Author Topic: Harvesting fallen oak tree  (Read 1636 times)

$200k

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Harvesting fallen oak tree
« on: August 30, 2017, 04:04:28 PM »
Hi there:

I am a newbie wood worker.  Recently, a 50-60 foot oak tree fell on my property, the base of the trunk measures somewhere around 18".  I will need to chainsaw the tree to restore my yard.  I can't and don't want to use the logs as firewood.

I've seen videos on people milling their own lumber for various non-professional DIY projects and I would like to do the same.  I saw in a 5 minute youtube video that the woods needs to season for roughly a year or so.

Has anyone else harvested their own lumber for DIY projects?  Any tips or resources you can offer?

 

Uturn

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 04:10:43 PM »
I have no personal experience, but this guy's channel has tons of information.  Go to older videos where he used a chain saw mill before building his bandsaw mill.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDpL0v-Ifie7u05lbfO3zJQ
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Papa bear

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 04:17:57 PM »
My buddy is milling wood from a huge maple that he cut down in his yard. 

He has a large outbuilding and built a "mill" with a band saw.  While it looks cool and he's going to get a lot of wood, his texts have been:

- Words of wisdom for you... Don't quit your job to take up milling lumber. It's not all it's cracked up to be! :)

- Not easy. Maybe with the right equipment but I spent probably 6 hrs trying to get it set up. At the end it got a little easier, hoping for some good cuts tomorrow

- So much work!

He's about 1/8 done... not sure he'll be doing this again. And he works 7 on 7 off so he has time to do this.



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affordablehousing

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 10:38:59 AM »
Totally doable, totally fun. With an 18" tree you're not going to open a commercial mill, and depending on your purposes, you might want to use the wood more creatively than trying to mill it into standard lumber. You're looking at maybe yielding 60 board feet assuming you've got a pretty straight main trunk of 35 feet. If you went to the lumberyard that might be $240 for oak, less than a chainsaw costs. But if there's some interesting grain you could find the good bits when you're bucking it and turn some bowls and vessels on the lathe. You could always buck it into longer sections and carve some simple high-backed chairs with pieces. You could also split part and use some rounds to make rustic benches. Or if you think it would be interesting to learn, and want to buy a chainsaw, Alaskan mill and a peavey, you could try milling it. At 16" assuming 1" for bark you'd have material for live edge shelves, perhaps a fireplace mantel, you wouldn't have enough for a bookmatched table but maybe a rustic outdoor kitchen countertop.

Bottom line, cheaper and easier to go buy wood, especially oak. But if you're interested as a project, rustic hipster stuff is easy to make.

Skills Barterer

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 10:43:04 AM »
I have several logs at my house waiting to be milled with my chainsaw mill.  It is a lot of work, and you have to let the boards dry for at least a year if not longer.  You will have to have it stacked somewhere for that time before you can effectively use it.  You could always craigslist the tree and it will eventually go away.

Do you know if it is red oak or white oak?  White oak is more valuable but red oak is better suited for outdoor purposes. 


FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 11:29:16 AM »
Another idea: Rent a chainsaw. Cut out the few bits you might want to use for woodworking (areas with burl or interesting grain). Chop the rest into logs, then rent a log splitter to split. An 18" oak should get you a little less than a cord of firewood. Sell the firewood after it seasons for a year.

Chainsaws rent in my area for about $65/day and a log splitter $100 (rent them on different days). For a little less than a cord of wood you'll about break even on the rentals, but you'll have removed your fallen tree at little to no cost and you'll get a few pieces of interesting wood out of it.

homestead neohio

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 11:41:31 AM »
^ Would you like a bedpan with that $100 log splitter rental?  A splitting axe is a useful tool that will last many years, will cost you 1/3rd the price of that rental, and you get to keep it when the job is done.

I split all my own wood by hand each year, or my younger-than-teenage sons do it, and we heat almost exclusively with wood.  It is good exercise, makes you feel powerful, is cheaper, quieter, and non-polluting.  I do use a chainsaw to cut things to stovewood length, though.  My level of badassity has not progressed to Pioneer.

