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Thread: What is a large black walnut tree worth?

  1. #1

    What is a large black walnut tree worth?

    there is a local guy who would like to sell a rather large black walnut tree. i want to make him an offer, but need a way to calculate approximately how many bf i can get out of the tree based on its dimensions.

    i know the yield will vary, based on the method in which it is sawn, but let's keep it simple and just assume that it will be plain sawn. what would be a fair board foot price to offer? keep in mind, i would be doing all the harvesting and transport myself, as well as clean-up, and the local bandmill charges approximately 22 cents/bf.

    thanks!

    -matt

  2. #2
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    Matt, if it were me I would start with offering to get it off his property. If he doesn't have any interest in it for lumber then he will probably lift your offer right away. Likely he will be happy to get it taken care of without having to lay out any cash.

    You say he wants to sell it but I think he is maybe being a bit ambitious unless there is something special about the tree (being oversized for example).
    Last edited by Larry Fox; 04-22-2008 at 8:25 AM.

  3. #3
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    Matt, you can go to the Woodweb website and in the left hand column click on lumber and timber calculators. this will give you several calculators....use the log volume calculator. There are three different scales that can be used but for your purposes shouldn't vary much.

    Be aware that the calculation is based on an absolutely straight log, like most pine. Hardwoods are more prone to have a little crook in them and it doesn't take much at all to throw the yield way off.

    There's a number of factors to consider. Is this a "town tree"? Trees in town will nearly always have some kind of metal in them and even if the sawyer has a metal detector some metal may get missed and the customer ends up paying for a blade. Single trees, unless they are exceptional specimens, are generally passed on by loggers as it generally isn't worth their while. If you are going to buy it standing you'll be taking a chance that it's good. Many trees, especially larger ones, stand a chance of being pithy or even hollow inside. Of course the opposite could be true and it could be curly all the way through , but there's a bigger chance of the former being the case.

    The best thig to do would be to talk to a mill operator in your are and give him the specifics to the best of your knowledge and see what they say as to the worth of the tree. Being a walnut it's more likely to be worth dealing with than a single pine or poplar or similar species.
    And now for something completely different....

  4. #4
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    Tree into Board Feet

    Try this.............

    Height 60 feet
    Diameter 14 inches

    Diameter in feet / 2 = 0.58 feet
    (14” / 12” = 1.16) / 2 = .58 feet

    Area of tree cross-section = above number squared x 3.14 = 1.05 sq.ft.
    (.58 x .58 = .336) x 3.14 = 1.05 sq ft

    Volume of tree in cubic feet = above number x tree height / 4 = 15.75
    (1.05 x 60) / 4 = 15.75

    Volume of tree in board feet = above number x 12 = 189
    15.75 x 12 = 189 board feet

  5. #5
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    Using the log volume calculator for a 14" log 60' long yields 460 bd ft using the log volume calculator with the Scrbner scale. I'm surprised that the International scal yielded considerably more.

    It's easy to see that a log of that size, if straight, would yield more than 189 bd ft because three "runs" of 12" boards the length of the log would yield 60' x 3 = 180 bd ft and a considerable amount of narrower stuff could be obtained.

    (As an edit). Just to beat on this dying horse a little more, some time ago I had a log that was three feet across the bottom and two feet across the top milled and paid the guy for 750 bd ft. Just out of curiosity I plugged it into the log calculator and got from 890 to 930 bd ft, depending on the scale used. The scales tend to be closer in estimation for larger logs.
    Last edited by Richard M. Wolfe; 04-22-2008 at 10:31 AM.
    And now for something completely different....

  6. #6
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    I see them for sale all the time on CL. I saw one recently the guy wanted 10 grand. There were no pictures.
    Also recently saw a ridgid TS3650 for 900!!!!! People are crazy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Belisle View Post
    ...Volume of tree in cubic feet = above number x tree height / 4 = 15.75
    (1.05 x 60) / 4 = 15.75
    Don't understand the divide by 4 in that step.

    A solid body that is 60 ft long and has a cross sectional area of about a square foot (1.05) is going to have a volume of about 60 cubic feet. (60 x 1.05 = 63 cu ft)

    And at 12 bd ft per cubic foot, that's a total of 756 bd ft. Of course, that strictly a volumetric calculation and doesn't account for yield. Assuming a 50% yield, thats about 378 bd ft of lumber, which is in the same ball park as the 460 bd ft from the Scribner scale.
    Last edited by Tom Veatch; 04-22-2008 at 9:50 PM.
    Tom Veatch
    Wichita, KS
    USA

  8. #8
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    Here's the approach I would take:

    Come up with a price you think is fair for the final dried and graded lumber. Let's say you both agree on $2/bd ft for FAS. If the tree yields 500 bd ft then you'll pay $1000 which needs to cover the tree removal, cutting and drying. The tree owner would get whatever is left.

    Whatever work you do yourself should be paid at market rates. Where I live it can easily cost over $1000 to have a large tree removed.

