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Author Topic: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?  (Read 23980 times)

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Offline JERICO

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Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« on: January 19, 2012, 03:56:02 PM »
 I have 20 yr old pine trees that I'd like to use for poles in building some pole barns and shade pavilions near our large garden area. 
I need about 20 poles 18 feet long or so.

With the humidity and the difficult that brings in drying larger pieces of wood, is it even feasible to dry whole pine logs for building pole barn type structures here in this humidity?
I really want to use some of these trees in my own construction one day, but I also don't want to bark up the wrong tree...hardy har har!!

In particular,
1.If you fell a pine tree, when is the best time remove pine bark?
   
2. How is bark removal best accomplished? 

3. After bark removal, what is next step usually?  Drying or are there more important steps regarding surface preparations that happen before or at drying...

4. With humidity here being relatively high, will pine logs dry in sheltered air for use outside or am I going to need a solar kiln? 

I've already learned a ton on here and any advice offered will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance


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Offline WDH

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 10:37:36 PM »
This is a tough one.  They will be easiest to debark in the early spring when the buds break and shoot growth begins before the trees are cut down.  That means the cambium is active, and this is the single cell layer between the inner bark and the wood.  This is the time of the year when the bark "slips" as the old timers used to say.  Wood will dry in your climate to about 12 -15% moisture content when given enough time.  Use 15% as an estimate.  Most kiln dried pine construction lumber is dried to 17%, so they will dry to an acceptable moisture content outside with a cover to keep the rain off them.  The real question is how long will they take to dry?  I believe that the answer is "a long time".  I would think that 20 year old yellow pine would have a diameter on the big end of about 12 - 14".  It would take at least a good year before they were even close to being dry, and that is probably not enough time. 

They make de-barking tools that look like a hoe, but with the blade straight in line with the handle versus hooked at 90 degrees, but I do not know much about them.

Wouldn't you have to treat the logs because the below ground portion will rot quickly in the Alabama climate?.  Why not buy treated poles that will last your lifetime?  If you factor in the time and cost to do it yourself, figuring that you will have to treat the wood somehow anyway, you might be better off buying treated poles and end up with quality structures.
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Offline Meadows Miller

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 10:51:06 PM »
Gday

First off Welcome to The Forum Ill be back Home in Alabama shortly Mate   ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)

I have done alot off log building over the years and for a pole to reach EMC Equalibrian Moisture Content with the surrounding area takes about 2 to 3 years in a 10 to 12" top diameter house log here and we have dry summers a log will never truly dry out all the way through due to the mass ;) Now as we do with log building cut debark and fit it green and give it a good coat off oil to protect it once over everything including inside the joints and you should be fine ;):):)

Asfar as putting untreated pine into the ground I would not do it as it just wont last you can either put treated posts into the ground and splice them or better yet pour some concrete footers to support it with galvanised steel brackets but that will mean you will have to put in some leg braces which aint too hard to do :):)

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 05:28:48 AM »
A lot of fellas peeling pine logs for home building will use a draw knife to cut a seem the length of the log and then use a spud to peel it in the round. You should be able to fashion your own bark spud. With the spring time logs you'll probably only need the spud.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,41131&p=20121

Those logs will take at least 3 years and the core will still be a bit higher in moisture.
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 11:46:15 AM »
There's really no need for the logs to be dry to build with them. As WDH noted, there is a tremendous need for the logs to be treated. A pine log stuck in the ground in the south would be lucky to last two years. If you have some design in mind other than sticking the poles in the ground, then you may be ok. Otherwise, buy treated poles and save yourself the headache of rotting structures a few years down the road.
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Offline JERICO

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 02:08:48 PM »
Thanks for the replies and advice.

Regarding burying the poles, I'd already read on here that there are options to burying them: putting them up on stone or concrete tabs, splicing or stabilizing to treated, and wrapping and pouring concrete around them.

With a friend in the earthmoving business, I realize in most construction projects, water is the element of nature to be respected and accounted for the most here.
There is no way to keep water off the post once in the ground, it's a matter of when.
Therefore, I had planned to pour concrete footings into the ground and attach poles to presunk bolts or metal braces affixed in the concrete.
Also, I'd have to build the overhangs of any structure far enough out to keep most water off the poles.

