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post #1 of 6 Old 07-01-2020, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Milling suggestions

Greetings from Alaska! I've got a big Alaska Birch with possible burl and curl that I'm looking to take down in the next year or two so I can put in a proper back deck. I found a local guy with a portable mill and a kiln slab dryer who lives nearby. However, he's not an expert and says he'd bought the mill and kiln for personal use to dabble in woodworking (river tables mostly) but apparently there's a lot of woodworkers in the area so he started renting services out.


The hobby-miller and I just weren't sure if we should do anything specific if these growths are burl. I only found a couple articles online that even touched on the subject; like if we see radial lines in the burls we should roll the tree to bring out the eyes, but that's about it so any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. I don't have anything really specific in mind for the tree, I mostly wanted to try some woodworking (hand-cut dovetails kinda stuff), I am interested in resin/epoxy and wood objects, I'd kind of like to try some turning as I bought a lathe, and maybe it'd be cool to get some slabs for a river table or cutting boards.



Here's some pictures of the tree in question, almost looks like two trees in some pics, but that was caused by damage from construction equipment before we moved in nearly 20 years ago, tree specialist said it didn't have to be taken down back then, and it healed up fine like he said it would. (Also, pardon the sticks and branches there, we just did a major tree clean up on the property so we're overflowing with burn piles - can't get them in the pit fast enough.) The second pic is a close up of the possible burls, I hear it could be a mushroom/fungus also, but it looks like super rough bark to my untrained eyes.
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Last edited by Mystri; 07-01-2020 at 07:09 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-01-2020, 10:19 AM
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You're not going to know what you've got until you open up the log.

There will probably be some interesting stuff in the crotch, to I would definitely preserve that.

Can't advise as to whether they are even burls, but if they are, they are kind of small, so I don't know how useful it will be.

Robert
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-01-2020, 04:15 PM
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Its hard to tell from the photo but it doesn't look like a huge tree, should be right up the hobbyist's alley. I would just flat saw the whole thing 1/4 thicker than what you think you'll want and then sticker and stack, maybe cut a slab or two through the pith. As far as turning blanks, save as many as you might want, but if those are burls they don't look big enough to worry about making plans around them. And be sure to seal your ends, especially of the turning blanks. Seeing as its a yard tree be sure to use a metal detector, but the sawyer ought to know that, if he's like the rest of us he learned it the hard way lol.

Nathan
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-02-2020, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Ah so it's a surprise game! That'll be fun.



I had to search the internet on "pith," thus fulfilling my life goal of learning something new every day HA


I mostly wanted the burls to do resin art like sculpture and jewelry, but I guess they're super special so I didn't want to mess them up if someone else could do "more" with them than I could.

I thought I could do some 12" or shorter vases with the branches up past the main crotch.

I was thinking the crotch might cut some nice slabs for a river table, (I'd kinda like to do a 5 foot long countertop river for my guest bath vanity.)



I'm excited to see what the tree is willing to give me! I'll have to update what I get out of it when it eventually comes down.


One quick question; I hear you wanna store the slabs and stuff for a year or two, is that even if you kiln dry it? If so I'll have to carve out a storage area somewhere for my slabs heh
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-02-2020, 09:03 AM
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Many people air dry for a year before kiln drying, but in Alaska things may take longer considering your annual average temperatures are much lower than the rest of the country. Some people stack green wood in a kiln, but I suppose it comes down to how experienced the kiln operator is, because wood can dry too fast and that's a problem.

Nathan
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-04-2020, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Water View Post
Many people air dry for a year before kiln drying, but in Alaska things may take longer considering your annual average temperatures are much lower than the rest of the country. Some people stack green wood in a kiln, but I suppose it comes down to how experienced the kiln operator is, because wood can dry too fast and that's a problem.

Oh I never would have thought of that, thank you. I'll plan to let it rest in the shop for a year or so before sending it to the kiln!
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