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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a wild cherry tree that I will be taking down very soon. I want to have it milled but not sure of the best way to have it done. I keep seeing some say plain sawn while others say that's the worst. The tree is about 24" wide.
Also, how thick should it be? 4/4?

Thanks.
 

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pidaster,

Unless you need something specific like a project design element that requires quartersawn material to meet strength objectives; I normally grade saw cherry logs.

By 'grade sawing' I mean that you would saw boards from the best face, turning the log as needed to get the best face. Most cherry will have a beautiful grain pattern when flat sawn (rings perpendicular to the radius).

An alternative is to start with the best face and saw the log 'through and through'. That way you'll end of with a mix of flat, rift and quarter sawn grain patterns. If you have a use for thicker pieces (leg material, turning blanks), consider taking that as a slab through the center of the log and then cut out the pith.

Good luck with it, cherry is a joy to work with. :thumbsup:
 

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Sawing against the Wind
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I second Tom's advice!!! Cherry doesn't make a lot of difference in plain or qtred....IT'S all BEAUTIFUL!!! I saw for reclaim rustic uses.so I cut mostly 8/4.
We only have one request....POST Pictures before and after!!!
 

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As an end user, the thicker the better.
You can always re-saw to a thinner thickness. You can't add to the thickness when cut.
Also it would dry straighter when thicker.

(Just my opinion)
 

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I would saw it 4/4 through and through, taking one 8/4 slab centered on the pith. That will let you get two 8/4 QS planks after removing the pith.

When you sticker it for drying, place as much weight on top of the stack as you can to help keep it flat.

My personal preference is also to saw the boards 8" wide as that is the width of my jointer. While everyone gets excited over wide boards, they are harder to dry flat as they tend to cup. If kept in sequence when sawn, they can always be edge-glued for greater width, with the grain perfectly matched and the glue-line invisible.
 

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True that drying less wide boards is safer to avoid cupping but some of us need the wide stuff. I won't deal with narrow and need at least 20" width as a rule (hopefully with the live edge).
If sawn to 8/4, and if I get a little twisting/cupping, it leaves enough meat on the bone for a planer to straighten it out later.
 

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I sell a lot of cherry. It goes as fast as I can get it from my sawyer. I would plain saw it. Cherry does not look good 1/4 sawn. It's to plain. Two inch goes really fast. Wide boards are better. I have a guy that drive 400 miles to get all the 2" I can get. He builds tables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I only have a 12"or 13" planer so there's not much I can do with a 20" board. I don't like any of it to go to waste though. I even take the scrap cut offs of wood to use.
Here's a picture of a bottle stopper I made from a knot.


Also, should I let it air dry or have it kiln dried?
 

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Nice stopper. Cherry is one of my favorite woods. I would kiln dry it. It dries easy with little problems.
 

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How you cut the tree depends on what you'd like to use the wood for. Most people cut cherry plain sawn but quartersawn has it's uses too (although 24" is a bit on the small side for quartersawing unless you're OK with mostly narrow boards). Thicknesses are more a matter of need. If you're building tables or chairs you'll want to have some leg stock and some table top material. If you're sawing and drying the wood to sell it you'll have an easier time drying and selling 4/4 material unless you can find people who are building furniture as Woodman 58 has and they will need thicker and wider material as well.

When you take the tree down try to seal the ends of the logs right away. It's a little extra work but it will reduce end checking significantly through the whole process of sawing and drying. Once the log is sawn into boards get it on sticks as soon as possible. You can air dry or kiln dry cherry. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on who's doing the drying, what kind of kiln you're using and who's eventually using the wood.

Good luck with your project. It's always exciting bringing the logs home and opening them up. You never know what cool surprise is inside until you do. Be sure to post pictures! No pictures = It Never Happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the info as it has been helpful and even harder to make a decision. I will likely be processing the tree at the end of the month.
I'll probably only be building things like bookshelves, small tables (end tables), and maybe some type of standing cabinet. However, I like the idea of wider boards for natural edge stuff (I'm a big fan of natural edge items).
I like the idea of through and through and then I can cut it up as I need it. What about doing half the log in 4/4 and the other in 8/4?
Also, what are the disadvantages to kiln drying the cherry? Will it lose color? More likely or less likely to warp?

Once again, thanks for all the responses. This is kind of making me want to buy a mill.
 

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Cherry is kiln dried with very few defects. It does not lose color. It will get a lot darker as it ages. It turns to almost a burgundy color. Try not to use filler when building anything. It will hide right away but as the cherry darkens it shows up a lot. (From experience).
 
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