Salvaging Logs During Lot Clearing

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
I just purchased almost 2.5ac in Belews Creek, NC and plan to build a new home and garage/workshop in 3-4 yrs. The property is fully wooded and almost all hardwoods. I've not yet taken a deep dive into identifying all of the trees of interest for future wood working projects but I know I have several really nice white oaks and maples that I'd like to secure when they have to be removed lot clearing. Maybe 5 to 15 really nice trees. Just wanting to clear where I must for the septic field and house/garage as to mitigate risk of trees falling on these structures. Much of the property will remain wooded. There is a paved easement adjacent to where most of the trees will be cleared for the septic field that a future portable saw-mill could come in to mill the logs for me.

Unfortunately I feel that the growth is too dense to go ahead and drop any of the trees this winter to set aside for future milling and of course I have no way to man handle them through the woods to a location where I could store them. Felling the trees I fear will simply result in them falling into other trees and not laying down. Even if I could I do not have a good short ravine area to use a couple of white oak logs as bridge girders across it to hold all of the other logs off the ground. I'd hate to have all of this nice timber burnt or hauled off to landfill. It's far too small of an area to have timbered as I understand (typically need at least 10ac for it to be worth timbering hardwoods).

Questions
  • Do you know anyone that could come out and take just the maybe 10-20 trees of choice for milling by felling them, cut into 9-10ft lengths & moving them into a spot for future culling for mill-work ? W/o breaking the bank...
  • Do you think it's best & cheapest to maybe just work w/ builder and whoever clears & grades the lot to set aside a place for the logs and have them cut into 9-10ft lengths ? Would still need a system to store them.
  • It may be years before I'd get a portable sawyer to come out and not likely to cut all at once due cost and space to air dry them. I'd need to build some kind of system to keep the logs off the ground if I go this route. Any ideas what something like this would look like ? Simple as leveled system of cinder blocks and 4x4 posts ?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions & let me know if you need more detail
Jeremy Finison
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
It may be years before I'd get a portable sawyer to come out and not likely to cut all at once due cost and space to air dry them. I'd need to build some kind of system to keep the logs off the ground if I go this route. Any ideas what something like this would look like ? Simple as leveled system of cinder blocks and 4x4 posts ?
You should leave the trees as they are. The tree trunks will get bugs and other crud before you get around to having them sawn into lumber.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
That will be quite a challenge.

If you look at log prices, you will notice that lumber costs really resides in the milling, drying, storage and distribution. The logs are cheap.

Once you cut the logs, they need to be moved into a building so the bugs can’t get to them, then milled into boards, stickered and if you plan to air dry they need to be stored for minimum one year. Alternatively you need to find someone who is willing to dry them in a kiln.

Processing wet logs is quite an exercise due to the weight and you will need equipment to handle and mill.

Alternatively, if you are a wood turner there are great options. Cut the logs into manageable sizes and seal the ends. You can have all kinds of adventures with those pieces, from wet wood turning to live edge bowls, etc., etc.
 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
You should leave the trees as they are. The tree trunks will get bugs and other crud before you get around to having them sawn into lumber.
Is this just an issue for us in the South ? I only ask since many of the videos I see milling up logs are using logs that have been sitting out in the elements for years before being culled for sawing. Would make sense to be a regional issue since the only videos I've seen are from far North.


That will be quite a challenge.

If you look at log prices, you will notice that lumber costs really resides in the milling, drying, storage and distribution. The logs are cheap.

Once you cut the logs, they need to be moved into a building so the bugs can’t get to them, then milled into boards, stickered and if you plan to air dry they need to be stored for minimum one year. Alternatively you need to find someone who is willing to dry them in a kiln.

Processing wet logs is quite an exercise due to the weight and you will need equipment to handle and mill.

Alternatively, if you are a wood turner there are great options. Cut the logs into manageable sizes and seal the ends. You can have all kinds of adventures with those pieces, from wet wood turning to live edge bowls, etc., etc.
I was not considering all of this need to mill ASAP after cutting but did understand the heavy equipment piece, constraints of having other trees in the way and that was my main concern. I'm not a turner so it looks like these beautiful very usefull / desired trees will all go to waste then :(

Thanks for the input !
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Is this just an issue for us in the South ? I only ask since many of the videos I see milling up logs are using logs that have been sitting out in the elements for years before being culled for sawing. Would make sense to be a regional issue since the only videos I've seen are from far North.
I don't know about that as a regional difference. How do you know those northern logs had been sitting outside for years before culling?

