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Author Topic: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)  (Read 1443 times)

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Offline walnutyetagain

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How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« on: October 25, 2019, 11:19:00 AM »
Hi there,

I googled sawmills in SE Michigan and found this site. We have a walnut in our backyard that hit my two-year old daughter with walnuts twice this year, so we're looking to get rid of it. When we had an arborist out to trim the walnut that was dropping nuts over our house, he said that we should contact sawmills before paying him to take it down because we might be able to get it down for free or even get some money for it, so I'm looking for mills now.

In looking at things here, it looks like a lot of folks like to stay away from urban trees, but some people are willing to take them down and haul them off, which is great. But the question is ... how do I find these folks? Is there a good directory that I can use to start cold-calling or emailing people? Sorry if this has already been asked and answered, but my search didn't pull anything up.

In any case, I've attached a picture of it. It's about 30-31" diameter at breast height, just by eyeing it with the tape measure. Then I got about 96" for a circumference at the same height, so dividing by pi tells me I was probably pretty close on diameter. It's also about 13' from the ground to where I put the red star in the photo.

Thanks for any help/suggestions!



 

Offline Jeff

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 11:50:34 AM »
To be as direct as possible, no one is going to take your tree down for free.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 12:30:47 PM »
Jeff just did you a favor and saved you a lot of time. 
 If your aborist thinks he knows somebody, he should send them. This is a fallacy. Nobody will pat that kind of time into a single stem just for the wood. The value of the wood is in what has been done after is it cut, not during cutting.
 If you find somebody that will take it, better make sure he is a fully insured operation, likely he is not. The cost to remove that tree far exceeds the value.
 I don't know who keeps spreading the rumors about free tree removal, but it is a fallacy.
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Online doc henderson

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 12:40:27 PM »
If was in the middle of an open area and within 50 miles of my house, I would go cut it down and bring it home.  I am a hobby guy.  log buyers would be interested if you had 30 of them.  lots of liability with house, fence, power lines ect. in range.  Prob 1/2 day with a bucket truck.  you might find someone to take the tree after it is down and save you on the expense of hauling stuff to the land fill.  the tops would make good cookies and or firewood.  
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Offline walnutyetagain

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 02:16:48 PM »
Cool, thanks everyone. (And thanks for editing your post to be kinder, Jeff).

After searching here and a couple of other places and seeing other people get answers telling them their trees are worth bupkis, I was surprised to hear the arborist I hired basically say "yeah, I'll cut it down for you but you should call around first," especially when they've been in business 20+ years and should know the market around here. 

Disappointing, but thanks for the response, y'all.

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 02:20:53 PM »
Honestly, nobody you want working on that tree is going to remove it for free.  Fence, another tree, minimum two houses to deal with, looks like limbs hanging over the fence, there is a lot of liability and skill needed to getting this safely on the ground.  Add to that the fact it's an urban tree so metal, excess sapwood, make the tree less inviting to a mill.  The question then becomes how would you load that log onto a truck or trailer from a fenced yard, and not damage the ground?   

Not sure why your arborist told you what he did, but he is mistaken.  Sorry for the not so good news. 
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 03:05:59 PM »
I get one or two calls per week offering walnut trees for removal (free or bought), it is an urban myth but I was really surprised to hear that an arborist would propose something like that.  I would suggest that you check with another arborist.  This one would appear to be out of touch with reality or very inexperienced (definitely check for insurance coverage).  Keep in mind that not all "tree guys" are arborists.

Without any information as to costs in Michigan, if we assume that his removal bid were $1000, he would have to think that your yard walnut would bring over $3 p/bf at whatever mill that bought the log.  And he would have to load it in full length, haul it, and dispose of the debris, limbs, etc..  

