha. Its always easier to put it up when you got it than it is to grow another tree... haha.  

Hadn't thought to check Facebook, i don't go on there much, i did look at craigslist and nobody on there advertising.   

there is a guy that has a pretty big operation about 15 minutes west of me along a country road,  maybe one of these saturdays i'll drive over there and just knock on the door.  I dont think it would be worth anyones time to bring a portable mill out to my house, just for these couple rinky dink logs.  Easy enough to put on a trailer and haul. 


Its dark now every night when i get home, but i'll try to get photos just to make things more interesting, and yah, i'll follow up if i do go through with it here.   

Offline barbender

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 12:22:48 PM »
The poplar you have may well be aspen, which is probaly different than the poplar you buy for casting. That's probably yellow poplar, it's more stable than aspen.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline motzingg

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Re: Worth Milling? 14" red oak and 10" poplar
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2018, 03:49:10 PM »
Thanks Barbender, i'm pretty sure it isn't an aspen, but we'll see when it comes down.  The way the weather is going, might not be until spring now. 

We took down a nice 20" red oak and i got a 10' x 18-20 inch trunk out of it with practically no knots.  The guy who is helping me do a bunch of tree work on my property told me about a guy he knows who will mill it for 'maybe 7-10 dollars a board or so'  so i'm going to have to go to his house maybe this weekend and see if i can get this cut. 


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