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Author Topic: Sometime the best laid plans......  (Read 1837 times)

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Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Sometime the best laid plans......
« on: March 25, 2012, 03:25:13 AM »
Every once in awhile i get a call from someone who has this nice tree I can have if I cut it down,clean up the mess and haul it away.  I usually politely explain why it isn't worth my effort to go through all the trouble for a couple of hundred dollars worth of lumber.  The few I have taken the trouble to look at generally would only make firewood. I've had a few gems that were worth the effort and I gladly took them down.
About a month ago I got a call from someone who had been referred to me by one of my lumber customers. He said he had a big walnut that was starting to shed branches and some had done some minor damage to the house he was restoring.  He was looking to sell the tree but didn't have any price in mind.  I gave him the story about how his yard tree really wasn't worth that much if anything at all. Told him about metal in the tree and how most mills wouldn't consider it because of that.  He understood all that but said it was a "big" walnut. I still wasn't that interested mainly because he was fifty miles away and it's really hard for me to break loose from the stable for any length of time. I also said that i don't by trees or logs.  He said maybe we can work something out in labor if i was interested. Finally I said, OK how big is big. He said hold on and I'll text you a picture.


 

 

I had to say that's a big tree. He proceeded to get out his tape measure and give me some specifics. 54 inches DBH and 13 feet to the first branch. Then as a side note he mentioned it was the Kansas state record walnut from a few years back.  I said that tree might be worth something but I still don't buy trees. He said he had some trim work to do and a few small tree behind the house he wanted gone together with a small walnut that had blown down.
We made an appointment to see the tree and I said I would bring my trailer to get the small walnut if it was OK with him. At least that might cover the gas if things didn't work out.
Went up there a week later and saw this monster.  Here's a pic with the owner standing in front of it for perspective.

 

 

It was close to the house with some overhanging branches. It's size dictated that it had to come down in pieces or too much wood could be destroyed. We worked out a deal where I would remove the tree, trim the big bur oak next to it and remove three small trees behind the house together with the walnut which had blown down. That walnut turned out to be 18" DBH with about 20 feet of clear trunk.
I gathered my forces for the big take down the following week. I had two friends and my tree service buddy who was to do the climbing. Even though I told him it was a big tree He assured me he would have it down in no time. He even had a date for later that afternoon. His first words as he got out of his truck were oh s***.  We worked all day getting that thing to the ground plus the trim and removal work.

Getting started

 

 

Almost there

 

 

In the week preceding the take down I had been doing my homework together with a little marketing. The main trunk would yield a little under two thousand BF with maybe another thousand out of the top, but the value wasn't in the large amount of lumber I could get from the tree, it was in the slabs. If I had the equipment and patience to cut and market the slabs, retail would have been 30K plus. I had neither, so selling the log was the next best option. I had one buyer who was talking maybe 6K and I really hadn't started looking.

We had removed all but the last large branch and all was well. My tree service buddy dropped the last branch which was thirty inches in diameter and said uh oh. I said what's wrong. He said two things, we've got a little hollow and a few hundred honey bees.

Here's what he saw

 

 

With a lot of disappointment and a few stings we still held out hope. It was not to be. I dropped the trunk crushing a ladder in the process to find this.

 

 

Oh well so much for the big plans. I don't know if  I'll get anything out of the trunk but I should get plenty from the top together with several nice crotch pieces. The largest crotch was more than six feet across but was ruined by the rot. The diameter of that base shown the the pic is a little over six feet. Maybe I'll cut that off and make a huge table base.
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Online barbender

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 03:38:25 AM »
What a monster! With that diameter, couldn't you still get a fair amount of jacket lumber out of that trunk?
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 03:44:18 AM »
I really won't know until I remove the butt flair and see how much is left of the main trunk. I haven't been back since we dropped it, it was getting dark and we had to gather up all the gear. I'll go back in a few days to start hauling home the pieces.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 04:46:11 AM »
Bummer  :-\

Probably still some good wood that can be recovered there.

Bet the home owner was pleased to see it down after seeing how bad the rot was inside  :o Interesting how there is still a wide sapwood band, suggests the tree was still growing well when it was taken down, but structurally, not so good.

Ian
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 08:03:24 AM »
A nice story,but kinda of a sad ending. Did great with the pictures.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 08:03:53 AM »
You should be able to recover your cost and make some money, just not big money.  At least the usable lumber will be recovered.  That old girl was not going to make it a whole lot longer.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 09:16:25 AM »
Bummer about the hollow, but still a good story and pictures.   :)
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Offline zopi

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 09:31:20 AM »
too bad you couldn't collect the bees...

one thing I learned doing tree service...never make predictions about a tree until you have seen it in person, and you never know what is in that trunk..
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »
I would think that there would be lots of side lumber in that tree!

Many of the branches are worth sawing.

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Offline zopi

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 03:39:26 PM »
tell ya what would be great to have out of that tree...the burl...
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Offline cutterboy

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 09:22:09 PM »
Oh man, too bad about the rot. However, after all is said and done you will get a lot of lumber from it. Thanks for the picture story.... just wish it had a happier ending. :-\

Offline WDH

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 10:46:09 PM »
Looking back, was there any sign that the center had rot or was hollow?  Almost every time, there will some type of indication, like a black weeping spot on oak, that there is something fishy in Denmark.  The old hardwood cruisers used to thump the trunk with a hefty cruising stick, and they could tell from the sound if the tree was rotten inside or hollow.
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Offline JohnM

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 10:49:33 PM »
tell ya what would be great to have out of that tree...the burl...

I was thinking the honey.  ;D
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Offline ely

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 11:08:08 PM »
i would use the hollow trunk for coffee tables... slab them off to various depths and put a piece of glass over it, you can even use the hollow under the gglass as a sort of shadow box.

Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 11:37:20 PM »
I had given the trunk a few good thumps but couldn't tell much.  There was one very small spot of weeping at the base, maybe a couple square inches.  I figured there was a chance of a little rot but not like this.
There wasn't any honey, only two small honeycombs that had been pretty well depleted. It was just warm enough for them to be active.
After I cut off the butt swell I'll know if there is any side lumber. The photo can be deceiving as the main trunk is narrower.  Did anyone notice the sap wood on the inside of the tree?
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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 11:41:49 PM »
There is something very strange and unusual that went on in the inside of that tree.  Very strange.  Almost looks like some type of ingrown stem that went bad and led to the rot that led to the tree being hollow.
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Offline colinofthewoods

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 01:58:56 AM »
on the coast here, anything with a bit of a swollen butt is usually hollow.  Hopefully you can get some decent edge grain from what is there.  Everytime I get too excited about a big tree I get let down.  Its the ones I don't expect that make me the most money.

Offline Axe Handle Hound

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Re: Sometime the best laid plans......
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2012, 03:37:19 PM »
There's a guy up the road from me that gets all excited whenever someone offers him a hollow maple because he tends to find a lot of figured lumber in the jacket.  Maybe your walnut will be the same?


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