Around here, logs are scaled by the small end diameter, not including the bark, and the length.  When scaling the tree in the photograph (and the fence), the small end (just below the red mark) puts it at 24" diameter including the bark. There also appears to be substantial old damage at the base of the tree which may affect the value of the log.  If it is solid, and there isn't any metal stain, in my area, on a good day it would bring $1 p/bf Doyle, delivered to the mill.  Which may be why he didn't jump on the opportunity to take it down and sell the log himself.
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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 05:31:46 PM »
please take this in the spirit intended, but have you considered getting a hard hat for your 2 y/o?    :)  i had a tree guy listing a walnut on Craigs list about 50 miles away.  he thought it was worth a ton.  i called and told him I do not pay for trees.  i told him to call me if no one else wanted it.  He called.  I went to get it with a 277c cat track loader and my 32 foot gooseneck trailer.  he had run out of time to get it out of the guys back yard.  45 minutes to load all up and secure.  50 minute drive.  jacknife the trailer in the middle of a residential area and back down his drive to the back yard with 6 inches to spare on each side.  i took the main log, and grabbed branches and loaded them in a dumpster.  he gave me 2 other large branches.  the tree was actually great.  11 feet of clear wood. 30 inches round.  I am not a grader but close as I have come to a veneer log.  i gave the guy 100 bucks to make him feel he got something.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 05:42:03 PM »
Back in the sixties and seventies there where people who would cut a tree like that [ if the first log was a little bigger] and pay the owner. They would stack the brush and buck up the top on the property. Walnut was big $ back then. By 1980 this walnut market dropped dead. Now the walnut market is back but it is a different world and todays home owner would expect a complete clean up and the stump ground and grass planted.

Offline retiredmechanic

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2020, 10:16:35 AM »
here is another option you might consider albeit not a great option but with all the risks involved in this removal think about just getting it trimmed way back almost to the point of no limbs it isn't pretty in the winter and i'm not sure if it could be done where your at but in the southern states topping a tree is sometimes the only option in high risk areas and is far cheaper than total removal I had a tree that was growing over our roof and it cost me a $100.00 just to have a climber remove the limbs over the house however with walnut there is also the problem with roots seeking out your sewer if you have to top or short cut,the roots have a tendency to expand faster, down here you can cut a tree to it's trunk and it continues growing  Good Luck with your problem a real situation indeed 
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Offline walnutyetagain

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2020, 10:25:03 AM »
Postscript: Thanks for the dose of reality awhile back. We ended up paying to take the tree down. The arborist (ISA, TCIA, insured, etc.) offered us a decent credit for reclaiming the lumber and they did a really good job, given the tight confines, and their price was fair.

Despite the credit, we opted to keep the wood and I'll see if I can make a basic dining room table and -- perhaps, depending on yield -- a coffee table or some other knickknacks out of it. Here's what we ended up with:

Main trunk: 10.5' long before it splits off; about 31.5" diameter on the fat end and 29" on the skinny end
Branch 1: 6' long before it splits off; about 21" in diameter on the fat end and 18" on the skinny end
Branch 2: 4.5' long before it splits off; about 11" in diameter on the fat end and 11" on the skinny end
Branch 3:  6.5' long before it splits off; about 12" in diameter on the fat end and 11" on the skinny end

So back to my original question, what's the best way to find and contact sawmills?

Preferably a shop that has a kiln and can dry it for me. Right now, I'm thinking about trying to get as much 6/4 as I can out of the main trunk, with 4x4 or 6x6 blanks from the other ones, plus some scrap to make cleats or battens for the table and whatnot, if possible. But I also realize I've only ever bought dimensional lumber for my projects, so this would all be new to me, and I'd really be looking for someone that can advise me with stuff like "hey, why not go down to 5/4 for your project and you can get..." or "sorry but you aren't getting any 6x6 out of this..." Also, given this is an urban tree, I realize I might have to replace a saw blade or two.

In any case, pic below and thanks for the good sense earlier. Hope you guys have some more on offer.



Offline walnutyetagain

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2020, 10:27:36 AM »
Oops, should have added, if it matters, only the main trunk and branch 3 are just about dead straight. The other two bend about 5-10 degrees.

Offline Jeff

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2020, 10:31:22 AM »
Branches are not suitable for making lumber. Maybe used for small crafts or wood turning, but limb wood is inherently unstable when drying due to the stresses of growing against the constant pull of gravity.

Under the extras menu tab on the forestry forum there is a find a sawyer link. You should fill out your profile so we have a general idea where you are located.
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Offline dougtrr2

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2020, 10:44:34 AM »
Google is your friend.  Just start looking for sawmills and kilns near your city.  Make some calls, ask some questions.  When you get turned down, don't be afraid to ask if they know someone that might take this on.

Other than the time factor is there a reason you want it kiln dried?

With your small quantity the best option would probably be to find someone with a mill and a kiln.  Then load the logs on a trailer and take it to him.

Doug in SW IA

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2020, 10:46:25 PM »
  Check the woodmizer site. Under services they list their Pro-Sawyer network. Check the ones close to you and contact them. Good luck.
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Re: How to find/contact sawmills (yet another walnut question)
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2020, 07:56:32 AM »
Type sawmill into a facebook marketplace or a SearchTempest search.  Wade through the results,  there will be sawyers included.


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