Best way to deal with a fresh walnut log.

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Ironoxide

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I managed to get a dirt cheap log of plain European walnut locally. It has been harvested a year ago and it sat behind a shed in shade for a year. I know it needs lots of drying, but I'm not sure on the best procedure to follow.

Should I paint the ends and leave the entire log for many years, or have it sawed now, then paint end grain of the boards and season/dry resulting planks?

Ideally I would like to make at least one rifle stock and some smaller items from it. I'm not pressed with regards to time.
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Loyalist Dave

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Get it barked and sawn into billets.

May help you spot if there is insect damage and thus discover if it's nullified for long stock work. You might find, however if it isn't good for the long pieces needed for a full length flintlock stock, that the useable pieces are good for somebody's wood project, and then convert the billets into cash, and then get the stock that you want.

After they are billets, paint the ends to reduce or eliminate cracking, and store them where they will dry.
I think you may be looking at 2025 before you start to use the wood.


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rchas

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Have it sawn into 2 1/2- 3 inch thick flitches. the ends of the log may be split/checked beyond use, you will know when it is sawn. If so, cut the ends of the flitches off a little past the checking, and immediately seal the end grain. Stack the flitches with 3/4 x 3/4 "stickers" every foot or so down the length to maintain straightness and provide air flow. If outside, keep them high off the ground and covered. I would let them air dry at least 3 years
 

Ironoxide

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Thanks. Regarding sawing. I read one is supposed to quarter saw for gun stocks. However it is not a very thick piece (about 15 in diameter). Do you think sawing one straight sawn middle plank 3 inch thick would be a better use of it? The rest could be used for non gun related woodworking projects (or sold)?

I realise it'll be good few years before it can be used. That's fine by me.
 

excess650

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Quarter sawn is desireable for modern guns because it (usually) has the same figure on each side. Longrifles stocks are stronger through the wrist with flat sawn wood. A 15" log seems small to me, and the center is best avoided for gunstocks.

As for sealing end grain, all crotch figure should be treated as end grain!
 

ZUG

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At 15 inches in diameter it would not be feasible to try to quarter saw it just slab saw it into 2-3/4" to 3.0" planks. You will loose about 1/8" thickness from the drying process which is about 1 year of drying time per inch thickness of plank. Sticker the planks as noted in some of the above replies.

Your log has been on the ground for a long time it should have been slabbed into planks not long after if was felled -- look at the end checking it looks like it goes deep and you will loose much of the ends. Most likely it does not have much if any figure and may be best for small wood working projects. The only way to know is to cut it up :ghostly:
 

excess650

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At 15 inches in diameter it would not be feasible to try to quarter saw it just slab saw it into 2-3/4" to 3.0" planks. You will loose about 1/8" thickness from the drying process which is about 1 year of drying time per inch thickness of plank. Sticker the planks as noted in some of the above replies.

Your log has been on the ground for a long time it should have been slabbed into planks not long after if was felled -- look at the end checking it looks like it goes deep and you will loose much of the ends. Most likely it does not have much if any figure and may be best for small wood working projects. The only way to know is to cut it up :ghostly:
There are visible checks in the end of the log, but checks often open almost as soon as the log is cut. The only way to know how deep the checks are and what the grain looks like, is to slab it.

I've cut crotch sections of trees expecting to see nice crotch figure, but only found deep bark inclusions.
 

Ironoxide

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15 inches diameter is definitely not large, but straight sawing from the start almost sorts it for non gun-stock related projects straight away IMO :-(

I'm not sure that quarter sawn, or at least radial grain, is desirable for modern guns only. My 170 year old English shotgun (walnut) as well as a military rifle of similar vintage (Liege made Kammerlader) both show straight flat grain (other than at the very back). Also few books like "Recreating the American longrifle", "Recreating the British muzzleloading shotgun" talk about it in a very convincing manner.

When I mentioned the 3 inch plank cut from the very middle I meant it as means of hopefully obtaining two useful pieces of wood with radial/flat grain on both sides of the center. The rest of the wood then would go to different projects.

I'll have to draw both the above and quarter sawing option on a piece of paper and see if quarter sawing could result in maybe one useful piece per quarter.

My expectations for it are below. One can dream right? (at least until it is sawn). Also tomorrow I'm hopefully picking up the root from the same tree.

The log is 15 inches at one end, 11ft long and 10in diameter at the other. It has 2 thick branches growing out of it. First branch at 3ft,the other at 6ft. It looks pretty even thickness for first 6ft and the rest thins out gradually. I also have a short piece the original owner cut from the bottom that is 2ft long, 15in on one end and looks like at least 22in on the other. This one will make nice short boards.

I hope to at least get few (longish) pistol blanks from it. Prefferably with a 45 degree bend in the grain.

I also have a project in mind I could use a 2ft, 2x4in piece (a cross between a long pistol and a very short rifle - replicating a 17 century European original I saw and I have pictures of).

At the very best there would be a Jager style rifle blank in there. Jager rifles have fairly low drop at the comb and heel and are not as long as American longrifles.

Thanks for all your suggestions so far :)
 

bud in pa

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You could hurry the drying process by finding someone with a lumber kiln. I happened to see one while going to the doc here in PA.
 

pamtnman

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I managed to get a dirt cheap log of plain European walnut locally. It has been harvested a year ago and it sat behind a shed in shade for a year. I know it needs lots of drying, but I'm not sure on the best procedure to follow.

