View Full Version : How do you know when a tree is worth felling for wood?
07-15-2004, 09:17 PM
We have a medium sized sugar maple in the front yard that's in need of being felled.
It's still very much alive but some branches have been infested with something or other and it also looks like it may even have been struck by lightening at some point way up at the top.
The tree guy told me it was a sugar maple and that they could cut it into firewood sized logs for us and leave them as it would be cheaper that way.
I have no experience whatsoever of resawing, but could it be worth saving and requesting that they cut it into larger sections to allow for drying and resawing, or perhaps paying for someone to mill it, as I've heard mention of portable mills being used by some of you guys.
I supose my question in short is;
When is it worth hanging onto the wood for more than just firewood?
And how do you know if the tree will be a worthwhile investment in this direction?
Thanks in advance.
07-15-2004, 09:35 PM
I bet there's lots of bowl blanks in that tree! Heck, $2K will buy one NICE lathe...and then you wont have a need for a table saw :P
Seriously, though...I would contact a local sawer. I think it was DWII who said that wood-mizer has a local sawer referral program. A quick scan of their website turned up no such info. But check the phone book or drop them a line.
07-15-2004, 10:08 PM
I'm interested in this subject as well, wish I knew the answer. I'm in the process of cutting down a fairly large Mulberry tree, I'm assuming that it would be pointless to try to do anything with this particular tree, I haven't heard of anyone working with mulberry wood hehe.
However my parents have a humongous Oak tree in their front yard that will eventually have to come down, another tree fell in a storm and swiped all the branches off of one side of this big Oak. It's been leaning more and more to the side that still has branches each year and it looks like it will topple on its own if we don't cut it down.
I just spent $30 for a piece of 16" x 96" pine, I can only imagine how much money I could save if I managed to mill that oak tree or have someone else mill it for me.
As a side note about 5 years ago my parents had to pay someone to cut down 2 huge walnut trees in their back yard, the city ordered them down due to some disease. My dad called around to some mills to see if he could relieve himself of some of the cost to remove them, but the people he talked to told him it wasn't worth their time to travel to his house for only 2 trees. I was surprised to hear that since they were both a good 200 feet tall or so.
Anyone ever think of starting a tree service business on the side? I'm sure quite a few people have thought about it or even followed through with that thought. I would like to hear stories about wood gains from anyone who has gotten in to the tree service field =D.
07-16-2004, 01:00 AM
>I have no experience whatsoever of resawing,<
Well now, Rob, if you don't have wood to resaw, how will you get the experiance, my man?
And having the wood waiting to be resawn justifies the means to get a saw big enough to do the work for you. Like a nice band saw.
Thus your shop grows. ;)
>I supose my question in short is;
>When is it worth hanging onto the wood for more than just
Sure, it doesn't just grow on trees you know. It comes from lumber yards as well.
>And how do you know if the tree will be a worthwhile <
>investment in this direction? <
If it has wood in it, it's worth exploring the possibilities.
It can always be made into firewood after the fact.
But it is difficult to make lumber from firewood. ;)
[link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds] http://home.earthlink.net/~sonnypie/vortex_smiley.gif
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
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07-16-2004, 01:23 PM
I am learning that almost all wood are worth keeping :D. Some may be better suited for some projects though.
I am a "newbie" woodturner and what I look for are the "unique" grains (found or crotch, burls, root area, etc) which used to be considered un-fit for general lumber use (maybe still is).
So my answer is...it depends on what you are planning to do with it :). You can always try to sell it and if all else failed...we are only months away from winter ;).
"Innovate or Stagnate"
"I count my blessings a lot more than my mis-fortunes."
07-16-2004, 02:28 PM
Actually, Splint, there's a lot of wood out there that makes great furniture and other wood but is not used or mentioned generally because the wood is not normally available commercially. AND there are also many woods by one name that ARE marketed commercially under the auspices of another name. So don't count that mulberry out.
And there are lots of woods that turners are discovering that have been though of as trash. Hackberry for one. Mesquite used to be only used for making barbeque, now it goes for 13-25 dollars a board foot.
If that tree has a sizeable main trunk it might be worthwhile to have it left as a single piece and check around for someone to slice it up for you. You may very well have a treasure hidden in there.
07-16-2004, 02:34 PM
I also horde wood. If I find it's useless later due to rot/cracking, then it goes to the firewood pile. After getting rid of 2 large oaks last year (Isabel uprooted them -- not on the house luckily), I'm kicking myself for having them walk. (I was not hooked into this hobby yet).
Now my neighbors think I'm nuts when I come pack with a pickup loaded with logs.
Heck, I scavenge the want ads for stuff like bandsaw mills "just in case" :)
07-16-2004, 02:37 PM
The wood is worth keeping anytime you can have a use for it. Sometimes it might not be practical though. It might not be cost effective to have a sawmiller come in for one tree.
Processing needs to be considered, and what the final sizes need to be that you can make use of. It's easier to process smaller pieces if you are doin it yourself(which is probably worth it just on what you'll learn in the process)
What is the DBH(diameter at breast height) and how long of a log to the first branch(from where you cut it)? I can give you an idea of bd ftge with those two numbers.
07-16-2004, 02:43 PM
Not just you my friend...I am a bit lucky that our classified ads are available for online search so every now and then I search for my favorite key words like; lathe, chuck, bandsaw, chainsaw, etc. :D I got lucky once and got my Shopsmith bandsaw for $150.00 very nice condition too.
I don't have a pick up...but my car (sedan) have been very cooperative and never complains even if I load it up with 5 pcs of 100+ pounds each mesquite logs :D.
Sigh...things we do for this hobby.
"Innovate or Stagnate"
"I count my blessings a lot more than my mis-fortunes."
07-16-2004, 03:39 PM
Thanks everyone...things to think about.
It's not a very large tree, dave, and I'm almost certain it wouldn't be worth milling it commercialy because of it.
We're talking maybe a 18 inch trunk.
Looks to have just had an unfortunate early life and been struck by lightening.
You resawing type people faces out there...what's the optimum length that still allows resawing?
It's going to have to be cut down, and as sonny said, you can't make wood out of sawdust (unless you work at the MDF factory), so I could always ask them to leave it in, say 4 feet lengths for a one day kind of situation.
That 19 inch heavy duty grizzly band saw is on my list of (hopefully) soon to purchase tools.
It's always good to rack up reasons to buy toys, and I've got no problem with storing the wood in the basement in the meantime if it's worth doing so.
Just feels, frankly, DIRTY and wrong to burn it.
07-16-2004, 11:32 PM
They got here before me ..but to answer your question.. when the heartwoods bigger than the sap and it can fit on your lathe.
You do have a lathe don't you...you can't possible consider yourself a woodworker without a lathe you know...if you haven't experienced the vortex you just won't be able to offer advice about anything...You have to have experienced the vortex...forget about Marmite and Birds Custard, Ambrosia tinned rice, Faggots and peas, Branston Pickle and all manner of other character building foods...
You need a lathe.
THEN YOU WOULDN'T BE ASKING SUCH DUMB QUESTIONS.
07-16-2004, 11:46 PM
Oh, I uh...I like sticks.
...Made of wood.
HEY, HANG ON! HE SAID FAGGOTS!
I have every reason to believe he meant homosexuals this time and not the meatball variety like last time.