Milling Black Walnut for the first time, and need some help.

SpacemanSpiff23

SpacemanSpiff23

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Ida blew down a few black walnut trees in a park near me and I'm going to try and get access to mill them with my chainsaw mill. The two that looked good were about 20" diameter, with a few 10"-12" branches coming off, and then a bunch of 6" branches.

I've milled Oak and Maple before, but that's all. And those were only slabs and beams. I'd like to get into woodworking, but I'm not really there yet, so I don't know what woodworkers would want out of this tree.

Right now my idea as to take 4 to 6 feet around all the crotches and slab them for coffee tables or desks or whatever. Then cut the trunk and large branches down to either 9 or 11 feet and make 1" boards.

1. Is this a good idea?
2. Should I quarter saw as much as I can? Or are wider boards more desirable?
3. Is there a grain orientation that works better for black walnut?
4. Should I try to do anything with the smaller branches? Is there value in 6" logs since a lot of it will be sap wood and center pith?
5. How tough is black walnut to mill? I've done sugar maple before, and that was pretty awful. Most of my experience has been white oak.
 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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I like your idea with the crotches.
I would not mill 1" with CSM, too much kerf waste. Find someone with a bandmill. Were these yard trees? If so, watch for blue stain that indicates embedded steel/metal/nails.
Quarter-sawn is usually more stable than flat sawn but if dried properly, flat sawn is fine. Flat-sawn gives better grain imo.
Walnut mills easily enough, not as hard as Cherry or Maple.
A 20" log probably has about 16" heartwood. I've had some kiln dried where they raise the RH to stabilize it, then dried it. The sapwood darkened nicely but was still just a little softer than the heartwood.
As for the branches, you might make natural legs out of them. Good luck!
 
Down Home Dave

Down Home Dave

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What motolife 313 says. I mill thicker. Almost always more desireable for the folks I run into. And when they do warp during drying, you can flatted to get a nice thick slab out.
I have no way of moving trees, so I often will mill pretty thick so I can "take apart" a log, then manhandle it into the truck bed. drive it to the local sawmill and have it resawn into thinner pieces.
since you have "low volume" ie: "a few trees" mill for character. not quantity. Can't make thinner slabs thicker. good luck, post pics!
 

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