Question on American Chestnut - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 52 Old 12-05-2019, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question on American Chestnut

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Doing some research on chestnut wood I came across this forum , hoping to learn some more about wood and wood working .

As the title states I have some questions about chestnut and I'm hoping some of you can answer them or point me in the right direction . I will start off by stating I have acquired a descent amount of non wormy chestnut from a old stone home I purchased and I'm trying to find out the value of it . I've seen pricing all over the place but its mostly for what appears to be lower grade wood than what I have . Is there a guy or place which is known to be the authority on American Chestnut wood ? Not sure what I want to do with the wood at this point , I'm trying to figure out exactly what I have and its not been easy . Any and all help will be highly appreciated

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-05-2019 at 11:54 PM. Reason: merged two posts
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post #2 of 52 Old 12-06-2019, 12:07 AM
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Show us some pics, if you can. Old growth wood has much tighter growth rings and is much better wood, IMO. Depending on its age, it might be too brittle. Things to think about.

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post #3 of 52 Old 12-06-2019, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dark_Lightning View Post
Show us some pics, if you can. Old growth wood has much tighter growth rings and is much better wood, IMO. Depending on its age, it might be too brittle. Things to think about.



Nothing brittle here , the wood I have a solid and heavy as heck , no holes in 90% of it which is from the original house then a bit of wood off an addition which was added later . I will get some pictures up in a few .

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post #4 of 52 Old 12-06-2019, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Here is one picture of some of the wood just for an idea , tomorrow I will take some close up shoots . Most of these in the picture are 2 x 8's which are just over 17 feet long . Picture was taken when we staged them before taking them into the basement which is where they all sit now
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post #5 of 52 Old 12-06-2019, 03:13 PM
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Lucky dog! Decent pieces of chestnut could bring a fair price. It's probably old growth, with nice tight growth rings. See if you can get some shots of the end grain so we have something to admire!

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post #6 of 52 Old 12-07-2019, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Is this tight growth rings ? The holes are nails holes as you’ve probably guessed , and that’s the end of one showing an original cut .
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post #7 of 52 Old 12-07-2019, 10:10 PM
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Your Chestnut will not be worth anything if you leave it where it now.
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post #8 of 52 Old 12-07-2019, 10:51 PM
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Is this tight growth rings ? The holes are nails holes as youve probably guessed , and thats the end of one showing an original cut .
I don't have any scale to tell. Can you compare it to something like a new Doug Fir stud? It does appear to be fairly small in the width of the growth rings. If you compare it to new studs (for instance), the difference will be obvious.

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post #9 of 52 Old 12-08-2019, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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The wood in the pile was there only because we were staging it by size , soon after taking that picture it was taken into our basement where it’s been for the last 5 months .

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post #10 of 52 Old 12-09-2019, 09:19 PM
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What you have is likely pre blight chestnut, before the fungus destroyed all the trees. I have been fortunate enough to come across some early chestnut lumber over the years including from old barns and furniture that was in disrepair. I made some beautiful flag cases for veterans and first responders with the wood which are given free to their families.

Do something special with it, maybe build a family heirloom piece of furniture. Don't get too caught up on the price as long as it is put to good use and not wasted. $15 - $18 bdf is a fair price for the good stuff.

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post #11 of 52 Old 12-14-2019, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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What you have is likely pre blight chestnut, before the fungus destroyed all the trees. I have been fortunate enough to come across some early chestnut lumber over the years including from old barns and furniture that was in disrepair. I made some beautiful flag cases for veterans and first responders with the wood which are given free to their families.

Do something special with it, maybe build a family heirloom piece of furniture. Don't get too caught up on the price as long as it is put to good use and not wasted. $15 - $18 bdf is a fair price for the good stuff.



Thanks for the reply . I've been told by two local men that claim to be "from a line of wood workers" that I do have pre-blight but the information on the net is not enough for me to set a price on it . I do not plan to sell all of it , my plan with some is to do exactly what you suggest which is to make a nice piece . The problem I have ( if you want to call it a problem ) is that I do not only have enough for a nice piece of furniture I have enough for a whole furniture store , if I sold half I will still have way too much for all the projects I could ever want to do . My basement if full and not that we got our things out of storage its become a problem . I'm hoping to get more info from more folks like yourself so I can move forward with a solid idea of what I'm doing .