I have an interest in milling some trees on my property, but have heard lots of mixed reviews on the chainsaw mills.  I have the number of a local guy who will tow a portable mill on site and do the work, but I don't have a good covered place to store it yet.  So the trees keep getting bigger and the building projects wait...

lthenderson

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2017, 11:55:52 AM »
I am fortunate that I live near several mills that will cut up any large trees into boards for a nominal fee. For smaller projects, I just cut up the log into appropriate sized lengths, paint the ends with stuff that prevents checking and let it cure that way. After a year, I have a jig that I use to run it through my bandsaw and make into boards. I don't have a huge bandsaw so I only do this for boards about 16 inches in length or less. If they are thicker than 8 inches, I have to cut them into narrower slabs with the chainsaw first. I mostly do this when I run into highly figured woods when cutting up stuff for firewood.

FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2017, 12:13:18 PM »
^ Would you like a bedpan with that $100 log splitter rental?  A splitting axe is a useful tool that will last many years, will cost you 1/3rd the price of that rental, and you get to keep it when the job is done.

I split all my own wood by hand each year, or my younger-than-teenage sons do it, and we heat almost exclusively with wood.  It is good exercise, makes you feel powerful, is cheaper, quieter, and non-polluting.  I do use a chainsaw to cut things to stovewood length, though.  My level of badassity has not progressed to Pioneer.

You use a polluting chainsaw? For shame!!! Do you also have a bidet on your fancypants homestead?

FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2017, 12:18:17 PM »
Also, you should be able to sell the rounds w/o splitting them, though you'll get less.

homestead neohio

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2017, 12:24:17 PM »
You use a polluting chainsaw? For shame!!!

I know, I know...

Do you also have a bidet on your fancypants homestead?

I thought my toilet just had a drinking fountain mode...

FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2017, 12:41:22 PM »
You use a polluting chainsaw? For shame!!!

I know, I know...

Do you also have a bidet on your fancypants homestead?

I thought my toilet just had a drinking fountain mode...

LOL. I remember reading in a EU travel guide some years ago a warning to Americans that those are not drinking fountains.

Syonyk

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2017, 10:03:21 AM »
^ Would you like a bedpan with that $100 log splitter rental?  A splitting axe is a useful tool that will last many years, will cost you 1/3rd the price of that rental, and you get to keep it when the job is done.

You split freshly fallen?

I'm all for splitting by hand but it needs to season for a year or two first. It sounds like the poster wants it gone.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2017, 12:56:17 PM »
Oak (per OP) splits easier when green and then cures faster, though it's heavier to work with. If using a hydraulic splitter it doesn't really matter either way.

Syonyk

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2017, 02:52:17 PM »
I agree a hydraulic splitter doesn't matter.

I suppose I haven't worked with oak, but I hate splitting most green wood.  I get a lot of "splat" sounds out of the impact instead of "crack" sounds.
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FINate

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2017, 05:03:49 PM »
Depends on the specific type of tree. I can split ponderosa or jeffrey pine by hand no problem - fun and gratifying getting quick clean splits one after another. Oak, depending on the variety (OP didn't specify) is a different matter altogether. The most common around my area is Coast Live Oak. It's difficult to split when green, but when it dries the fibers shrink or bond together or something and it's a royal pain in the ass. Each split takes forever, multiple swings per split and the axe repeatedly gets stuck. Burns great (clean, hot and long) but yeah, I'd use a splitter.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 05:05:52 PM by FINate »

Fishindude

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2017, 09:00:57 AM »
Salvaging that one oak for lumber is not going to be cost effective.  You will be able to buy already dried, planed lumber cheaper, however I understand the attraction of making something out of your own tree and know several folks who have done the same.   There are typically some guys around with portable band saw mills that will come to your place and mill it into boards, or you may be able to haul it to a small sawmill and have them do the same for you. 

Look up sawmills in the yellow pages and start there.  Somebody should be able to point you in the right direction.

homestead neohio

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2017, 09:32:38 AM »
You split freshly fallen?

Not usually.  I cut to length to season and manage first in first out, so I'm generally splitting seasoned wood I've had 1-2 years.     "Splat" sounds are no good when splitting.  I've found some woods split well green, including ash and red maple.  Not sure about the OP's oak, but could easily be seasoned a year between cutting and hand splitting.

Fishindude

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Re: Harvesting fallen oak tree
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2017, 10:05:51 AM »
I split it when I cut it and it's usually green, get the whole project done at once rather than turning it into several operations.  Split wood will dry out much faster and be seasoned and ready to burn much faster than un-split wood.   Frozen green wood sometimes splits like a dream, pops right in half.

Have heated with wood for 30+ years and anyway you do it, firewood is a fair amount of hard work.  My ego does not require that I split with a maul.  I find the hydraulic wood splitter to be much handier, faster, and easier on the body.