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Discussion Starter #1
My parents had me remove a ~35-40 year old cherry tree in their back yard about a month ago. Rather than donate it all to the neighbors fire place, I cut out the one relatively straight section and brought it home in hopes of making something out of it. I was just going to let it "season" until I read somewhere in here to "mill" it first, so with no honey do's on the plate I went at it this morning.

This is all new to me and with pure dumb luck I hope I didn't ruin what I had but currently it's just a chainsaw and one beat up band saw I picked up as a freebie. The straight section was just over 4 ft and roughly 20 inches across. I trimmed it down by freehand with the chainsaw in order to fit it in the band saw. To say it wasn't exactly a pretty series of cuts would be an understatement but I think it worked out.

I had doubts about being able to run the piece square through the bandsaw so built a small jig/fence about 2 inches off the blade and went at it. I figured thicker was better as I could always plane it down. The final result was 6 blanks. I have some latex paint to seal the ends, other than that they are just going to air dry in the garage and I'll see what happens. With luck I end up with some usable wood that I can use to build something with sentimental value.



 

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Indeed! Nice job.
We will need pictures as time goes on.
 

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That is pretty wood, good job taking the effort to harvest it. I wish I could find more fruit trees, cherry (not black/wild cherry), apple, plum, pear, peach...are all super cool for small projects. Kinda hard to dry though. You are going to want to sticker it and really put some weight on the stack. You did good by cutting it thick, if (when) it moves drying you still will have something to work with after you dress the stock.







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Discussion Starter #6
.... Kinda hard to dry though. You are going to want to sticker it and really put some weight on the stack.....
Thanks for the feedback all. I've got them on stickers topped with a small piece of plywood and covered with about 50 lbs of scrap steel.
 

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. . . and covered with about 50 lbs of scrap steel.
You don't seem like the type that has thin skin and even if you were, we always shoot straight with each other around no matter. So I'll just let you know that 50 pounds is the same as 50 grams when it comes to attempting to minimize wood movement.

The best method I've found is steel banding. I should have made a post about this a long time ago but just haven't done it. I played with it off and on for a couple years and also with cargo ratchet straps, but steel banding is better than anything, including weight that I have tried. You do have to re-band it in a week to 10 days and it is a lot of work, but if the wood is worth drying I say it is worth drying right.

Seeing how you probably don't have a steel bander, cargo straps are next best, because you can tighten them every few days without much trouble or expense as with banding. Barring that, weight does work abd it surely does, but you need hundreds, and really thousands of pounds depending on how much wood and what species and how and where it grew etc.

Just giving you a heads up that your 50 pounds of weight is not going to make one iota of difference. But that's why you're here, to learn. That's why I am here too and I learn something new here everyday. :yes:







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Discussion Starter #8
Great feedback, no worries about thin skin here, thank you. Nope, no steel banding here but I do have plenty of heavy cargo straps. I'll make the changes and keep on top of checking them every couple of days.
 

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I would like to hear more about the banding (and/or cargo straps). Do you just wrap around the stickered stack, or set up some type of clamping arrangement?

Oh - nice haul of timber.:thumbsup: I have some drying myself for future use.
 

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The banding (and cargo straps) are pretty straight forward, but the banding is best reserved for lumber that has quite a bit of stress but has other characteristics that make you really want to salvage as much of the wood as you can. That's how I use it anyway.

When I see a log on the deck that I think is very special I'll usually boule cut it in various thicknesses depending on how big it is and what it's offering me as I cut it. If it's as special as I hoped I'll sticker it like it in order with stickers 12" - 16" apart depending on how much stress the log exhibited as it came apart.

I cut the stickers just shy of the width of the narrowest board touching it so there's no overhang at all, and band the boule together with a band directly around each sticker column. Make sure you keep the columns perfectly in line vertically.

I check the boule in a week or so depending on the time of year and as soon as a band give me a "blump" like hitting a piece of thick card board with a drumstick, instead of a short "pinggg" like a muffled piano string in a high octave then it's time to re-tighten. It can take one to three weeks before they quit singing. I do them one at a time. I reuse the bands by adding a short piece of scrap to it.

Normally I only do that once, because the next time the bands have quit singing they have taken much longer to do it and haven't shrunken quite as much as when they lost most of the free water. All I do from then onn out is shim the top of the bands and that usually tightens them up enough. I use a rubber mallet to hammer on the pile as I drive the shims in and if the boule is small enough I shake it with one hand while driving in the shims.

Cargo straps are much the same way except they are easier to just ratchet another notch or two every few days as you walk by. The disadvantage to straps is that they are made of nylon and or polyester or whatever they are, and they tend to shrink and expand with changes in RH and temperature, so you have to ratchet them every few days and when the free water really starts to leave in earnest sometimes you have to tighten them everyday for a few days. The biggest disadvantage is that they cannot resist severe stress nearly as well as the steel, so while the cargo straps can see to be doing their job by remaining tight, really what can be happening is that the force of the wood moving and bending is keeping them tight by stretching them to some extent. Ypu have to get this by experience.

Regarding weight, it is much quicker and doesn't have to be tightened. With low to medium stress lumber, provided you have enough weight on them it works great, but most guys underestimate how much weight is needed to be effective. But once you have enough weight on them, gravity does the tightening for you, automatically and constantly.


For species like Sweetgum and Pecan and other species that want to grow wings and fly from day one, forget about stacking weight on them unless you have a D-7 you can drive up on the pile. Also know that even when you have enough restraining pressure by any method, lumber with lots and lots of stress is going to get rid of it some way no matter if you're able to restrain it. It's' most likely going to show itself in the form of huge cracks, checks, and fissures as the wood fibers tear apart from each other.

Hope this wasn't to much info.




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