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  1. #1
    Expert firehawk's Avatar
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    Best time to cut trees for lumber

    My wife's grandfather (may he rest in peace) told me several years ago when the best time was to cut trees down for lumber. Seems I remember it was in winter with no moon. Anyone here heard that, or am I not remembering correctly?

    Reason I ask is a friend is wanting to cut several walnut trees and use the wood to make cabinets, trim, etc...

    I had several true 2x4's in walnut given to me by the wife's grandfather and they all had holes in them, powder post beetles I think he told me, and admitted the 2x4's had been cut at the wrong time.

  2. #2
    Marksman 1911 DeadHead's Avatar
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    You got me. I always thought the time of year would matter, not the moon.

    I guess I learned something today. Interested in seeing responses.
    "If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously."_ Jerry Garcia

  3. #3
    INGOer #483 Indy_Guy_77's Avatar
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    The lumber MIGHT dry out the fastest if it's felled in Jan / early Feb...before the sap begins to flow back into the tree as it prepares for the spring bloom.

    But since it'll still need cured, I don't think it really matters when a tree is felled.

    -J-

  4. #4
    Expert fullmetaljesus's Avatar
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    The moon effects the tides and such, I doubt it has any direct effect on trees.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster jeremy's Avatar
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    Huh...
    The reason I am Peaceful, is because I like Violence and Mayhem a little to much...

  6. #6
    Grandmaster 42769vette's Avatar
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    right now is a good time to fell the trees due to the sap being down in the winter.

    as far as the moon that sounds like a old wives tale to me, but im notexpert either
    "You don't have to spend a fortune to play the game, but you do have to spend your money wisely"

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  7. #7
    Expert firehawk's Avatar
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    Here's a couple of links to info about cutting timber by the phase of the moon. Don't be so quick to discount the advise of the "older generations". I thought I remembered correct as far as what he told me.

    | Planting with Moon Cycles | Moon, Trees, Cutting, Lumber, Plants*-*Nicoya Zoom

    Moon Phase Harvesting of Timber

  8. #8
    Sharpshooter AGarbers's Avatar
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    I make log furniture as a hobby and have been to the school of hard knocks on this topic.
    If you plan on putting the lumber in a kiln, it doesn't matter.
    If you plan on air-drying the wood, the two best times are in late summer and about right now.
    Late summer is good because we usually are hot and dry. The trees are doing everything they can to keep their leaves and the asperation (sp?) really sucks the moisture out of the wood.
    About mid-winter is the traditional time to cut wood and is considered by some to be the true meaning of seasoned wood. Not that the wood has sat for a season, but that it was cut in the proper season.
    Once cut the wood needs to go somewhere where it is warm and dry. Do not leave it out in the elements!
    Wood has an extremely high moisture content so it is best to have a moisture meter to keep track of the MC or moisture content. Many woods here in Indiana start out at about 70-90% MC and you goal is to get it down to about 7% MC. Watch out becasue many of the cheaper moisture meters don't go higher than 35% so it seems like you're not getting anywhere as it dries.
    Air drying takes forever. Figure about one year for every inch of thickness. The problem is every beetle and fungus likes moist wood, so the faster you can dry it, the better, which is why a kiln is good.
    You are shooting for a MC of about 19% to stop fungus.
    (As a note, some fungus is desirable. Spaulting (sp?) is highly sought after.)
    Most beetles, like ambrosia beetles, die as the MC drops because they rely on the moisture in the wood to survive. The exception is the powder-post beetle that you mentioned. They like dry wood. The only thing that kills powder post beetles is prolonged heat at 135 degrees F higher, or chemicals like Bora-care. PP beetles are bad in that they can have a life cycle of several years so you can make something thinking there's not a problem and a few years later there's little piles of saw dust around your wonderful furniture where they have bored out. It is ironic that antique lovers desire the tiny bore holes to give old antiques character, never imagining they are bringing the little varmints into their homes.
    You can build an easy and cheap kiln. I made one from four sheets of the 1 1/2" think urethane insulation sheets and an old de-humidifier. I made a frame of 2x4s to hold my lumber and to mount the insulation to, parked it over a floor drain in my garage, stuck the de-humidifier inside and let it run for about four weeks. Be sure to keep your lumber weighted down to minimize warping. You can also coat the end grain with thick paint to keep it from drying too fast and splitting. (Warping and splitting is still going to occur.)
    Do not use the wood until it is dry and stable, which is about 7% MC or less. There is nothing more heart-wrenching than starting to build something only to have to wood continue to dry and warp and twist into something totally unusable. Or worse, start to mold and rot under the finish! (Man, do I have horror stories about using wood too soon!)
    I highly recommend you invest in the book, Understanding Wood.
    Good Luck!

  9. #9
    Expert firehawk's Avatar
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    AGarbers, thanks for your input on this.

  10. #10
    Sharpshooter AGarbers's Avatar
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    For a wealth of information on this topic check out Woodworking Information at WOODWEB

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