Asked on Jun 14, 2013

Salvage black walnut tree

SusanKMS WoodworksWoodbridge Environmental


We lost a BIG black walnut tree in the storm yesterday. It was planted by my grandfather and I would love to have it cut up and have furniture made from it. I am assuming that the wood would need to be kiln dried. Does anyone know of a tree company or lumber yard in the Atlanta, GA, or North Georgia area that might do this?
6 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jun 14, 2013

    You might start with someone like this, who might be able to supply you with information, or try some of the on line woodworking forums

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 15, 2013

    @KMS Woodworks is in Colorado, but he knows his wood, and may have some thoughts on this.

  • Susan
    on Jun 15, 2013

    Many thanks Donna and Douglas. I actually live very close to Kennesaw so I will start with them and also give KMS Woodworks a call.

  • You do not need to kiln dry it, just store in in a dry place and in a secure position so as it drys it does not warp. Kiln drying was designed to make wood useable faster then having to wait for it to naturally dry. Of course it may take a year or two to really properly dry out on its own, its dependent upon the size of the lumber section itself, but the slow drying process often makes he wood much better overall as it limits the checks and cracks that often result in a hardwood drying out to fast. Google lumber mills GA, to see what pops up. I did and there were dozens around Perry and both south and north GA. You would need to contact them to see if they do short runs such as this. If not I am sure they could direct you to a smaller firm that does piece work such as yours. Also if there were walnuts on the tree, you may be able to sell them to those who make walnut oil out of them. Or you can play on your own and try doing it yourself by pressing the nuts. Hard to do, but walnut oil is expensive and valuable to many people.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jun 15, 2013

    Your best bet would be to get in touch with a Sawyer. A lot of the portable sawmill manufacturers have a directory of people who can do this kind of stuff. as far as "kiln drying" this will be a bit harder to get done. Most DIY or portable saw operations will "air dry" the lumber. Kilns are expensive to run and are usually the tool of large production operations where time and money are closely linked. Air drying will work just fine but may take a while. Here in CO where it is not uncommon to see humidity levels in the single digits this works very well. A nice hybrid is to rig up a "solar kiln". Air drying will also give better color to Walnut...I like the heartwood / Sapwood contrast from this. Larger producers of walnut will often "steam" the wood to get a more uniform color in the sap wood. Rule of thumb drying times are about 1 year per inch of cut lumber. Here is a project I did a few years ago for a client...this was local air dried from a Sawyer along the front range.

  • Susan
    on Jun 20, 2013

    Many thanks for your help and ideas. I contacted Wood Mizer and got the name of a local sawyer. Before he could even come out to look, we had ANOTHER storm that took out about 10 more trees of assorted varieties. he is going to take a few of those as well as cutting up the black walnut for me. Thanks again for taking time to help me out!

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