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post #12 of 52 Old 12-14-2019, 10:25 PM
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I guess that you could call that an embarrassment of riches. I'd love to have some of it, but shipping to California would take all the shine off the purchase, even if you wanted to do so.

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post #13 of 52 Old 12-14-2019, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any scale to tell. Can you compare it to something like a new Doug Fir stud? It does appear to be fairly small in the width of the growth rings. If you compare it to new studs (for instance), the difference will be obvious.



From what I can tell the rings are small and tight , I'm a metal fabricator and my working knowledge of wood is very limited . Ive had in my hands what every calls wormy chestnut , that wood feels like pine when you pick it up in weight and you can clearly see why the name wormy. On the other hand the wood I have feels like oak in weight and how solid it feels , and weighs a little more to me . Thanks for your reply , any and all help is greatly appreciated . As I stated before I have way too much of it and I'm trying to learn as much as I can so when the time comes to sell some I can come to a solid well thought out price .

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post #14 of 52 Old 12-14-2019, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dark_Lightning View Post
I guess that you could call that an embarrassment of riches. I'd love to have some of it, but shipping to California would take all the shine off the purchase, even if you wanted to do so.

what I have is a complete roof system ( 2x8x18 rafters , roof planks anything from 1x6x2 (x12 ) , 1x8's 1x10's ) some of the interior wall 2x4's its way too much . I think I have 60 rafters @ 2x8x18 and a few hundred of the planks . The great grandson of the builder ( which he still lives here ) was the one which told me it was chestnut , I thought it was oak but I wasnt even sure of that . I plan to build a big dinning room table , and some other pieces as pieces but that will have little impact on what we have . I also will not just sell it off to some jackass that will waste it , this wood looks like it was cut a few months ago - when you cut it gives off a great scent still .

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post #15 of 52 Old 12-14-2019, 10:52 PM
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What is throwing me off is your chestnut is really heavy. The chestnut I have and had in the past was really light weight, but then it was dry as a chip and very old. It sure did make a good turkey call, and other things. lol

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post #16 of 52 Old 12-15-2019, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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What is throwing me off is your chestnut is really heavy. The chestnut I have and had in the past was really light weight, but then it was dry as a chip and very old. It sure did make a good turkey call, and other things. lol



Thats the chestnut that most are accustom to , thus why I'm here asking questions . What I have theres zero doubt in my mind its 100% chestnut , that I've been able to conclude without second guessing myself . I took a piece of it to a local pastor that makes a living running his own private mill , and his eyes lit up when he saw it - he looked right at me and said "I was sure you may had been twisting the truth a bit because you just don't see this everyday ". Two weeks later a guy I had talked to gives my number to another guy and after he sees it he says more or less the same . Not only is the wood heavy its also extremely hard to nail or screw into it , nails bend and a 3" screw makes it about half way in and snaps . The 18 foot long 2x8's after noticeably heavier than the 2x8x20's yellow pines I replaced them with and thats before any cuts are made into the new wood . When you hit a plank with a hammer it sounds solid like an oak or something along those lines .

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post #17 of 52 Old 12-18-2019, 02:10 AM
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So where are you located? I would think that your location may add or subtract the value of the wood.
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post #18 of 52 Old 12-18-2019, 10:39 AM
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Here are the specs for chestnut vs Red and White Oak.

https://www.wood-database.com/american-chestnut/

https://www.wood-database.com/red-oak/


https://www.wood-database.com/white-oak/

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post #19 of 52 Old 12-22-2019, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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So where are you located? I would think that your location may add or subtract the value of the wood.

I'm located in the of Asheville NC , lots of trendy folks around here using these sort of woods for projects .

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post #20 of 52 Old 12-22-2019, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I've seen those before , I'm beginning to wonder if some of this wood is petrified in some crazy way - I only say that because a good bit of it is just unreasonably hard and heavy according to charts like you posted . I've been to several shops around my area which sell wormy chestnut I'm yet to come across any like mine , and thats the reason why I posted here because I'm looking to learn more and the internet has info but not much and sometimes not easy to find .
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