The logs should be milled soon after cutting the trees and while the wood is fresh and green. That removes the bark and helps to prevent infestation by bugs (powder post beetles for example). Either way the wood needs to be elevated off of the ground a few feet, with good air circulation, and protection from the elements.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Is this just an issue for us in the South ? I only ask since many of the videos I see milling up logs are using logs that have been sitting out in the elements for years before being culled for sawing. Would make sense to be a regional issue since the only videos I've seen are from far North.




I was not considering all of this need to mill ASAP after cutting but did understand the heavy equipment piece, constraints of having other trees in the way and that was my main concern. I'm not a turner so it looks like these beautiful very usefull / desired trees will all go to waste then :(

Thanks for the input !
I got logs in California from a Walnut orchard the farmer was taking down. That was European Walnut around 24” in diameter.
They are more prone to bugs than American Walnut.
They were cut and immediately moved to my land. They lay outside for four weeks, before I had them cut into boards, stacked and stickered in a conditioned building to air dry. Nine months later I could hear the critters chomping inside the boards and there were powder post beetle holes all over the place. Everything got donated to someone needing firewood.

Obviously if I had those kiln dried they would have been fine.

Ask the loggers on here, but I think logs anywhere just lying outside for years wil not be useable.
 

awldune

Sam
User
Is this just an issue for us in the South ? I only ask since many of the videos I see milling up logs are using logs that have been sitting out in the elements for years before being culled for sawing. Would make sense to be a regional issue since the only videos I've seen are from far North.
You might be thinking specifically about Matt Cremona? The range of powder post beetles does not extend to Minnesota where he lives, and termites are not much of a problem there either. Interestingly, the distribution of powder post beetles sticks mostly to the coastal states:
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Jeremy, you should watch this video. Yes, it's by Matt Cremona and a good example of logs that have degraded.

 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
Thanks for the input and I've seen Matt's video and he's one I was mentioning (w/o calling him out by name) that far north (MN). I just heard from our soil scientist that the trees I wish to keep in the septic field can stay no issue ! They can work around them. So really only loosing a few nice trees instead of all of them, which makes me feel a lot better. Would be nice to be able to utilize even 2 or three of them but another logger I got word from today said not likely to find someone to deal with just a couple trees in the woods.

call SCOTT
Scott who ?

Thanks again for the thoughts !
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Thanks for the input and I've seen Matt's video and he's one I was mentioning (w/o calling him out by name) that far north (MN). I just heard from our soil scientist that the trees I wish to keep in the septic field can stay no issue ! They can work around them. So really only loosing a few nice trees instead of all of them, which makes me feel a lot better. Would be nice to be able to utilize even 2 or three of them but another logger I got word from today said not likely to find someone to deal with just a couple trees in the woods.



Scott who ?

Thanks again for the thoughts !
Just saying, no matter what any scientists say, if you have a reputable septic contractor ask him. I would not want anything with a deep root structure within 20’ from my septic field.
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
That's the biggest home made band saw mill I've evr seen! He really has it dialed in too. Matt Cremona has some awesome talents, thanks for sharing the video!
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Usually it's your county health department that determines where to put a septic tank drainage field, the soil suitability (a perk test), and what should be removed.

You still haven't built your house so the septic installation can wait until you've started building and so can the trees.
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Usually it's your county health department that determines where to put a septic tank drainage field, the soil suitability (a perk test), and what should be removed.
You can get a soil scientist to determine where and type and usually the counties will defer to them. Sometimes the county will actually require a soil scientist to make the determination of where to put it when it's a difficult lot. But I agree, I wouldn't want a tree within 20 feet of a septic field or tank. Or a house for that matter. Roots go where they want too, and will bust thru, around or under whatever is in their way. But be careful removing trees and disturbing the ground where the septic field is going. I've got a lot we couldn't bring any heavy equipment where the septic field is going, everything had to be hand cut and hauled away by hand or by ATV.
 

kelLOGg

Bob
Senior User
Look up Summey Lumber Services, LLC in Germanton, NC - not too far from you. I have no experience with them but Ted is a participant in The Forestry Forum as am I which is how I know of them. They may be a resource for you.
Bob
 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
Look up Summey Lumber Services, LLC in Germanton, NC - not too far from you. I have no experience with them but Ted is a participant in The Forestry Forum as am I which is how I know of them. They may be a resource for you.
Bob
I will do so. Many thanks for the connection !
 

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