A couple of years ago, we lost a huge black walnut tree on our place in a bad storm. It's still down by the creek, and one of these days, I'm going to cut a limb out of it and see if I can find someone to make a nice stock for one of my nice air rifles. We don't have any sawnills, portable or otherwise in our area. I'd love it if I could find someone who wanted the wood, because it would probably make some really fine products.
So many weeds.......so little time.
Can wood be air dried by stacking outside and covering with a tarp? Ant idea if I could have the trunk cut into two or three equal lengths (18' total) and leave these logs outside till next summer to deal with? (sell or have milled)
If you have the 18' trunk cut into 3 equal lengths, I believe it will be ruined. You would be surprised the extra length that is required to get the finished length.
Bee bliss is correct. The problem w/ that is the end grane allows for moisture to leave very fast. The moisture inside takes much longer to leave causing end cracks which will go anywhere from a foot and on up in from the end. This is the reason why when you buy rough wood often the end will be sealed somehow. Typically in larger industry you'll see the ends painted and often they'll paint different types a different color. YOu can also use wax to seal the ends. (Beeswax would work great) If you do this you may be Ok until the spring, but it's not that great of an idea. From what I remember as a rule of thumb it takes a year per inch that's exposed. So a 2" wide board (or 8/4 as it's called) will take 1 year. A 4" wide board will take 2 years and so on. A 36" wide log will take a ton of time. Now firewood is different because you're not concerned with it cracking. Typically firewood is cut in 18" or smaller lengths and isn't sealed on the ends. Still it's recommended that it dries out for a year before you burn it in your fireplace due to the creasote. Now if you would get it sawn you still want to seal the ends. Even if it is sawn the ends will still crack. I've done this and when I was stacking the wood I had a roller with some white paint handy and slapped the paint on the ends. I did this with white oak and it turned out very well. You'll want to get some sort of 3/4" square pieces of wood ( I ripped a 2x4 down) and space them every 12-18" and set the boards on top of that, then another row of stickers directly above the previous and lay another row of boards on top of that and so on. YOu want to support the wood very well. They don't need to be level,but they do need to be flat or else as they dry they will keep the curve that they've been setting on. I hope this makes sense.
In what I did with the white oak only about 6" is "lost" on each end at the worst. The paint worked very well to get maximum yield.
I thought this may be helpful also. This is one place in the past that I've bought rough lumber from. http://www.dolllumber.com/pricing.php?T=kiln
I split wood yesterday with help from a friend that does the climbing and we talked about your tree . He brought up the gun stocks too . All the advice ive seen here is solid , except for the prices . I get a bit more per bf . I dont know why , but im not complaining . The cool thing about your own tree is that you can have it cut to whatever size you need . Thats a pretty big deal if you have a plan for a project , like that most excellent table 6r made . If it was me ..id cut it into 2 nine footers . Yes the ends will check if not painted . The boards will shrink a bit when dried ..an 1/8th to a 1/4 . The stickers are a must and it doesnt hurt to rotate the stack during the yr . I have stored wood in the yard but its not what i like to do ( milled wood ) You sure can leave the log in the yard , just roll it onto some cribbing to get it off the ground .
I owned and operated a saw mill for several years. It is a common mis-conception that walnut is worth a lot of money. I cant tell you how many times a month somebody would call me asking if I would buy their walnut tree. I frequently told them if they had a whole load of walnut trees I may consider it and if it graded as veneer or at least #1 I would pay 1.50-2.00 a BF. The tree service didn't call back because they get dozens of these same calls per month and they already know that these people are not going to hire them. The tree has to be perfect and a Sawyer skilled to turn it into a valuable product. Not trying to crush your hopes and dreams here, just being realistic and trying to save you some time.
Your best bet would be to hire the tree service and then keep the saw quality log and find a portable mill to turn it into 5/4 for you.
If it was Bastogne Waltut instead of Black Walnut, that would be a different story.
Always question Conventional Wisdom.
OK, say I have the tree service bring it down and leave me the two 9' trunks on the ground. Do portable mill guys cut it up on the ground or does it have to be lifted up onto the mill?
Portable mills usually are self loading, but if they don't have a log loader on their mill they will let you know. Most mills like a Woodmizer LT 40 can saw logs as short as 6 ft.
Always question Conventional Wisdom.
We had a portable sawmill guy come out a couple of years ago and cut up a black walnut log into 5/4 boards and cut up 2 large cedar logs.2 sections about 8ft long and at least 4ft diameter about 9 ft up the tree there was a 3/8 chain grown right into it.He charged us about $300 but we have a huge stack of walnut about the size of a full size van.and we have enough cedar to line every closet in town! For my part he cut me a really nice rustic walnut mantle from the heart of the log.
$300 would be well worth it to me to have walnut boards. I got a quote of $450 just to bring the tree down in sections. Minimal cut up and no removal of anything. $900 if I want them to remove it all. Now to find a guy with a mill that's not too far away and price that part out.
Around here several tree companys own portable mills.
here is some prices for ready cut walnut note that these boards are shorter than 8 feet
Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.
Scrapfe, Knowing / looking at the pictures on their web site and their prices, I wouldn't buy from them. Their prices are a bit high from what I'm used to, however if the pictures reflect what they have it's not worth it. IMHO.