My curiosities into using my own logs to build hasn't been fully extinguished, but it's becoming clearer to me that spending the money on treated poles/lumber will likely be my approach. 
The good news is, I think I'll build a long enough pole barn that at least a portion of it can be used for drying some logs/lumber as I expand my use these beautiful trees here at home.

Once again, thanks for the replies.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 08:03:04 PM »
Now that is a good plan, especially the part about making it big enough to house the sawmill and future lumber stacks  ;D.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 09:22:25 PM »
About all I know about southern yellow pine is it's heavey and about as hard as oak once it's dry .Usually the part of a pole that's buried in the ground will stay forever .The portion about a foot below ground level up to about a foot above is what rots .

I've never done it but I'd about bet you could roof tar the butt of that pole and dirt tamp it in like a fence post and never have a worry .

Offline beenthere

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 11:28:30 PM »
About all I know about southern yellow pine is it's heavey and about as hard as oak once it's dry .Usually the part of a pole that's buried in the ground will stay forever .The portion about a foot below ground level up to about a foot above is what rots .

I've never done it but I'd about bet you could roof tar the butt of that pole and dirt tamp it in like a fence post and never have a worry .
And I'd about bet not.   ;D
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 07:43:41 AM »
Why would it rot any worse in the southern states than it would in Ohio buried in the ground ?  I'm not arguing the fact just asking a question .

FWIW I helped my dad build a pole shed in 1963 using skinny telephone poles for posts .Of course they were western red cedar but never the less they look as good today as they did in '63 .

Now on that, cedar or not I have some split rail fence,decorative type that will show deteriation above ground .I've pulled the posts for varius reasons and as I said before below ground was unharmed ,hard as it was when the post was sunk no doubt .

Same with a mail box post made of pressure treated wood .That 4 by 4 will go bad at ground lever ,below it's fine .Replaced one this last spring as a matter of fact after 14 years .---snow plows do them in .Of course down south that's not a problem no doubt . ;D

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 07:59:01 AM »
Cedar is entirely different than pine. I have a white cedar post by my well head where the air line comes up. It was put there 40 years ago and painted white. The paint is pretty much had the biscuit but the post still stands.  ;D

The biggest problem here with fence post, cedar or otherwise, was the frost pushing them up. The farmer would have to go around with the maul every spring and pound posts. Until he got tired of the chore and after 3 or 4 years they would be leaning pretty good. ;D A lot of pasture tended to be wet land, land that was not plowed unless was a dry stretch of weather. One reason is that the animals needed water, so you pastured in riparian areas. Probably not so popular now, but was the norm decades ago and before that. Many farmers here stabilized the stream banks with field rocks so the animals wouldn't cut the banks all up. My grandfather did it here.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 08:19:24 AM »
Well yes Swamp I know pine and cedar are different .None the less they do make fence posts from the center of a pine plywood veneer log ya know .Between those round posts and cut "landscaping " timbers they figured a way to turn stuff from chip fodder to usable profitable products .They're pressure treated of course .

To debate this even a treated landscaping timber after about 6-7 years in contact with the ground will start to degrade .You pull  fence post and look at the buried part ,same as I stated ,nearly new .

Now back on this post business .I've seen fences made of just pecker pole native stuff still standing  after 40-50 years and they were not treated  at all .It's a great debate subject .--keeping in mind we always agree on stuff  :D

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 08:38:34 AM »
Al, my brother has a PT back deck up off the ground via concrete blocks. It's now about 15 years past and it is beginning to rot. Nothing has ever been applied to the deck boards. Some stuff you buy is pretty much what you would call economy grade, the penetration ain't very deep. Probably a couple or 3 coats of pentox added by brush would be just as good as what your buying as PT. ;)
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1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 11:19:56 AM »
Well yes indeed I'm certain it isn't all the same stuff .

FWIW though on this rock hard southern  yellow I've pulled 50 foot class one poles which were creosoted  that had a butt stamp of 1951 that looked new below ground .This was in around 1982 .

We called these things black jack poles and sinking the gaffs into them was about like spiking granite .Thank heavens for bucket trucks .

Maybe you can't do anything with them other than creosote . ???

