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Hi, first time posting on this forum. My brother-in-law and I recently started building furniture and we are really starting to get into it and we would like to try our hand at milling our own lumber. We have a few cherry logs and a couple walnut logs that we are hoping to use. The plan is to run the logs through my uncle's bandsaw mill and then air dry the wood in a barn with plenty of air flow. I'm wondering if there are any tips/tricks we should use to make sure we get the best quality board? Anything we should be doing for log prep? We have one log that has been cut and sitting for a few months, we were told this is bad for the wood. Is that true? The other logs will be fresh cut when we mill. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Welcome bb3, :thumbsup:

End coat your logs, preferably as soon as you cut them, with something like Anchorseal or similar product. It wouldn't hurt to end coat the logs you already have down too. :yes:

In my experience, walnut is pretty forgiving and even though it may have been down for some time you can get some nice boards. With cherry, the sooner you mill it the better but here in Kansas cherry tends to be touchy no matter what you do. :sad:
 

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thanks for the advice! I will be sure to get some Anchorseal on the already cut logs ASAP! What will happen to the cherry if it is not milled right away?
 

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thanks for the advice! I will be sure to get some Anchorseal on the already cut logs ASAP! What will happen to the cherry if it is not milled right away?
i think it doesnt look good after u let it lay. im just goin on what ive read and heard around the net. i could be wrong. also someone please correct me if im wront but doesnt cherry have issues with sticker stain?
 

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bb3,

Most of what I mill is walnut, about 65% of last year's production, but when I do saw cherry I have found that most logs above 18" diameter have had heart rot and logs down for more than a year usually have punky areas and/or carpenter ants. :sad:

If it will be some time before you mill them then coat the ends and get them off of the ground. You could stack them on railroad ties or old line poles. Just make sure that the bark is not in contact with the ground, that air can circulate under them and hope for the best. :thumbsup:
 

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Thanks for all the useful advice! We will get the log up off the ground and coated tonight! Hopefully the log isn't damaged as the ground is just now starting to un-thaw around here!
 

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After you get these logs sawed.. Take time to set 4 x 4 's absolutely level to prevent warp & twist. Cut some "stickers" out of the same material as you are sawing and stacking. Keep them narrow ( 1" or less in width) because moisture trapped between the sticker and the lumber will try to produce mold or discoloration. Do not use oak (tannic acid) or soft wood (pine, spruce, etc) as it will cause some "sticker shadow" after the time needed to properly dry the stack. Expect to wait around 3 years to reach natural dried equilibrium. Find a moisture meter to borrow, since you aren't in competition with a regular mill, one might help you through this. I have also found that finish drying in a kiln (soft wood) generally aids setting any pitch in the lumber and only requires a few days to finish out. Be sure to weight the top of the stack to minimize twist and warp that will occur in the drying operation. Expect to occasionally rotate the stack. (top to bottom and flip each board) The exposed surfaces will darken from drying, but planing will remove most of the discoloration. Coating the log ends per the previous poster, will prevent stresses caused by rapid end drying (shrinkage) while the center of the boards has to evolve the moisture across the cell walls instead of wicking out to the ends. Think of the board as a bundle of straws. Water can easily move through the straw, but only slowly through the straw wall. If possible, when you start your project, bring the lumber into your shop and let it "acclimate" to the shop humidity and temperature for at least several days if not a week. Leaving your logs sitting in the sun or heat for long periods will also cause end cracking due to drying out the end of the log and shrinking, while the inner parts stay moist and swollen. Stress cracks the log.
 

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It all depends on what style of furniture you build as to what/how the lumber should look after sawing....I like rustic..I let the logs lay around (ends coated with Anchorseal) and get aged prior to sawing. I saw for character as these pics show.

For fine furniture, saw logs ASAP for the least lumber degrading. Next is to qtr saw or flat saw....that's a personal opinion that's been the start of many arguments here and it only is revelant to what grain pattern you like.
The main thing is...always center the heart/pithe prior to sawing for the best lumber quality.

Stacking and ADing....TAKE the time to stack level and true.....I prefer dried white stickers (spruce/fir).

Have fun sawing and have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love,
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the helpful replies! We are trying to do mostly furniture type woodworking so we will get the logs milled up as soon as we can. After doing a little more research we also plan to flat saw the logs and take our time stacking and weight down our stack to counteract any warping.
 

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+1 on every tip in this thread. I had a 4 cherry logs that laid for almost a year. I cut 6-7" off both ends and got some beautiful boards out of one the others made it to the firewood pile. Anyway the one thing I haven't heard mentioned is case hardening. Some logs when they sit for awhile get extremely hard on the ends causing deflection when the blade starts into the log. So that's another reason to mill ASAP or cut some off the ends. I ruined a red oak when I was starting out because of such deflection. Also one other thing is anchor seal is pretty pricey. Latex paint will work also. Good luck.
 
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