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toaster's avatar

What is Black Walnut Worth?

Asked by toaster (527 points ) October 30th, 2012

Okay, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, one of my dad’s black walnut trees was uprooted. It is a rather large tree, being about 2.75 feet wide at breast height (about 5’) with a trunk almost 30 foot before it disseminates. Some prospective farmer in a fancy pickup truck spotted it, and offered my dad free on the spot removal, and nothing more. I believe it has more of a worth and even presents an opportunity in some cases.
Id love to see this prime piece cut in 8–9’ sections and stored to season… any idea of the cost, or a method in which to move the sections. It just seems like a worthwhile woodworking project in the future.
Thanks!..

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12 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would have taken the free removal. If you don’t have the machinery to cut the tree and store it, you would pay more than it was worth to take to a saw mill to do it for you.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Black Walnut is worth a lot. Without seeing the tree I’m guessing $1500.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get a forester from the local extension office to come out. It could be worth several thousand dollars. Get three bids from different companies.

Free is a RIPOFF!

toaster's avatar

It is a magnificent specimen, Ill provide a picture tomorrow during the daytime.. Thanks for responses.

rojo's avatar

In the past, we have been able to find small mills and/or individuals with the capability of milling wood into planks. You might look around or get on line and see if that is an option. After the rough cut we have alway planed it ourselves but if you do not have the capability or tools, you can find someone such as a trim carpenter who can do it. It is a beautiful wood. I would try to save it for myself.

toaster's avatar

Any idea how much it might cost for mill work? I agree the wood is quite attractive and such a rich dark brown color, which I find unique compared to run of mill oak, no pun intended.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@toaster It’s fairly hard wood. It’s not going to be cheap if you hire some one to mill it. I’m guessing $500 to mill it. But the finished wood would be worth a couple of thousand of dollars at least.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I had a similar situation this past June. The tree was just over 2 ft 4” at chest height well over 120 years old. For all the years we’ve lived here I figured the tree was going to be worth a fortune.
Here were the issues :
1) The tree was located near the road and marked a corner of the property. To the mill operator that meant most likely there would be nails or barbed wire in it and that would damage the saw blade at high cost. No mill would take it.
I went over the tree with a metal detector and found one piece of metal. (More on this later.)
2) There was a fork in the tree about 10 ft off the ground and a healed over stub of a branch that had been removed 50 + years ago. The grain was not the desirable kind.

So what did I do? I contacted the Wood working society in my area. People there had contacts with the local old time country museum and they said they were interested. Also the Woodturning society wanted the forked crotch since it most likely had “nice feather”. A guy (huge) came down and set up an “Alaskan saw mill” and cut it into 4” slabs that weighted I’m guessing 400 pounds each.
Sure enough, there were nails and old bullets inside. The bullets were no problem but the nails damaged 2! of his chains. He’d be cutting along fine and then the machine would slow down – no progress. Then it would work slowly. It was painful to watch. I helped wedge the gap open and load the slabs into the truck. After seeing how many hours he worked – all day I refused too take money. He offered $200
The country museum will use the wood to make gun stocks and Chippendale type furniture like they did in the 1800’s. I told them they could have the wood if I got a couple of things out of it.

What did I get from that piece of history? 1) All the tops and smaller pieces for my wood burning stove. 2) The guy cut a 2” thick cross section that I can hang on the wall. 3) He left two of the end slabs that I will use as a table and bench that I can keep in my orchard. 4) I also got a $1500 tax deductible contribution.

If your tree:
a) is in the middle of the woods where it has a lot of competition, so it grows tall and straight, and b) is in an isolated location away from a property line, and c) has a long straight trunk with no knots, you might be able to get some dollars for it.

toaster's avatar

Id like to thank everyone for the responses. @LuckyGuy Thank you for all the info and interesting aspects of your ordeal. I forwarded your response to my dad and he was very intrigued of the details, especially the lodged in bullets. My fathers residence is situated less than a mile from the Battle of Cedar Creek Battlefield, and a cannonball & sabre were recovered during the basement excavation.. Maybe a couple stray shots found their way into this fallen beast, as it most likely dates to the era.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I figured mine was close to that era but it would have been just a sapling. The nails we found were 6 inches below the surface. The tree covered over them 50–60 years ago. (We counted rings.) they were too deep inside for the metal detector to pick up. Had I brought it to a saw mill I would have had to pay a fortune to replace their blade.

That tree managed to survive so many hardships. It lived through so many droughts, floods, wars the depression. It breaks my heart to think it died on my watch.
At least I gave it a good home and put it to good use. The tops are heating my home as we speak. Thank you Tree.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Trees are wonderful things. I’m part druid, I worship trees.

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