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Thread: Question on a "Wild Cherry" tree.....

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Question on a "Wild Cherry" tree.....

    Hi there,

    Some of you may recognize this question from another forum a while back but I'll ask it here too and see what happens.

    Recently I had a 36" diameter by 80'+ high Ash cut down in my front yard. It just tore me up that I couldn't get it milled into usable lumber. (Money's tight and I didn't have the funds to pay for a mill to come out and do it) So now I've got seven big racks of some very good firewood. At least something good came out of it. But I've still got about two dozen more Ash on the property that will have to come down eventually and some of them are pretty big too. Not quite that large but still big enough to yield some decent lumber when the time comes.

    On to the Cherry trees. I've also got a couple of Black Cherry trees in back that are mature and starting to drop limbs and a lot of sticks. I don't believe that they're sick, just mature and reaching the end of their lives. They too are probably approaching 80' tall and one is about 20" diameter and the other about 24" I believe. They're both nice tall and straight trunked trees. They're probably 18-20' to the first crotch and I'm thinking that they should yield some decent lumber when the time comes. Luckily I recently met a neighbor who only lives about a block away and he's a tree trimmer. He's got the knowledge and equipment to drop these trees and get them on the ground and ready for the mill. I'm sure I can work something out with him and get a decent price so that will make it affordable to get these things milled. I've had people tell me that they're "Wild Cherry" and others say that they're "Black Cherry" and one even said that it's a "Choke Cherry". But I doubt that. I think a Choke Cherry is much smaller than these trees. I'm going to try and get a positive identification of the species of these trees.

    I guess the question is what variety if Cherry is usually used in furniture and turning work? I'm fairly certain that there is some decent value to these trees and I don't want to see them end up in the fireplace! I'll try to find out soon just which variety they are and let you know. But I see some beautiful projects coming out of these trees if they're the right species.

    Thanks for any input!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
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    I think I answered my own question already.

    Right after I made this post I found my "Michigan Trees" book. I'm SURE that these trees a Black Cherry trees. That being said, I'm sure that there is probably some decent value to these trees. Unless I find something wrong with them after being cut down (like rot or something like that) these won't end up in the fireplace!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  3. #3
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    John, no matter what happens you can make some really nice bowl blanks out of them trees

    I guess with the amount of lumber you are talking about, milling it yourself is not an option?

    I guess if you got all the logs on the ground, and cleaned up, ready to mill and had a guys come by to mill it up, it would not be so bad, but what is your expectation for the wood, are you looking to sticker it and dry it, then use it or sell it?

    Dunno anything about the trees you are talking about, here Cherry is HARD to dry and get to lumber, lots of cracks and checks, but once dry it is good wood for sure.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    Actually I thought about milling it myself but figured it may be too difficult. Maybe that's not the case though. I talked to someone from the creek last winter. He actually lives close by and he came over and looked at it. We talked about doing it. He has a Logosol Timberjack and a nice Husky saw. He does a lot of milling with it and says that it works well. The system only runs about $250. I ordered the DVD from Logosol and watched it and I think it's something I may be able to do. I've got a Husquvarna 365 that I bought last winter. I hadn't used it until a few weeks ago when I cut up that big Ash out front. Let me tell you that saw rocks! It's got scary power and a 28" bar. I think it would be up to the task of milling these Cherry trees when I get them on the ground. I might consider giving that a shot. At first from talking to a couple of people I wasn't sure of what type of wood it was and what kind of value it would have as lumber. And by "value" I don't necessarily mean just dollar value but usability of the wood and such. Now that I've figured out that it is Black Cherry I'm sure that it's a much sought after wood for projects. I think I may consider looking into buying a TimberJig and giving it a go. I think I can just sticker it and dry it in the basement. It would be nice to see something nice come from these trees as opposed to just cutting them up and burning them.

    Thanks for the input!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  5. #5
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    Black cherry is a popular furniture wood. I have some that I am going to be using very soon. Will be the first time I have used any but I hear good things about it.

    Something to think about is sometime sawers will split the wood with you instead of cutting for a fee.

  6. #6
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    I'm not an expert on that end of the food chain, but I believe Cherry is one of the woods that only lasts a short time (weeks) once it is cut down, while other trees can spend months or years horizontal before milling.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  7. #7
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    Good point. I had some I used for turning and it checked like crazy!

  8. #8
    Hi John, About 12 yrs ago I needed to take down about 6 large cherry trees and 1 large ash tree from my property.
    What I did was make sure that there were usable logs left after the branches etc were cut up. Put the logs on some two by's so that they didn't rest on the ground, then sealed the edges. I found a guy in my area that had a nice woodmizer portable bandmill. In a couple of days of milling at a charge of about $500. I ended up with I think was around 1500 bf. I stickered it all and let it air dry for a few years. Got some great material, used some of it and sold a lot of it.
    Check with Woodmizer and they can give you names of people in your area who will come to your place and mill the logs.
    take care,
    John

  9. #9
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    Just to add my $1.398 here, when the time comes by all means have those trees cut into lumber. I cut one off my property 3 years ago. Had a sawyer cut it into boards, air dryed it and now have about 200 bdft. of cherry to build things. Because these trees are not that big around, I'd do everything I could to use a sawyer that has a portable bandsaw mill. Much less wasted [sawdust] than chainsaw mill. One thing I wish I had done was have some of it cut thicker than 4/4. Try to cut some at 8/4 if possible or somewhere between 4/4 & 8/4. You can always re-saw to the thickness you want after it's dried. It will take longer to dry when cut thicker.

    Cherry is one of my favorite woods to work with and with prices that start around $5.00/bdft for 4/4 FAS I think the few hundred dollars spent on a sawyer and the time spent on setting up a means to air dry the wood is worth every penny in the long run.

    Karl
    Last edited by Karl Laustrup; 11-10-2006 at 11:22 AM.

  10. #10
    John,

    First, if you take those Cherry trees down between now and April, they will keep just fine until April if you hvae to wait that long to get them milled. I live in the Ypsilanti area and I did just that a couple years ago when I cleared some woodland to build a house (dropped in November, milled in early April).

    Second, I milled enough logs in April to yield roughly 2300bf of log run Maple, Red Oak, Hickory, Ash, Cherry and Walnut. I stacked it and air dried it from April to the following November when I was forced to get it Kiln Dried due to a powderpost beetle outbreak (mostly in the ash). I had very little serious check damage and most of that was in the oak.

    Lastly, it only cost me roughly $1000 to get roughly 40-50 8'-12' logs from 10"-28" diameter milled with a portable band mill (actually 2 for 1 day and 1 for a half day). If you are only concerned with milling the cherry, I would venture to guess you can get it milled with a bandmill (there are several easily hireable in SE MI) for what you will spend on the chainsaw mill set-up and get more lumber out of the deal for a LOT less work.

    However, you biggest issue will be getting the wood dried. Even if you are just going to air dry it (which you should be able to get away with on the Cherry but I would not advise with the Ash), you need to make sure you have a good, stable, LEVEL bed for drying, a good cover to the stack to keep off direct rain and sunlight, and lots of something to put on top of the stack to weight it down to prevent warping.

    Oh, and in case no one has said it, before you cut down anything, get some anchorseal or it's equivalent and apply to all log cut ends ASAP after cutting. You could maybe get by with some other things but I would advise you would be penny wise and pound foolish to do that with cherry.

    FWIW, you can probably cut down the ash, seal it and have it set for months before milling without significant loss as long as it's up off the ground 8-16 inches and you re-seal every few months if milling cost is the issue.

    Chip Charnley

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