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View Full Version : Black Walnut Purchase Advice Wanted



Craig Wahl
05-20-2011, 12:15 PM
I was hoping to get a little help on a lumber purchase that has presented itself. I have the opportunity to buy some black walnut that was cut last fall. The quantities and dimensions of the boards are as follows: 2- 10.5 in. wide by 8 feet long; 5- 12.5 in. wide by 8 feet long; and 2- 16.5 in. wide by 10.5 feet long. All boards are 2 inches thick and contain no sapwood. The lot is about 170 board feet total. The wood has only air dried since it was cut and is still very wet. You can feel the moisture just touching the wood. My concern is that the wood has not been stored properly. The owner just stacked all the wood in a neat pile without stickers or anything and the boards have started to warp and twist a bit (an average of about an 1/8 or inch over the length of the boards). What I am wondering is if the boards can be straightened at all if stored properly and clamped or weighed down flat. The quality of the lumber looks very good with relatively few knots and little cracking.

Is this worth trying to salvage the lumber or would it be best to pass on it?

I am also wondering what it is worth, I know its impossible to give a good estimate without seeing the lumber, but any guesses would be appreciated.

Thanks

Lee Schierer
05-20-2011, 12:21 PM
Check the lumber for rot and mold closely. If you can get the lumber at a good price and need it take it. Stack the lumber properly and weight it down in a dry area. Seal the ends of the boards. At 2" thick you should have plenty of material to work with to straighten out the boards when you finish milling them depending upon the final thickness you are after. You don't have a location on your post so it will be difficult for anyone to give you a fair price estimate for walnut in your area. Prices vary considerably depending upon the part of the country you live in.

Craig Wahl
05-20-2011, 12:28 PM
There is no rot and the outside of the wood showed signs of minimal mold beginning to develop. Would light mold like that penetrate into the wood? I am located in central Montana. Our local supply of hardwood is pretty much nonexistent.

Lee Schierer
05-20-2011, 2:11 PM
There is no rot and the outside of the wood showed signs of minimal mold beginning to develop. Would light mold like that penetrate into the wood? I am located in central Montana. Our local supply of hardwood is pretty much nonexistent.

Without planing it is hard to tell how far teh mold might have penerated. Drying should stop the mold where it is.

Joe Angrisani
05-20-2011, 2:13 PM
Given the mold and the warp/cup/twist, I'd pay "4/4 prices" for it at most. I certainly wouldn't pay as if it was good 8/4 slabs.

Joe Scarfo
05-20-2011, 2:19 PM
Unless you need the wood that wide for a project... by cutting it down... you can eliminate most of the warpage....

I buy wood in that condition all the time... by the time it's been edged, cut to size, run through the jointer and the planner, it's in great shape...

It all depends on your anticipated projects.

If that pile was near me, I would be all over it... of course.. depending on price... I would try to position is as sub standard now because it was in appropriately stacked...

What about using a kiln near by? Some mills will let you put your wood into their kiln for a fee...

Good Luck...

Joe Angrisani
05-20-2011, 2:23 PM
....What about using a kiln near by? Some mills will let you put your wood into their kiln for a fee...

Ahhhhh! No!!! Keep the walnut away from the oven.....

Craig Wahl
05-20-2011, 2:55 PM
Thanks for the input guys. Any estimation on value? The guy selling them took them in lieu of a debt of about $425 so I think he's stuck in the $400 range. That seems high to me considering I would like have quite a bit of waste.

Paul Symchych
05-20-2011, 3:19 PM
$400 for ~170 BF of 8/4 walnut with no sapwood strikes me as pretty cheap. Assuming that half of it is waste for one reason or another that still works out to be way cheaper than any I can get around here. Something in your favor -maybe?- is that there are no lumber dealers in your area so maybe there is no demand either. He could have trouble unloading it locally. Try coming in a bit lower. All he can do is say no.

Joe Angrisani
05-20-2011, 4:10 PM
Go wave $300 in twenties under his nose (looks like more with twenties vs hundreds). Talk about the mold and the improper stacking a little. Then come back and make us feel bad with the deal you scored!

Scott T Smith
05-20-2011, 7:10 PM
Go wave $300 in twenties under his nose (looks like more with twenties vs hundreds). Talk about the mold and the improper stacking a little. Then come back and make us feel bad with the deal you scored!

