The Forestry Forum is sponsored in part by:




TimberKing Sawmills




Toll Free 1-800-582-0470

LogRite Tools



Forest Products Industry Insurance


Norwood Industries Inc.


Sawmill & Woodlot Magazine



Your source for Portable Sawmills, Edgers, Resaws, Sharpeners, Setters, Bandsaw Blades and Sawmill Parts

EZ Boardwalk Sawmills. More Saw For Less Money!

STIHLDealers.com sponsored by Northeast STIHL


Woodland Sawmills

Peterson Swingmills

 KASCO SharpTech WoodMaxx Blades


Turbosawmill

Sawmill Exchange

BRUTE FORCE Authorized Dealer

Woodshax Outdoor Vending Solutions

FARMA

Forestry Forum Tool Box

Author Topic: American Chestnut  (Read 1448 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TCharters76

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Idaho
  • Gender: Male
  • Yeah, i want that tree!! ....how big is it?
American Chestnut
« on: December 04, 2016, 11:30:22 am »
So, on Friday i sourced what is thought to be the only American Chestnut in Boise. I do not know why it was cut down yet. But it was removed by the city. I am picking it up tomorrow morning. I have one piece that is roughly 30" x 5' with a crotch at the top. And three logs that are roughly 18" x 12-16' long. My question is.. what to do with it. I have read that this wood is extremely rare and valuable. What would you all suggest is the best way to profit from these pieces? Slabs? Lumber? Turning blanks? Any feedback will be welcome. Thanks!!

Offline WLC

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 197
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Wasilla, AK
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 07:45:48 pm »
I'd be interested to know why it was cut down as well.  Being that Idaho is way out of the natural range for Am Chestnut it should not have had the blight.  Shame if it was a healthy tree.

I don't know what to tell you about cutting it.  To me personally "wormy" chestnut lumber is the nicest looking.  Chestnut is really a plain looking wood as far as grain structure.  I do bet the crotch wood would make for some interesting slabs.  Please, regardless of how you saw it , post some pics.  It is my favorite wood/tree.
Woodmizer LT28
Branson 4wd tractor
Stihl chainsaws
Elbow grease.

Offline Don P

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 3934
  • Location: Southwestern VA
  • Gender: Male
    • Calculator Index
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 10:18:05 pm »
Probably an unsuspecting Asian crate maker around the turn of the century.

There was a large old one beside an intersection in Rockford IL when I was building a house nearby around the turn of the latest century. 5 or 6 years later the homeowners let me know it had died, probably the same type of thing here. The UW arboretum had a couple of nice mature specimens. Both of them were out of the natural blight range but it suprises me that my truck or any of thousands of others travelling around haven't spread blight everywhere. The nearby state forest here was donated by a judge who was collecting and crossing chestnut, they have greatly expanded on what he was doing.  We do still have them sprouting from the old stumps in the woods, some get up to nut bearing age.

Someone in town probably would like a nice table or desk or cabinetry out of it... an ad in the local paper?

I should have thought of that over Thanksgiving, we should have solicited a customer up front on a tree. We were up behind the courthouse slabbing a large red oak that had died. One rumor has it that it was the hanging tree. As I looked back through time on the stump I don't think they would have hung anyone on that size tree back then... but a good story is a fine thing too.

Offline Brad_bb

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Joliet, IL
  • Gender: Male
    • My timberframe blog
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2016, 11:58:03 pm »
I've dealt with a lot of barn wood.  I'd heard that Chestnut looks a lot like oak.  So how do you tell the difference?   I asked one timberframer as I saw he had a small sample.  He said to look at the end grain.  In oak you can see the white lines radiating from the center - those are the rays you see in quarter sawn oak.  He told me Chestnut doesn't have that.  I then asked well then what is the big deal about it if it looks like flat sawn oak and has no rays if quartersawn?  He said to him it's not especially valuable, just rare.  Just cause something is rare, doesn't mean it's any prettier than QS oak...
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline Don P

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 3934
  • Location: Southwestern VA
  • Gender: Male
    • Calculator Index
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2016, 07:34:32 am »
Usually the first clue when dismantling is the weight of the piece, it is quite light if you are ready for a stick of white oak, then a ray check confirms what you have. As an aside, termites can't eat ray wood, it is too tough for them. I've gotten to some white oak cabin logs where the only thing left is a shell and rays inside. They had mud tunneled over the locust joists. The large distinct rays in oak are one of the reasons it is tough to dry, they create cleavage planes. A fresh sawn piece of "modern" chestnut is pretty unremarkable, I have a hard time identifying it, but with the patina of age it is quite beautiful. Sassafras is pretty similar. Chestnut is lower in density and more dimensionally stable than oak and is incredibly durable, there are still some old shells and fence rails in my woods.

Having picked chestnut burr prickles out of my skin I can't imagine running around in moccasins on a forest floor covered with those burrs, sort of like king sized sand spurs.

Offline Den Socling

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 4220
  • Age: 67
  • Location: Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Male
  • just wondering
    • PC Specialties
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2016, 10:15:36 am »
 "termites can't eat ray wood"
Interesting. I never knew that.

Offline Don P

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 3934
  • Location: Southwestern VA
  • Gender: Male
    • Calculator Index
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2016, 06:28:51 pm »
This was a white oak cabin log. I found the nest 2' underground, which is about our deepest frost depth.


