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Thread: Walnut in todays sawmills

  1. #1
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    Walnut in todays sawmills

    welli have a question i would like cleared up, and it could be helpful to others as well.. first thing is i am quite closse to a sawmill, and the recent deliverys of walnuts have been pretty small latyl alot are onle 12 to 14 inches that doesnt leave muche heart wood, so the question is i have heard that steaming will change the sap wood to a warm chaocalte color???? if that is the case then i can see why they are cutiin such small trees but if it doesnt then why cut them?? i recently cout one that was 16inches and it wont give me much heartwood but i needed the tree down so i am making the best of it.. so if anyone has the answer i am gratefulll happy easter to all who see's this its time for me to go eat
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  2. #2
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    Yes most commercial walnut is steamed to give it a more uniform colour. The sapwood turns brown but the heartwood fades somewhat. As the wood is going to be steamed anyway it doesn't make a big difference if it's heartwood or sapwood, it can still be sold the same. This doesn't make it as good as nice air dried heartwood from a big tree, but economically it works

    Ian

  3. #3
    Well, my father planted 10,000 trees about 3 years ago, of which about 40%-50% were black walnuts. They were planted at either 4 or 6 foot intervals, due to the possibility of die-off. The trees seem to be doing well in most places where they were planted, so I will be cutting down a lot of walnuts in about 15-20 years when it's time to thin them out to let the good ones grow larger.

    While I would expect that I will probably have them milled on site, that can give you one reason why there might be quite a few smaller trees making it to the mills. Anyone who has planted stands usually has to thin out a bunch at certain times just to let the others grow.

  4. #4
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    Here is an interesting thread regarding a lot of the hardwood issues that are being felt by our wallets. It seems there are a lot of off shore companies buying the timber, milling it off shore, and selling it back to us at inflated prices. It would probably be in your best interests to find and use a local sawyer if possible!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Nelson View Post
    Here is an interesting thread regarding a lot of the hardwood issues that are being felt by our wallets. It seems there are a lot of off shore companies buying the timber, milling it off shore, and selling it back to us at inflated prices. It would probably be in your best interests to find and use a local sawyer if possible!
    Thanks Ed, Good article.
    Shaz
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  6. #6
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    Larry, steaming Walnut to turn the sapwood brown is a temperature/humidity sequence that has to be done at the beginning of the kiln drying process - it is not something that can be done later.

    Steaming is apparently near universal in the North, but here in Texas I get a very large amount of very white walnut sapwood. Since the feds say that sapwood is not a flaw, the lumber yards are delighted to deliver walnut that is largely white. Try telling that to a customer who wants a walnut colored piece of walnut furniture.

    Steaming degrades the heartwood slightly, but makes the sapwood at least usable. I would love to have all my walnut steamed.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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