Sure it's pine but darned tough pine .You'd better have a good blade in a portable electric saw if you try to cut any of it I'll tell you that .

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 12:55:41 PM »
What about termites? Seems like they would be tenderloin to bugs?
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2012, 02:25:59 PM »
Now, on the subject of home-treating poles, I asked a friend who works for the railroad (think: obtaining creosote from a friend) about this very same thing. 
He said the only home way he's heard of was to have a long, elevated trench filled with used (motor?) oil heated up from underneath by fire, then rolling logs around in the hot oil.
Okay, dude, you go ahead with that.  I think he was trying to see if I would bite.
NO.

I did; however, think that heating up a barrel of oil and painting it on the butt ends would act much like tar in repelling water to a degree.

I'm not inclined to try this, just adding for thought.

I've learned a ton on this forum.
Thanks to all.

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2012, 03:46:20 PM »
Oh you talk about stink .Years ago there was a creosote works locally .They shipped ties by the thousands as well as southern pine poles on gondola cars .It's been closed for years but afterwards became  a pole line supply company .More so because the place allready had provisions for pole storage I suppose .

Seems funny that two miles of road housed that place plus a veneer log yard and a pallett works plus a recycle wood chip/mulch landscaping supplier .

Offline lumberjack48

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2012, 03:34:08 PM »
When we cut bridge piling for Wheeler Bridge, they only wanted winter cut poles because of moisture content. We peeled them with a log peeling spud , heres a picture of a man hard at work.

  
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2012, 05:59:31 PM »
Wouldn't be much difference in moisture in winter or summer unless your talking about long term storage and worried about the logs drying out in the summer. The living tree has to maintain moisture at a certain level or live cells die. In the spring time you will many times get balsam fir regeneration dying off from having done an over story removal in winter. The hot sun burns the more sensitive shade grown needles up because the roots are still frozen and can't take up water. The sun grown needles would be more efficient at closing off the stomata to preserve water.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2012, 07:07:48 PM »
 I don't know how things are in that swamp  up north but I'll tell you early fall cut oak has water running out of it around here .You wait untill about this time it's a lot drier  .

Of course that's not southern yellow pine nor in the south for that matter .

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2012, 07:10:53 PM »
Frozen up might have something to do with it.  ::)

Where does the sap come from up here in maples in the spring time when the ground is still froze up and 5 feet of snow in the woods? From the sky? ;) Talking March here, still two months before the daffodils. ;)
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2012, 07:52:14 PM »
Now how in the world can sap freeze in a tree and not split it apart ? In a log on the ground some times yes . .

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2012, 08:22:59 PM »
It gells because of the sugars. Sugar is like anti-freeze, to an extent. The water in the centre of the stem freezes, the cells are dead in there. I guess you never was in cold climate on -30 morning to here a snap and bang in trees when moving in the wind.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2012, 09:32:15 PM »
Lumberjack,

That looks a whole lot like hard work to me!  Debarking that much wood requires an objective  ;D.
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2012, 10:15:51 PM »
The last time father did that was in the 60's. Cut, peeled pulp, loaded by hand onto rail cars all for a kings ransom of $20 a cord.  :-\
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2012, 08:47:59 AM »
Now 50 years later you get $50 for ransom.  :-\  I know it doesn't have to be peeled by hand anymore,or loaded by hand,but just how the price is now compared to than.
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Re: Drying Felled Adult Yellow Pine as whole logs for poles.....?
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2012, 06:32:47 PM »
Lumberjack,

That looks a whole lot like hard work to me!  Debarking that much wood requires an objective  ;D.

I believe these are cabin poles, i was showing what we peeled them with. A good Ole peeling spud, i have a few hrs behind one. The only time a spud was used was on poles they didn't want to buy during slipping season.
I started peeling pulp in the late 50's, Aspen or Poplar, Jack pine, Balsam, Birch and Norway pulpwood. As soon as it started slip-en we were peel-en, about late April, depended a lot on the weather. It would tighten up about the middle of July, quit slipping.
 The last peeled wood i sold was 1980, all 4 of my kids got a taste of peeling pulpwood.
1968 i got $11. for rough pulpwood loaded on rail, $18 for peeled pulp.

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