On the chestnut, somebody, or many somebodies loved that tree. I'd find them and talk before cutting, that tree will sell to the right people at the sentimental price.

I helped with a large oak that was in the presidents front yard at VA Tech. They were going to sell memorabilia made from it accompanied by a "map" of the tree showing where your item came from.

Offline Den Socling

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 4220
  • Age: 67
  • Location: Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Male
  • just wondering
    • PC Specialties
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2016, 08:47:33 pm »
What are you saying, Don. I thought that you said termites don't eat ray wood then you show this White Oak? I'm confused.  ???

Offline SwampDonkey

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 35185
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Centreville, NB
  • Gender: Male
  • Large Tooth
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2016, 05:32:41 am »
chestnut, sassafras and white ash all look much alike. In the ash you can see the rays, but they are extremely fine and the early pore ring width is only 2 pores, smaller than oak pores and usually look filled. In chestnut the pore ring is two pores wide, but big pores like oak. Although you can't see the rays, they do exist. Sassafras has ring of pores 3-4 wide and larger rays than ash.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 26009
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2016, 08:04:00 am »
Chestnut pores also have tyloses like white oak.  Chestnut is in the same family as oak and beech. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline SwampDonkey

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 35185
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Centreville, NB
  • Gender: Male
  • Large Tooth
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2016, 08:24:47 am »
What are you saying, Don. I thought that you said termites don't eat ray wood then you show this White Oak? I'm confused.  ???

The wheel spoke looking stuff is the remaining ray wood.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline TCharters76

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Idaho
  • Gender: Male
  • Yeah, i want that tree!! ....how big is it?
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2016, 08:51:41 am »
I've dealt with a lot of barn wood.  I'd heard that Chestnut looks a lot like oak.  So how do you tell the difference?   I asked one timberframer as I saw he had a small sample.  He said to look at the end grain.  In oak you can see the white lines radiating from the center - those are the rays you see in quarter sawn oak.  He told me Chestnut doesn't have that.  I then asked well then what is the big deal about it if it looks like flat sawn oak and has no rays if quartersawn?  He said to him it's not especially valuable, just rare.  Just cause something is rare, doesn't mean it's any prettier than QS oak...
I agree. From what i have seen in pictures, Chestnut isn't that striking. Luckily for us, this tree was alive when they cut it down 2 months ago. So we aren't having to play the "what is this?" game. If the weather holds, i will be milling up the large piece today, and all the limbs tomorrow. I will post some pictures. Still trying to figure out the best way to cut it though. Trying to maximize its profit. The mill i take my small stuff to, told me i can pretty much name my price. So where would i start per Bf??

Offline Don P

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 3934
  • Location: Southwestern VA
  • Gender: Male
    • Calculator Index
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 06:56:32 pm »
The last price I heard, about 5 years ago, for reclaimed chestnut was $5/bf

Offline wooddust

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
  • Location: Western NC
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm figuring it out... I think.
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 07:35:26 pm »
There's a guy named dr. William Powell at the state university in NY who has put an oxalic acid oxidase gene from wheat into the American chestnut to create a GMO'ed version that's actually more blight resistant than the Chinese version.  I think it's in the review/approval process with the fda/usda, so there may soon be a great deal more 'modern' American chestnut growing

Offline WLC

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 197
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Wasilla, AK
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2016, 11:03:27 pm »
The last price I heard, about 5 years ago, for reclaimed chestnut was $5/bf

I think that you will find the prices have gone up a good bit.  I would think at least $10 a foot or better.  Most of the time folks that really want chestnut will pay more for it than you would imagine.  It only gets harder and harder to come by.  I looked for years for a beam big enough and in good enough shape to make a mantle for my fireplace.  I could find one or the other, but never found the perfect of combination of both.  Wound up building one out of oak.  Never did like it though.
Woodmizer LT28
Branson 4wd tractor
Stihl chainsaws
Elbow grease.

Offline WLC

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 197
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Wasilla, AK
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
Re: American Chestnut
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 05:51:34 pm »
I've dealt with a lot of barn wood.  I'd heard that Chestnut looks a lot like oak.  So how do you tell the difference?   I asked one timberframer as I saw he had a small sample.  He said to look at the end grain.  In oak you can see the white lines radiating from the center - those are the rays you see in quarter sawn oak.  He told me Chestnut doesn't have that.  I then asked well then what is the big deal about it if it looks like flat sawn oak and has no rays if quartersawn?  He said to him it's not especially valuable, just rare.  Just cause something is rare, doesn't mean it's any prettier than QS oak...
I agree. From what i have seen in pictures, Chestnut isn't that striking. Luckily for us, this tree was alive when they cut it down 2 months ago. So we aren't having to play the "what is this?" game. If the weather holds, i will be milling up the large piece today, and all the limbs tomorrow. I will post some pictures. Still trying to figure out the best way to cut it though. Trying to maximize its profit. The mill i take my small stuff to, told me i can pretty much name my price. So where would i start per Bf??

Did you ever get this Chestnut cut?  I would love to see the pics of it.
Woodmizer LT28
Branson 4wd tractor
Stihl chainsaws
Elbow grease.