Should I paint the ends and leave the entire log for many years, or have it sawed now, then paint end grain of the boards and season/dry resulting planks?

Ideally I would like to make at least one rifle stock and some smaller items from it. I'm not pressed with regards to time.
View attachment 87023
Walnut of any species is in huge demand right now. A pile of black walnut logs by my sawmill would be pallet fodder if any other species, but the value is so high that whatever we saw is bought up. Walnut is a very rot resistant tree. If it has sat for a year, then it is probably ok. Probably lost some sap wood along the ground contact, but that’s ok. Best thing to do is slab it. Choose its two best /clearest sides and rotate them to the outside edges. Then saw an 8” wide leveling cut on the top, flip it over and do another 8” wide cut. Then measure the log’s thickness on the mill deck. If you can get three inch thick slabs, that is best. Your best, clearest wood should be the first slab you take below each 8” opening cut. Depending on the thickness of your log, it may produce 4 three-inch thick slabs plus some one-inch thick boards. Don’t waste any!
 

pamtnman

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You could hurry the drying process by finding someone with a lumber kiln. I happened to see one while going to the doc here in PA.
Please do not “hurry the drying process.” This is exactly why so much high value hardwood lumber is lost. Whatever slabs and boards are cut from this log, put them up on stickers spaced every twelve inches, and have a sticker at each end of each slab/board. Those stickers at the very end will greatly diminish end cracking. Put your lumber in a dark place, preferably out of the sun, wind, rain and snow. A barn, a shed, a garage. Let it all sit for at least a year if not three. Then and only then will it be ready for a proper kiln dry. A proper kiln dry will be this wood only. No other wood included in the charge. I have seen beautiful hardwood lumber destroyed by being steamed while in a kiln with softwoods. Tell the kiln guy to start at 90 degrees F for three days, then move up five degrees every three days to 130 degrees and hold there for at least a week or two. If it is pushed too hard too fast, it will pull itself apart and leave you sorely disappointed. “Hurry” is not a word associated with cutting wood, drying wood, or carving wood. Take your time and do this right, or sell the log and get a slab for yourself out of it.
 

MSW

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i'm inclined to agree with cutting now ... plenty of paraffin and sticker in a dry spot, well off the ground, with weight on top ... i would cut 14 quarter to be on the safe side, but that's one guy's free advice and doubtless well worth the price ...

good luck with your project!
 

pamtnman

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After sitting a year, the log’s ends are a foregone conclusion. One benefit of sawing a drying log is the lumbar will move a lot less than green.
 

deerstalkert

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I milled a walnut in Oregon, 40 odd years ago and sold the lumber then for 6k. and that was green.
a word of caution. don't get in a hurry to dry it if you do mill it. the guy i sold the walnut to had a friend who had a friend with a lumber Kiln. they ended up with 6k worth of watermellon rinds.
i still have one or two blanks i highgraded from that tree.
 

pamtnman

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Probably clar
I milled a walnut in Oregon, 40 odd years ago and sold the lumber then for 6k. and that was green.
a word of caution. don't get in a hurry to dry it if you do mill it. the guy i sold the walnut to had a friend who had a friend with a lumber Kiln. they ended up with 6k worth of watermellon rinds.
i still have one or two blanks i highgraded from that tree.
Probably claro, if it was in southern Oregon. The west coast has some beautiful walnut hybrids.
 

pamtnman

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Salem, and yes it was Claro. i could have cried when that fool curled it all in his 2 day kiln.
That $6,000 of claro back then is today worth $30,000+. Maybe more. I don’t see a lot of it any more. That guy lost a national treasure. Guys pushing crotch feather black walnut too hard is the usual story here in PA. Stuff has to just sit for years
 

deerstalkert

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I milled that tree in 1978. those blanks i have been carting around half my life should be cured by now. time to build a half stock! or two! :D
now i just need to remember where i put them.

only thing i would to your excellent post above is if the kiln operator doesn't have a moisture meter, buy him one!
but then a good kiln operator would have one. time to stop rambling. i was born to a sawmill owner and sold my last a year ago. makes my lumber hard talking about wood.
 
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pamtnman

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I milled that tree in 1978. those blanks i have been carting around half my life should be cured by now. time to build a half stock! or two! :D
now i just need to remember where i put them.

only thing i would to your excellent post above is if the kiln operator doesn't have a moisture meter, buy him one!
but then a good kiln operator would have one. time to stop rambling. i was born to a sawmill owner and sold my last a year ago. makes my lumber hard talking about wood.
😏
 

fire bear

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Once upon a time I knew a lot more about drying wood than I do now and I agree that the safest way to dry a small batch of any wood species will be by properly air drying but there is nothing wrong with kiln drying so long as the correct drying schedule is followed. A commercial kiln drying schedule is species and thickness specific fine tuned by the type, capacity, and percent loading of the drying chamber. Most softwoods have a hotter, quicker schedule than most hardwoods. Hobbyist solar kilns (lots of plans out there) without additional heat can be more forgiving to mixed loads because they have a moisture equalization period "when the sun don't shine". I've even known a few people that got pretty good at drying lumber by stickering it in an empty bedroom and using a room dehumidifier. The purpose of this rambling is to say there are a lot of ways to successfully dry lumber if you know what you are doing; if you don't you could even mess it up trying to air dry it.
 
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