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Hello members, Happy New Year!
I recently had to remove some of the Black Walnut trees from my property. I had them sent to the local mill to be cut for home furnishings and alike.
We have not decided on any specific plans yet because we have time on our side. We intend to let the wood dry naturally for a year or two.
I'm having trouble deciding what dimensions will be most useful for such projects. Any Suggestions?
Frank..........Personally, I would have them cut as wide as possible in the standard way they are cut off the log and maybe even cut in flitches. Then stack the boards on a good even floor with stickers no further than 12" apart. Than make sure air can flow thru the stack and keep them dry. I would also lay a lot of weight on the top to keep the top boards from warping. Then it's a waiting game. Also, purchase a good moisture meter.........about $100.00
I'm afraid your question is tough to answer because you didn't provide us with the size of trees. I mean, if they're two inches in diameter then you're pretty well locked in.
However, if they're 8" or so through the black, meaning not including the sapwood, then I would suggest:
75% - 5/4
10% - 12/4
10% - 8/4
5% - quartersawn - quartersawn is usually wasted on walnut but sometimes it comes in handy.
Twisted Knot Woodshop "There's never been a classier joint"
I go along with Mondak. Flitch cutting might be your best option, if the mill can do it with the size logs you have. It will give you the most flexibility in the end product,and allows you to bookmatch pieces, if you keep the flitches together. I basically reassemble the log to dry, as in this photo of cedar flitches.
As alternative to weights, you can wrap several straps around the pile to keep it from warping. Every week or so, check the straps for tightness-- they'll loosen as the wood shrinks. 12" between stickers is about right. You might be able to get some from the sawmill.
I'm sure Frank has already gotten his logs milled but this is a question that I always am asked when I custom mill a log. If you are building furniture such as tables and chairs the cut list will be different than if you are wanting boards for stock. For an impressive grained wood like walnut I would suggest cutting the log thru-and-thru. Cut the top third 5/4. The center third will be nearly quarter sawn so I would cut that 8/4 for chair legs. The center 4 inches of the log will contain the pith which will give you problems in wood density and drying. If the mill can handle the width and you can handle the weight the center should be cut 3-4 inches thick for table legs. The bottom third of the log should also be cut 5/4. 5/4 green wood will yield 3/4 to 7/8 stock after planing out the drying defects. Cutting 4/4 green wood to yield 3/4 stock is an iffy proposition unless the material is quarter sawn. Hardwoods will loose 1/16 in drying which leaves only 3/16 to plane out the saw marks, warp, twist, and check. The thicker pieces will take longer to dry but will not move as much. If you can dry the thicker slabs in air conditioned space they will dry quicker than air drying outdoors or in a shed. Walnut must absolutely be kept dry at all times as the color will leach out.