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Windthrown Oaks to mill.

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Hi all


I am looking for a bit of advice please. I have two decent size Oak tree's that went over in the storms last winter. The owners would like a table out of one of them and a few other pieces and to sell the rest. The access isn't to bad but I think they will have to milled where they have fallen (the edge of the woodland). I would like to do it myself with an Alaskan mill. I was wondering how best to cut it up (boards, planks, beams etc) and how much it would be worth roughly? What size saw, bar and which mill and chain to use? Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance. The measurements are relatively rough just done with a basic tape measure.


Access to tree in the first picture.


Oak section 1


Core trunk

409cm length

97cm width

310cm circumference


Oak section 2


Right branch looking up tree from root

46cm wide

198cm length

175cm circumference


Oak section 3


Left fork

69cm wide

150cm long

257cm circumference


Oak section 4


Left branch upper fracture

168cm length

64cm wide

185cm circumference


2nd tree


Core trunk

450cm length

81cm wide

224cm circumference



Upper branch

185cm length

140cm length

213cm circumference






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OK, 97cm width determines the mill size you will need. A 36" mill is actually 34" throat, so won't quite go through. You would need a 42" bar minimum to get full capacity. You could skim a couple of inches off each side at the widest point, losing only bark and sapwood, but rolling it several times to do this with a mill will be painful unless you have access to a teleporter or a tractor and chains. Personally, I would skim this off with a side axe in less time than it would take to fiddle about rolling it, but it depends on whether you have one/can use it. The alternative is a 48" mill which, with a 46" bar will just about clear, although you might need to knock off a bit of bark here and there.


Either way, to mill this you need over 100cc. You could do it with an 070, 076, 084, 088 (880) or 090.


I would only bother with the smaller top sections if they grew pretty much vertically - otherwise there will be a lot of reaction wood in them. That said, if you are making the owners a rustic type picnic bench then these would be ideal for making the legs and seat boards from, as it doesn't matter if they move around a bit and it will save more of the better grade timber for larger boards. The longer, straighter ones (e.g. Section 2 if it's straight) could be used to make 6"x6" or 8"x8" gateposts.


As to what to make - it depends on who is selling it and for what. With an Alaskan, I wouldn't bother with less than 2" or you will be making a lot of sawdust. You could mill at 2" which will plane up for tables, 2.5" which, if removed to someone with a bandsaw and rapidly re-sawn to half thickness will make 1" finished size floorboards. You could mill some 3" slabs too. I wouldn't bother with thicker than this unless you are making a beam, and I would only do this if I knew someone who wanted the exact size I was making, otherwise the risk is that you make the wrong section relative to length for building regs.


As your first go at milling, I wouldn't try quartering it, just go through and through. Also bear in mind that there is a lot of work here and to make the best use of the tree is an art. Just because you don't need a ticket for milling doesn't mean there isn't a lot to learn and the difference between good and bad is both in yield and quality. A good miller will charge more but this will be more than paid for in extra timber.


One option would be to get someone in and work with them to see how it's done. Whereabouts are you?



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