From Logs to Lumber

So you might have been wondering what we did with the trees we cut down last fall.

The medium sized branches Papa Flannel cut up and used for fire wood in their wood burning boiler. The small unusable pieces we hauled out to the pond in the winter and tried to burn but the pieces were still too green. Burning FAIL.

Instead we added them to our brush pile behind the fence which is now the home to lots of critters. Which helps offset the homes we probably destroyed clearing out that brush for the fenced in yard so it all works out in the end. But trust me it was not fun hauling that big brush pile all over the place in the deep snow.

The big pieces we intended to use so they have been sitting on the driveway to our shed for the past year. We painted the ends to help keep them from rotting.

I refused to let them sit out there for another winter and finally started calling around for someone with a bandsaw. We could have taken them somewhere to be cut on a big table saw but using a bandsaw on site is ideal. Bandsaws have a thinner blade so there is less waste, are said to cut a straighter line, and you don’t have transport the heavy logs. The only downside is that bandsawing costs more but I found a local guy who does it on the side for a very reasonable price. Tow behind bandsaws like his cost roughly $10,000 so it’s understandable that is costs more. Plus he only charged us for the time the machine was running not the set up and take down time.

The bandsawer brought his father and Papa Flannel came out to help us move the heavy logs.

This part the cherry tree was pretty curved but it produced a surprising number of nice boards.

Check out the nifty hydraulic arm the bandsaw has! No wonder these things cost so much.

Now onto the largest piece of the black walnut. Look at the size of that thing!

For being such an old tree it was disappointing to see how little black there was. The oldest parts of the tree have the least amount of white whereas the younger branches are mostly white. The black center is desirable and the darker the color the better.

When we got the center Flannel Man had two 3″ slabs cut so he can make gun stocks out of them. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited he was about this.

This shot was taken while they were cutting that last log. The fine dust shows how little waste there is with each cut. Considering how many boards we got out those nine logs that is a small dust pile!

As they try to get down to a wider part of the tree there are a few cuts with natural edges. They can be used as is (as they dry the bark will fall off) or you can have the ends cut to make them more useable. We just decided to have them cut while we had a bandsaw there to do it.

Look at all the lumber we got out of those logs! It’s hard to tell but that’s a four foot tall pile.

We ran out of 1″x2″ spacers so the bigger slabs are on the trailer for now.

And here’s the bark ends that won’t go to waste. Our co-workers were happy to take them for fire wood.

Now we just need to figure out how to dry it all! Sitting in our un-heated shed it would take close to 5 years to dry so we’re looking to dry them in a kiln. They would take 6 months to dry in a standard kiln and about a year to dry in a solar kiln. Solar kilns are preferred because the wood dries slower which causes less warping and splitting.

Like I said before Flannel Man plans to carves some gun stocks out of the 3″ black walnut pieces. I want to make some nightstands out of the cherry to match our cherry bed so I had some 2″ slabs cut for the legs. I also want to make a bench for our entry out of some of the black walnut pieces that have both black and white coloring. That tree was between 50-60 years old. It was there long before our house was built and had a huge presence in our back yard so I want it to have a presence in our house since we had to cut it down. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the rest of the lumber but we have at least a year to figure it out.

The whole process was really exciting to see board after board come out of those logs. It took 1 1/2 hours to cut everything so it only cost us $85. Considering all the nice lumber we got out of it I’d say that’s a good deal!

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3 Responses to “From Logs to Lumber”


  1. 1 jen October 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Whoa! I think this is so cool! And for only $85, you’ve got some great wood to do projects with… I’ll be waiting (very patiently 🙂 ) to see how they all turn out!

  2. 2 Kyle October 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Excellent post. I can’t wait to see the things you guys build out of all that beautiful lumber.

  3. 3 Roeshel October 28, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    That is so cool! I’ve never seen anything like that – I really enjoyed your post. I think it’s so neat that you have all of that wood and love your plans for it. Thanks for sharing your experience!


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This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
DIY Savings

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