I would concur with Joe, but I would not be afraid of paying $400.00 for the stack.

Quite frankly, if you stack and sticker that wood properly, it will probably dry ok. Walnut is very forgiving, and because of the cold temps that it's been stored in since it was milled (ie winter in Montana) you should have dodged a bullet regarding degrade.

Definitely air dry it. Because of the mold, I would suggest that you skip plane the mold off first (which will also allow you to obtain a consistent thickness for better drying), and then air dry out doors with some type of "roof" over the pile (such as some sheets of tin). Sticker on 16" - 24" spacing, and it would be a good idea to weight the top of the pile.

By the end of summer, you'll be down around 20%, give or take, and can slip it into a kiln to finish off or move it indoors at that time.

scott vroom
05-20-2011, 7:47 PM
On the West Coast for FAS 10" & wider I pay a little north of $10/BF.

Cody Colston
05-20-2011, 11:55 PM
For 8/4 Walnut in those widths, I think $400 is a pretty good price.

Being a dark wood, stain is not much of a concern with Walnut so having it stacked vs stickered is not a show stopper, especially in cool weather. Those planks that are warping would have warped anyway since it was dried so slowly. BTW, the wood has to dry below the FSP (fiber saturation point) of around 30% MC for most woods before it will start shrinking (moving). That means that your wood is probably drier than you think, at least the planks that have warped.

If you have access to a kiln at a good price I would definitely consider having it kiln dried once the MC goes below 20%. As long as it is not steamed, the color won't be affected and you can be assured of getting the wood dry enough for your local environment. You can also begin working the wood immediately vs waiting for another year or two to get it to EMC.

Don Buck
05-23-2011, 11:13 AM
For a price reference - current commercial market prices for a full truck load (i.e. 9,000 bd. ft.) of green (fresh sawn) unsteamed 8/4 FAS/1F walnut is trading in the $4.20 - 4.60/bd. ft. range. 8/4 1C is trading around $2.30 - 2.50/bd. ft. Prices are based on FOB mill. This would be for fresh sawn, flat and mold would be a defect. If the lumber is FAS/1F grade, the $400 would be a bargin. Sounds like it would be log run so you'll probably have a mix of possibley 2C and better. The value of the lumber will determined by the condition and grade. The $400 equates to $2.35/bd. ft. and if fairly free of knots IMO would be a fair price. If you purchase the lumber, get it on sticks or better yet, to a custom kiln dry yard. If custom kiln dried, don't let them use a local softwood drying schedule or you will end up with some nice firewood!

John Tallyn
05-23-2011, 7:26 PM
One, I would not kiln dry walnut under any circumstances if I could avoid it, depending on where you are in Montana if you sticker it properly it will dry pretty quickly, second, should you decide you don't want it, let me know, I'll drive over from Idaho and buy it.
John

Chip Lindley
05-23-2011, 8:25 PM
Offer $300 AND air-dry it properly (stickered and covered) for another year. You will likely have some nice walnut then.

As Mr. Haney said on Green Acres, "...and that's my Final Offer!"

Randy Dutkiewicz
05-23-2011, 8:56 PM
On the West Coast for FAS 10" & wider I pay a little north of $10/BF.

I get KD FAS Walnut for $5/bf in Atlanta:)

Craig Wahl
05-25-2011, 8:03 PM
Thank you everyone for your advice. Being new to woodworking, buying rough lumber seems to be a bit of a gamble. I have decided to wait until the weekend and call the seller back and see if he has decided to lower his price at all. Judging from everyone's feedback, the current condition of the lumber doesn't seem to be a deal breaker, but the waste ratios on it may be high enough to require considerable caution. I think I will offer up to $300 or possibly $350 assuming waste will be up to 60% from warping, checking and mold. I think that would be a pretty fair price for both of us. I'm not really to excited about this deal any longer since I found a guy that is selling what he says is select 4/4 air dried for $3/bd ft. I will keep everyone posted and include a picture if the deal goes through. I decided that if I buy it and it turns out to be unsuitable for furniture I could probably make a pretty cool workbench out of it.

Randy Dutkiewicz
05-25-2011, 9:17 PM
[FONT=Tahoma][QUOTE]I'm not really to excited about this deal any longer since I found a guy that is
selling what he says is select 4/4 air dried for $3/bd ft.

Well, looks like you got my best price beat...