    Greg
    Last edited by Greg Funk; 04-22-2008 at 11:02 PM.

  9. #9
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    I am looking at doing this currently with a couple large white oaks.

    Don't forget your time, loading and unloading, stickering, storage and otherwise large headaches associated with having a few hundred board feet of lumber around.

    I am going to offer firewood cost for mine since that is the amount he would get if he did all the work to cut and stack it.

    A face cord here sells for around $45. Assuming a 16" deep face cord that is the equivalent of 512 BF. Figure the volume of the log and the math is simple.

    A log 24" diameter x 10 feet is equivalent of 377 BF. I would offer $35-40 to start with. That gets him considerably more than firewood cost with no work on his part.

    That log should yield 200 BF or so. I would have $140 or more just to get it out of the kiln, not counting fuel and time.

    Joe
    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Ellis View Post
    there is a local guy who would like to sell a rather large black walnut tree. i want to make him an offer, but need a way to calculate approximately how many bf i can get out of the tree based on its dimensions.

    i know the yield will vary, based on the method in which it is sawn, but let's keep it simple and just assume that it will be plain sawn. what would be a fair board foot price to offer? keep in mind, i would be doing all the harvesting and transport myself, as well as clean-up, and the local bandmill charges approximately 22 cents/bf.

    thanks!

    -matt
    If its a large tree ,you just might be dealing with a veneer grade tree.They are pricey and a shame to convert to boards,let alone loosing thousands in potential worth.

  11. #11
    Another thing to consider is how the tree may have been "used." If it is located near a busy street there could be a gazillion nails and staples buried in it. This could make a large portion of it unusable and will make your sawyer an enemy for life. Make sure you scan the tree with a high quality metal detector before you even consider making an offer.

    Brian

  12. #12
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    Not trying to be critical, but isn't most of this "in theory"?

    I'd call someone who would process it for me and get a professional opinion.

    What part of the country are you in Matt?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Fox View Post
    Matt, if it were me I would start with offering to get it off his property. ... . Likely he will be happy to get it taken care of without having to lay out any cash.
    This.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Ellis View Post
    there is a local guy who would like to sell a rather large black walnut tree. .... keep in mind, i would be doing all the harvesting and transport myself, as well as clean-up, and the local bandmill charges approximately 22 cents/bf.
    I think you need to define "rather large" before you'll get much help. And like others have said, is it a yard tree, a street tree, or a forest tree? Yard trees and street trees probably have metal in them. That's $40 (or more) for every bandsaw blade that breaks hitting metal during the sawing.


    I've read threads like this every few months on the forums. And the stories that turn out well, are the ones where the person just wants to get rid of the tree, and is happy that someone else wants to use it, instead of hauling it to the dump.

    One good solution I've seen is to offer to make something for the owner out of the lumber - turn a bowl, or make a small fancy box. In this way they get some memento of the tree.

    The stories that don't turn out well are the ones where the tree owner has "heard how valuable walnut trees are" and expects to make it rich by selling a tree. The best advice I've seen for those situations are to wait the guy out and let him discover the reality of the situation.
    "It's Not About You."

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    This.



    I think you need to define "rather large" before you'll get much help. And like others have said, is it a yard tree, a street tree, or a forest tree? Yard trees and street trees probably have metal in them. That's $40 (or more) for every bandsaw blade that breaks hitting metal during the sawing.


    I've read threads like this every few months on the forums. And the stories that turn out well, are the ones where the person just wants to get rid of the tree, and is happy that someone else wants to use it, instead of hauling it to the dump.

    One good solution I've seen is to offer to make something for the owner out of the lumber - turn a bowl, or make a small fancy box. In this way they get some memento of the tree.

    The stories that don't turn out well are the ones where the tree owner has "heard how valuable walnut trees are" and expects to make it rich by selling a tree. The best advice I've seen for those situations are to wait the guy out and let him discover the reality of the situation.
    well, i went to have a look at the tree when i got off work last night, and it would seem the guy falls into the later category. i think he thinks it is worth more than it is. as for the tree itself, it is probably about 24-28" in diameter, with the first branch about 35-40' up. i'd guess the overall height at about 60'. he said it dropped a few walnuts last fall, but it is at least partially dead. some of the larger limbs looked like they were ready to drop at any time. we've had a tough few years in ga, so the drought may have finally done this guy in.

    the tree is located in a fairly rural area, so i am not very concerned about metal, though i will go over it with a metal detector should i end up with it. i told him that i would cut it (the advise about seeing what the center looks like was good!) and take some actual measurements before i would give him an offer. he said he'd have to think about it, and we left it at that.

    if i end up with it, i'll make sure i get pics of the process...from standing tree all the way to stacked lumber.

    this may be a little off topic, but i am a member of several car/truck/firearm forums that share this same format. smc is far and away stocked with the most educated, articulate, helpful folks out there! thank you!

    -matt

  15. #15
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    If it's not out in the woods, a lot of places might not process it.

    The chances of any metal in it make many places leery.

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